Sedlec Cathedral

The Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin and of St John the Baptist in Sedlec near Kutná Hora has several remarkable features: Listed since 1995 as a UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage Site, it is one of the oldest buildings of the cathedral type in Central Europe and was also the biggest sacral edifice in the Bohemian and Moravian Lands. But there are plenty more reasons to visit…

The Sedlec Cathedral has also served as the seat of the oldest Cistercian Abbey in Bohemia, founded in 1142. Thanks to the economic prosperity of the monastery of that Order, benefiting as it did from the mining of silver on its land, quite an edifice was built between 1290 and 1320, which together with the Sedlec Ossuary represents the oldest buildings in Kutná Hora. It drew its architectural inspiration abroad – combining Northern French Gothic cathedral architecture with German elements, thus emphasizing the loftiness and grace of the building. The original ground plan copied the shape of a Latin cross, but the Cathedral did not stay true to this layout, was plundered in 1421 and set on fire by Hussite troops. 

Its restoration took place at the turn of the 17th and 18th century. The reconstruction task was first taken on by the architect Pavel Ignác Bayer, to whom we attribute the five-nave arrangement concept. The next to take over was the architect Jan Blažej Santini-Aichel, known for his specific style, known as Baroque Gothic. Here too, he realized his distinctive ideas, e.g. in how he dealt with the main façade and brought changes to the cathedral interior with its vaulted main nave. In 1784, however, the Sedlec Monastery was abolished on the order of Emperor Joseph II, its property auctioned off, the cathedral became a storehouse for flour and the monastery complex housed a tobacco factory. The cathedral returned to Church use only in 1806.

Of interest

These days the cathedral is managed by the Roman Catholic parish of Kutná Hora – Sedlec and guards within its walls one of the most precious ecclesiastical treasures of Central Europe – the original Sedlec monstrance (a decorative glass pyxis, one of the Holy Insignia), thought to be the oldest surviving Gothic monstrance in the world.

Související informace

Kutná Hora

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