January 15, 2014

0969 CZECH REPUBLIC (Central Bohemia) - Kutná Hora: Historical Town Centre with the Church of St Barbara and the Cathedral of Our Lady at Sedlec (UNESCO WHS)

The town of Kutná Hora began in 1142 with the settlement of the first Cistercian monastery in Bohemia, Sedlec Monastery, on whose property German miners began to mine for silver in 13th century. The town developed with great rapidity, so that between the 13th and 16th centuries it competed with Prague economically, culturally and politically. Along with the rest of Bohemia, Kuttenberg (Kutná Hora) passed to the Habsburg Monarchy of Austria in 1526. The flooding of the richest mine, the loss of privileges, the plague and the horrors of the Thirty Years' War led to the ruin of the city. The mines were abandoned at the end of the 18th century. Bohemia was a crownland of the Austrian Empire in 1806, in the Austrian monarchy after the compromise of 1867, and part of Czechoslovakia after WWI. Since 1995 the city center has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Church of St Barbara (in the postcard), a jewel of the late Gothic period, and the Cathedral of Our Lady at Sedlec, which was restored in line with the Baroque taste of the early 18th century, were to influence the architecture of central Europe. Saint Barbara is the patron saint of miners (among others), which was highly appropriate for a town whose wealth was based entirely upon its silver mines. Construction began in 1388, but it was not completed until 1905, because the work was interrupted several times. The original design was for a much larger church, but the city decay stopped the work. Originally there were eight radial chapels with trapezoidal interiors, but later on the choir was constructed supported by double-arched flying buttresses.

About the stamps 
The first stamp, depicting an Azalea (3.00 CZK), is part of a set of two issued on March 19, 2008, and belonging to a large series of definitive stamps named Beauty Of Flowers, about which I wrote here. The second, showing the painting Amorpha - Fugue in Two Colors, by František Kupka (1871-1957), was isssued on June 17, 1998, and is part also of a large series of definitive stamps, named Works of Art on Postage Stamps, about which I wrote here.

Kutná Hora - Wikipedia
Kutná Hora: Historical Town Centre with the Church of St Barbara and the Cathedral of Our Lady at Sedlec - UNESCO official website
Church of Saint Barbara - Official website

sender: Ondrej Surový (direct swap)
sent from Prague (Prague / Czech Republic), on 03.12.2013

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