The origin of the town‘s name of the town has been explained in various ways. One popular version is the derivation from a monk’s cowl (kutna), following the 15th-century legend of the discovery of veins of silver near All Saints’ Church (now the cemetery chapel in Česká Street) by a Cistercian monk from the Sedlec monastery, who had placed his cowl over his discovery. Another Czech word – kutat, “to dig for metals” – offers a second possible explanation. The designation “Cuthna” appears in connection with perhaps the oldest mining settlement, Cuthna Antiqua, which archaeological finds have situated in the vicinity of the present town cemetery, and dating to the mid-13th century.
In 1276, a name equivalent to the present Hora Kutná first appears in archival sources. By this era, intensive mining had already begun in the small hills near the present town – Kuklík, Sukov, and Kaňk. The area was then divided between the adjoining, previously created royal towns of Čáslav and Kolín: Kutná Hora itself began to form out of the mining colonies only by the 13th century. The necessary town appurtenances (legal institutions, fortifications, royal privileges etc.) were gradually attained by the year 1300, the issuing of the supreme legal code IUS REGALE MONTANORUM by King Wenceslas
II. In time, the promising silver-mining settlement became the economic center of the state, the sit for minting the unified national currency and a royal town with all the rights and privileges, confirmed by the Czech sovereigns Jan of Luxembourg, Charles IV, Wenceslas IV and many others.
The historic town center was declared a heritage site in 1961, containing 316 buildings of cultural importance. Its criterion for registration in the UNESCO register of world cultural and natural heritage was the unique medieval urban space with two major cathedrals, many Gothic churches and sumptuous burghers’ houses, a document of the history of intensive mining activity and the prosperity of silver mines in central Europe.