Our day trip to the town of Kutná Hora
took us 40 miles outside of Prague on the train that cost only about $5 round trip per person. We rolled along through the countryside of flat farmland and could see why Dvorak enjoyed his time in the Czech community in Spillville, Iowa. It must have reminded him of home.
Kutná Hora may have a large cathedral, but members of our family were most interested in the Sedlec Ossuary, or the Bone Church. Bones of at least 40,000 people from the 14th and 15th c in ornate patterns and in neat piles decorate the walls and ceilings.
In the 13th c the abbot came back with some dirt from Golgotha and spread it over the abbey cemetery creating a desirable burial site. The 14th c Black Death and 15th c wars provided the material for what has ended up being a macabre destination.
After seeing our fill of the artfully-arranged bones, we planned on touring the silver mine museum. The mine in Kutná Hora was once Europe’s largest silver mine where much of the continent’s coinage was minted. Wandering through streets like these
we came upon the museum only to find out that there had only been one English tour that day, and the next tour, several hours later, was in Czech. Undeterred, we found our way to the Alchemy Museum.
As we entered the small gift shop/ticket counter, an entire group of school boys emerged from the basement where the museum was. Good timing, since I don’t think we would all have fit in the space simultaneously.
As we wound our way down the spiral staircase into the cellar where actual alchemists worked their craft (but not quite successfully), it became obvious that we needed to use the light on a cell phone to see where we were going. Had the boys turned off the lights down there? If so, we never found the switch, so we were very glad to have the flashlight.
The museum consists of about three-four rooms (we think!) with displays of what it would have looked like when the alchemists were working, including mannequins. You could pick out the head alchemist by his snazzy clothes.
This museum gets wildly disparate reviews on Trip Advisor, and I can say that I understand both ends of the spectrum. If you are looking for a real museum experience (where you can spend an hour or more), then this is not your place. If you like creepy, dark places and don’t mind spending a few bucks, and are up for an adventure, and you have a spare 10-15 minutes in Kutná Hora, then, why not?