Kutna Hora, Czech

Trip Start Oct 30, 2007
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Trip End Nov 20, 2009


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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Tuesday, September 30, 2008

(Note :  All entries from now until Perth in November are way shorter than they should be, as all out text got stolen, together with our laptop, all our valuables, and almost our whole campervan, when it was broken into and trashed in Rome at the end of October.  Have a look at that entry if you want to have a look at the damage the bastards did.  The next month or so´s text is written 6 months later, so we may have forgotten some bits!)

Kutna Hora is famous throughout Eastern Europe - an ex mining town that had one of the richest deposits of silver in the world, and bankrolled much of the region for over 200 years.  A visit to the old mine which is now abandoned except for some very small scale extraction was fascinating, with km of labrinthine tunnels and both original and reconstructions of the equipment they used.  The conditions for the miners themselves was both physically dangerous and the dust and noxious air killed most of them prematurely.  Most of the ´winch power´came from horses, and at one stage there were hundreds of them living underground in the tunnels, hooked up to big wheels which would pull the extracted rock to the surface. 

Near Kutna Hora there is also a bizarre church which used to be part of a monastery.  A local nobleman assumed control of the church and its grounds, and when the graveyard became full, he asked a local worker to use the bones that were piling up to decorate the chapel itself (which actually then became known as an ossuary or bone chapel).  The effect is weird, macabre, somewhat disturbing, yet oddly fascinating.  Pyramids of skulls, arches of femurs, a chandelier made up of every human bone in the body..............its all here.  Surely a unique sight!  Another unique experience in Kutna Hora was as we were sitting in the van having lunch one day, we heard a faint sound of Aussie Aussie Aussie, coming from outside.  We opened the door to see a group of local students walking past chanting our beloved anthem............not sure how it made it into the local curriculum, but naturally we were obliged to respond in the only way we knew how, Oi Oi Oi.
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