St. James Church
St. James Church is the oldest stone church in Kutná Hora. It was intended ever since its foundation as the spiritual centre of the whole town. Its location and architectural concept correspond to this. The distance from St. James Church is about the same to all other churches, thus expressing a sacred understanding of space. The St. James Tower is visible from a great distance and serves as an important landmark for the surrounding area.
The construction of the church began in the 1430s and its most important donors were minters and coin makers from the neighbouring Italian Court. The presbytery was vaulted as early as 1356 and the first liturgy was held there. In the early phase of the church’s construction, the influence of the Cistercian monastery in Sedlec, both architecturally and symbolically, was very strong. That is why the church was originally dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The construction was completed in 1420; the Parléř workshop, which at that time was already working on the construction of St. Barbara’s Church, took part in the later stages of the project. Its influence is particularly evident in the rich tracery of the large window in the west front of the church. During the construction, the originally planned second tower was abandoned, probably because of serious problems with the ground, which would not have supported the other church tower. However, the north tower grew to an impressive height of 80 metres, and so the church came to be called simply "the Tall Church".
In 1410 a separate parish district was established at the Tall Church and it remains to be its centre to this day. However, the Catholic tradition here was interrupted for two centuries by Utraquist priests who held the church from 1424 until the end of the Thirty Years’ War. During this time the church was placed under the protection of St. James. The long history of the church has left a number of unique monuments from different periods. The end of the presbytery is decorated with late Gothic frescoes, one of the sanctuaries even bears the oldest preserved inscription from Kutná Hora (1356). In the side nave there are frescoes from the middle of the 15th century, which juxtapose clearly Catholic motifs with Utraquist symbols, thus interestingly revealing the complex ideological conditions of the time. Also worthy of attention is a rare remodel of the otherwise destroyed main altar from 1515 and, last but not least, the painting of the Holy Trinity by Petr Brandl, which is part of the present Baroque altar.
Regular opening hours:
June to September daily 10:00 - 12:30 | 13:00 - 17:00
You can attend services at St. James Church:
- every Sunday at 9:00 a.m.
- every Wednesday (except Advent and Lent) at 6:00 p.m.
- every Friday at 6:00 p.m.
Admission and other services
Free admission to the church during regular opening hours
Free text on the history of the church (in various languages) for visitors to borrow