Hrádek - Czech Museum of Silver and Medieval Mine
The first mentions of Hrádek, then still in the form of a fortified wooden fortress, date back to 1312. This fort was rebuilt into a castle - a high Gothic mansion - by the royal count of Kutná Hora, Václav of Donín, in the years 1400 - 1420.
Ownership of the mansion changed frequently and during the Hussite wars Hrádek was damaged. At the end of the 15th century, Hrádek was rebuilt by Jan Smíšek of Vrchoviště, a mine owner and ore trader, into a patrician palace in the style of Jagellonian Gothic with large halls, bay windows and a chapel. At the beginning of the 17th century, the first floor of the south wing was built and in 1686 a Jesuit seminary and then a school were established there, which remained at Hrádek until the dissolution of the order in 1773. Afterwards, other schools were located here, including a teacher’s institute where the famous teacher Adolf Lindner worked. In 1910 Hrádek was bought by the town for the purpose of reconstruction and establishment of a museum, but this intention was interrupted by the world wars. After a reconstruction taking place between the 1950s and the 1970s, the Mining Museum was opened here and in 1958 Hrádek was listed among the cultural monuments of Czechoslovakia. Further restoration works were to follow, but these would not be completed until the 1990s. The Museum with new exhibitions was inaugurated in 1996.
The Czech Museum of Silver is a continuation of the Vocel Archaeological Collective, founded in 1877. Today, the museum is one of the oldest and, with its 185,000 items in its collection, one of the richest museums in the Czech Republic. It has a large archaeological and numismatic collection, but the art and geological collection is also more than noteworthy. The exhibits which belong to the special mining equipment collection are among the oldest in Europe.
There are two tours for visitors:
Tour I - The City of Silver
(geology, archaeology, development of medieval Kutná Hora, history of Hrádek, life of the "silver nobility", numismatics)
This circuit traces the development of Kutná Hora from its beginnings to its peak as the second most important city of the kingdom. The tour starts in the geological and archaeological section, where you can see, for example, a local rock called kutnohorite or a model of a silver mine. Then you continue to exhibits that show Kutná Hora as a royal mining town. Visitors can see, for example, the water line that brought water to Hrádek from the Stone Fountain, wrought-iron locks, richly decorated bells, a model of St. Barbara’s Church and an original phiale and lily from the Church, as well as items of magistrate law, including an execution sword from the 15th century. In the hall called the Treasury, coins made from 1300 to 1621 are exhibited in wrought-iron chests, including the Prague Groschen minted in the nearby Vlašský dvůr. The hall and chapel of Jan Smíšek with period furnishings and other exhibits such as 14th century mugs and tiles from Hrádek is another interesting part of the tour, as is the Feast Hall and chapel of Jan Smíšek, period glassware or a ceremonial miner’s perkytle (clothing). The tour is about 1 hour.
Tour II - The Silver Road
(medieval mine and elevator, medieval technology of silver ore mining and processing, coinage, mining settlement)
This tour presents the way of silver ore from its mining to the minting of coins. At the beginning of the tour, visitors will learn about the medieval method of mining, processing of raw silver and the technology of coinage. In the area of the original large horse-powered mining machine, the so-called “trejv”, visitors are equipped with a torch, a helmet and a miner’s blouse with a hood, the so-called “perkytle”. Thus equipped, they leave for the St. George’s mine shaft, where at a depth of about 40 m they pass through a 250 m long part of the original medieval mine. In the Hrádek garden, they can then see the so-called miners’ settlement, i.e. the half-timbered and log buildings, the shelters of the so-called miners’ “kavnas” and, above all, the replica of a bellows furnace - a period smelting plant with its equipment and tools and historically accurate figures of the workers. The tour is 1.5 hours. It is advisable to book this tour in advance due to the continuing high interest of the visitors.
For more information about opening hours and admission fees, please visit the website