The Church of St. Barbara in Kutná Hora

The Church of St. Barbara in Kutná Hora

The Church of St. Barbara in Kutná Hora is the most known piece of architecture in Kutná Hora. The Church of St. Barbara is considered to be the most original cathedral-type church in the late gothic style in Europe, i.e. with a ring of chaples around the main altar. The building was initiated by affluent burgesses in Kutná Hora and shows a former tension between Prague and Kutná Hora, and Kutná Hora and the Sedlec Monastery. The tension gave rise to a building that boldly competes with the Prague Cathedral.

 

The construction of the Church of St. Barbara had several stages and was largely dependent on the prosperity of silver mines in Kutná Hora. The construction commenced in 1388. Jan Parléř was the first draughtsman and a master builder of the Church of St. Barbara. He was a son of Petr Parléř who was a master builder of the St. Vitus Cathedral. Jan Parléř completed the oldest part of the church with a peripheral ring of chaples drawing inspiration from the French cathedrals.

 

The construction of the Church of St. Barbara was first interrupted with the start of the Hussite Wars and stalled for 60 years. At that time the church was about a half of today's height. The construction work resumed again in 1482 and brought a change in the actual approach to the design. First the architect Matěj Rejsek finished the choir, the basilical windows area, plentiful ribbed vault and also a part of the outer supporting system using rich decoration in the late gothic style. The transformation of the original design completed in 1512 with the arrival of the recognised architect Benedikt Rejt. Together with the top part of the central nave Rejt also built two side naves of the same height, which open to the central nave as galleries above the internave arcades. This way he created a new late gothic hall church above the original part of the church, closed with a helical ribbed vault and intensely daylighted with a number of large windows. The monumental helical vault in the Church of St. Barbara in Kutná Hora develops the basic vault pattern of the Vladislav Hall at Prague Castle with a richer vault design. The helical vault is of great importance for the baroque architecture of Jan Santini, who could see it here. Rejt is also the author of the very interesting and untypical pyramidal roofs.

 

In 1558, the financial means from the silver mines dried out and the building activity ended. The western side of the Church of St. Barbara was closed with a barren wall and the church had to wait to be finished for long centuries. In 1626, Church of St. Barbara became a Jesuit college church, and the Jesuits modified it in the baroque style. In 1733, they removed the pyramidal roof and connected the church with the Jesuit College by means of a gallery. Most of the interior of the church was also baroquised in 17th and 18th centuries. Three hundred years later, in 1884, an initiative by the local archeological society Vocel led to the decision to finish the building. Today's appearance of the Church of St. Barbara is only dated to 1905 and was created by the most significant "regothicising" architects of the time – Mocker and Lábler.

 

The Church of St. Barbara is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage. Together with the Church of The Assumption of Our Lady in Sedlec, Italian Court (Vlaššký dvůr), Jesuit College and the historical centre, it is sought after by tourists who come to Kutná Hora from around the world.

16.6.2012 | Prague guide | Cities |
The Church of St. Barbara in Kutná Hora
The Church of St. Barbara in Kutná Hora
The Church of St. Barbara in Kutná Hora
The Church of St. Barbara in Kutná Hora
The Church of St. Barbara in Kutná Hora
The Church of St. Barbara in Kutná Hora
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