UNESCO heritage listed Kutna Hora is a compact town centre that once competed economically, culturally and politically with Prague. In its heyday, from the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries, the silver mines
under Kutna Hora were the deepest in the world and it was from this silver that the coins for the Czech kingdom were minted. Over the centuries vast wealth was made from these mines and the town became a favourite residence of some monarchs. This wealth bought beautiful architectually designed buildings, which remain to this day. Highlights include the Gothic, five-naved St. Barbara Cathedral, begun in 1368 and a
contender in size to St. Vitus’s Cathedral in Prague castle, and the Italian Court, formerly a royal residence and mint, which was built at the khend of
the 13th century. Also of interest is the Sedlec Ossuary known as the ‘bone church’ because it contains approximately 40,000-70,000 human skeletons which have been artistically arranged to form decorations and furnishings for the chapel. A somewhat morbid, but most definately unique experience!
Zamek Zleby – 5km
Zamek Zleby is a short drive, or a pleasant bicycle ride away. It is a national monument castle that once belonged to the same family as Hostacov. What is of interest, is that during 1849-1878 the lord at the time Karel
Vincenc Auersperg was besotted with the time period of the thirty years war and rebuilt the entire chateau in the romantic style,zleby giving Zleby chateau the appearance of a fairy-tale castle complete with airy towers and battlements. He even reputedly ordered his staff to dress in period clothes and himself wore armour and clothes that were in style 300 years beforehand. Two interesting tours of the interior can be taken, viewing some historic rooms with original furniture and suits of armour and the like. A pleasant game-park with various deer, wild pigs and birds is next door.
Lipnice nad Sazavou – 31km
Formerly one of the mightiest casltes in the Czech republic, the castle at Lipnice was built in 1310 by one of the most important czech families – the Lichtenburg’s. It changed ownership several times and after the thirty years war lost significance as well as its original function. It slowly fell into disrepair until it burned down along with the town beneath it in the 1800’s. It’s mighty walls still stand atop a tall hill with great views of the surrounding countryside. lipnice An hourlong tour can be taken and there are pleasant walks through the forests and town around. The town is also well known as the home of Jaroslav Hasek, the novelist famous for writing The Good Soldier Svejk. His home in the town is now a museum containing his books, pictures,and other personal items belonging to the writer.
Hrad Lichnice – 11km
The castle ruin at Lichnice is a short, pleasant drive across the rivers in our area and up the hillside that one can see from the terrace. The old tales from our village actually tell that one of the underground passages under zamek Hostacov was once linked to an underground passage, or bolt-hole of this castle. Since both ends have been either filled in or caved-in over the centuries this cannot be verified, but when one ventures into what is left of these passages and imagines them continuing for miles it is a spooky thought!! This castle is built upon an outcrop atop a hillside from which one has great views of the entire area including Hostacov. This advantageous position lent itself to castle building so well that there was already a fort here by the second half of the 12th century. lichnice A large castle was built here by the Lichtenburg’s, after which it passed into royal hands, namely King Charle’s the first who named it in his charter of important royal castles, marking its importance. During the Hussite wars the castle was much sought after by both sides, with the Hussites beseiging it for over a year in 1429 until the garrison took up the offer to abandon the castle in return for free passage. In 1639 it came again into the royal hands of emperor Ferdinand II, who placed a garrison here. However, after the 30 years war, the emperor Ferdinand III decreed that all castles that could be used as staging points by enemies be destroyed. This spelled the final chapter and the castled was pulled down and over the years has continued to fall apart. It is now a large ruin with remnants of once-mighty towers and walls. Of interest is a short tour about the castles hisotry, the views that one can také from the remaning walls, as well as nearby Žižkův dub – an ancient 900 year old oak tree Jan Žižka, leader of the Hussite armies in the 1400’s was reported to hold court under, as well as the maiden stone, a large rocky outcrop within view of the castle which has a very interesting tale of it’s own.