Freshers’ Autumn Trip

Freshers’ Autumn Trip

Last Saturday (23 September 2023) we entered our second and final equinox of 2023, autumn began, and in a group consisting mainly of our freshers, a couple of second-year students and two parents we set off on an all day bus trip to explore architectural gems beyond Prague. This time Petra, the coordinator for international students, planned to go and see four must-visit historical places in central Bohemia. 

The first place on the list was Kačina Château, one of the most significant Czech buildings in the Empire style. It’s currently the home of the Czech Countryside Museum, an offshoot of the National Agricultural Museum. The château was built by Earl Jan Rudolf Chotek between 1806 and 1824 and the extensive wings of the castle include the unique Chotek Library and a historical pharmacy. In the castle garden, which is built in the English natural landscape park style, there is a greenhouse and a herb garden. 

When the students started eating chillies from the garden we realised that was time for lunch. The nearby restaurant’s menu offered a large variety of Czech dishes so many students got the chance to try them for the first time.

After lunch we moved to the outskirts of Kutná Hora, a town on the UNESCO World Heritage List, to the enigmatic Sedlec Ossuary. It is the resting place of many plague victims and fallen soldiers from the Hussite wars. It’s essentially a Bone Chapel decorated with skulls and bones from nearly 40,000 people from its cemetery. The spooky arrangement was put together in 1870.

Sedlec is also dominated by the oldest cathedral in the country, the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and Saint John the Baptist, a UNESCO site since 1995, constructed between 1282 and 1320 and renovated in the Baroque Gothic style by master architect Jan Blažej Santini-Aichel.

Visitors of the cathedral can enjoy the ongoing exhibition of the contemporary visual artist Nina Kirk, whose objects are installed in the roof of the building.

And finally, the exhausted group was headed to the highlight of the town, Saint Barbara’s Cathedral, named after the miners’ patron saint. The gothic church dating back to the end of the 14th century has a unique exterior with exceptional flying buttresses and a three-peaked roof. Similarly to Prague Castle, it took several hundred years to finish this masterpiece.

We enjoyed the views of the church and its surroundings, took photos, sipped a cup of coffee and travelled home as the sun set.

Text and photos by Mgr. Ivana Kejvalová

Created: 27. 9. 2023 / Modified: 29. 9. 2023 / Mgr. Petr Andreas, Ph.D.