A good way to start the day
On the way to Kuta Hora I delighted in field upon field of canola, brilliant yellow and in fill bloom. I had previously thought this to be mustard. My guide was a wonderful older woman who had a lovely way about her and was always able to convey her feelings, attitudes, opinions and values throughout her commentary. She was charming and the day was glorious, bright and sunny just after an early morning rain, the sky was clear and the vista vast. Kutna Hora
The town began in 1142 when established as a settlement as a Cistercian Monastary, the first in Bohemia. By 1260 German miners began to mine for silver in the mountain region, which they named Kuttenberg, and which was part of the monastery property. Under Abbot Heinrich Heidenreich the territory greatly advanced due to the silver mines which gained importance during the economic boom of the 13th century.
The earliest traces of silver have been found dating back to the 10th century, when Bohemia already had been in the crossroads of long-distance trade for many centuries. Silver dinars have been discovered belonging to the period between 982-995 in the settlement of Malin, which is now
a part of Kutná Hora. Sedlec Ossuary
has a long history, beginning in the 13th century when the Abbot of the Sedlec Monastery (Abbot Henry) brought a handful of earth back from a journey to the Grave of the Lord in Jerusalem. He scattered this “holy soil” across the Sedlec cemetery, securing its place as one of the most desired burial sites for people all over Bohemia and the surrounding countries. Everyone wanted to be buried in that handful of the Holy Land and more than 30,000 were. But it wasn’t long before there simply wasn’t enough room for everyone to rest in peace, and the bodies were moved to a crypt to make room for the newly dead.
In 1870, a local woodcarver, František Rint was employed for the dark task of artistically arranging the thousands of bones. Rint came up with the Bone Church’s stunning chandelier, as well as the amazing Schwarzenberg coat of arms, which includes a raven pecking at the severed head of a Turk--all made of human bone. Rint was responsible for bleaching all of the bones in the ossuary in order to give the room a uniform look and to destroy and
germs or viruses that could spread disease. His artist’s signature is still on the wall today--naturally, in his medium of choice, bone. Church of Saint Barbara
stands there as a kind of defiance. As a decoration above the left entrance you may see a miner who has turned his back towards the town and holds his clothes in a way that he is actually showing his bottom... That miner was placed there when enterpreneurs of Kutná Hora rebelled against a king, but it can be interpreted as a universal symbol. Barbara had to challenge nearby Sedlec Church and also churches in Prague.
What to do with all the silver? The fortresses are probably older that the town and they served as a part of the town's fortification at the beginning of the 14th century. The function of Italian Court as a town fortress is the result of the need for the secure depositing of mined silver ore. The transformation of the fortress into a mint had taken place by the end of the 1330's, along with the construction of both public and private premises. The name Vlassky dvur appears for the first time in the historical references of
1401. The silver was minted into coins and the workers there while strong, paid better than the miners, went deaf from the constant beating of the mallet against the ore. Make a great husband, strong, rich and deaf......vs. the miner, underpaid, always coming home dirty and danger lurking daily on the job. The Beneficial Brick Initiative
is a charity fundraiser to protect mentally handicapped people from being excluded from society and to help them live with others in shared spaces. For a donation of 150 Kč or €7 you can paint a brick with your choice of colours and add it to the growing skyscraper of precariously stacked bricks. It looks like a huge game of Jenga, standing in stark contrast with the ornate buildings of Prague. Each brick is unique, but common choices include names of donors and beloved cities as well as flags.
The proceeds are used by the Portus Praha Association for the construction and management of a supervised care-facility in the town of Davle, about an hour outside of Prague. There, they help their clients become more self-reliant in a food workshop producing pickled cheeses and sausages. Contributing to the food workshop provides employment
A hard life with high risk low reward
opportunities as well as an opportunity for participants to improve their sense of self worth.
It is a wonderful chance to add a little more colour to the Prague street while helping to make a meaningful improvement to somebody’s life.
I had spotted a gallery on the way to the tour this morning and stopped in briefly to tell the clerk I had to have "Golden Girl" an oil painting, but I was running late and would return later in the day. After the tour to Kutna Hora I head in the direction (I thought) of the shop. I made several wrong turns and was starting to panic, I wanted that painting and was afraid the shop would be closed as the hour was approaching seven in the evening. I did arrive, the gallery was still open and I was pleased to find that the artist was there, Gagik. I was overheated from my nearly frantic dash to arrive and he showed me to the back room where I was able to splash some cool fresh water on my face. Revived, I completed the transaction and Gagik and I chatted as prepared the painting to be stored in
my art tube. "Golden Girl" is beautiful and the colors bright, cheerful and has touches of gilt. Gagik Manoukian
Gagik told me he is inspired by female beauty, depicting it with all its psychological impact and in vivid colors. Manoukian is keen on the innovations and paintings with unrestrained and vivid colours. His compositions are heart-felt and express the complicated essence of human psychology and meditation in the modern times in a very extraordinary way.
Dinner delicious at the a Tapas bar across from Astronomical Clock
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