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  Age on Sunday   07 May 2017  Czech into history

Czech into history

Published : May 7, 2017, 5:16 am IST
Updated : May 7, 2017, 5:16 am IST

90 km from Prague, Kutná Hora is a quiet spot nestled amidst hills and is best visited during the flower season in May.

Church of  St. Barbara
 Church of St. Barbara

On one of the warmest days of a receding Czech winter, we left Prague for Kutná Hora. Reaching the outskirts of Prague is a rather quick two-hour drive across bare fields, with an odd windmill or two on the way, before you get to Kutná Hora.

Just like Prague, Kutná Hora is lined with structures from the Middle Ages and a church after every ten steps. And, every edifice is spectacular, looking at time in the eye through its grand anatomy.

The most unusual thing about this town is the Kostnice Church in the Kutná Hora suburb — Sedlec. When told that the interiors of the Church are made of bones, we expected animal bones. But our guess was far from reality. The walls are laden with human bones —  skulls pop out of random corners of the Church, as chandeliers made from bones loom over you.

A breathtaking view of Kutná HoraA breathtaking view of Kutná Hora

We then walked to St. Barbara’s Church, a Roman Catholic church that resembles a cathedral. I remember seeing private prayer rooms that some influential people of the town had bought at the church. There are stained glass windows that add to the vibe of the place.

Just outside the structure is a long passageway and an embankment. Not a bad place for taking selfies!

The modestly-sized town, Kutná Hora, can be explored on foot in about an hour. And, though we kept seeing churches and fascinating architectural wonders all around, the closest we came to God was when we went to a local café.

A hole-in-the-wall place, with menu cards written in Czech, we instinctively knew that this was the place to lunch at. And that turned out to be the best decision of the day.

Sedlec Ossuary, or bone church, filled with the bones and skulls of nearly 70,000 plague victimsSedlec Ossuary, or bone church, filled with the bones and skulls of nearly 70,000 plague victims

Czech Republic, unlike many European countries, has an extensive and delicious cuisine. And, this was as local a place as it could get. We ordered Beef Goulash, which is usually served with either dumplings or steamed rice, and a portion of a spellbinding pork dish that included the whole knee of a pig — succulent and spiced. The Beef Goulash turned out to be just as delicious. The scrumptious meal was appropriately flushed down with Czech vodka. Just like the locals, I drank the vodka neat. The only thing you need to specially ask for, or even buy, anywhere you go in Europe is water, which is more expensive than beer.

After a wholesome meal, we walked around town for a while before waiting outside the 700-year-old Italian Court for our bus to take us back.

Walking around Kutná Hora was like meeting an ageing actor who had once seen glorious days and still retains the wisdom of his trade.

The historical glory of the place is evidence of how everything changes with time. We drove back at dusk, again passing the odd windmill as I was tuned into the playlist of independent music created by a friend back in India, wondering if I would, too, find a place in history just like Kutná Hora.

The author is a poet and an adman

Tags: prague, church, kutná hora