Day Twenty Five – The Cathedral of Assumption of Our Lady and Saint John the Baptist
Footsteps echo through the vaulted ceilings of the cathedral, tempered only by the hushed tones of visitors admiring the ornate
60 miles east of Prague lies the sleepy town of Kutná Hora. Here you can find St. Barbara’s Cathedral, the oldest silver mine in Europe and the infamous Bone Church, the town also has this cathedral of Saint John, the oldest Cistercian cathedral in Bohemia.
One of the first Gothic styled buildings, the Cathedral of Assumption of Our Lady and Saint John the Baptist was built in the 12th century by the King of Bohemia. The cathedral then burned down during the Hussite War in the early 15th century and wasn’t rebuilt until the 18th century, at which point it was built in a mixture of Gothic and Baroque architecture.
At the foot of the altar lie the remains of St. Felix and St. Vincent, gifted to the church by Pope Benedict XIV in 1742 on the 600th anniversary of the foundation of the church itself.
Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, the church is bedecked in religious art and even has a treasury room that houses the oldest Gothic monstrance in the world among other things. The best explanation of a monstrance is a holy relic that holds consecrated items, if that makes things any clearer.
Climbing a wooden spiral staircase, you can actually follow the platforms among the rafters to the upper balconies for a beautiful overhead view of the church. Walking to the back of the church, right above the front door, you have the opportunity to look down the nave. Back downstairs you can wander the sparsely filled aisles looking at relics from the original monastery, or spend your time staring up at the stained glass and archways, simply enjoying the beauty of a historical building.