The centuries-long struggle for autonomy in religious affairs raged between Kutná Hora, represented by its ambitious entrepreneurial class, and the nearby Cistercian monastery in Sedlec eventually led to the construction of a prestigious cathedral-like church in the town. The church was built outside the town walls, on land owned by the Prague Chapter, outside the reach of the Sedlec Monastery, and was dedicated to St. Barbara, the miners' patron saint.
Founded in 1388, most of the construction was financed by the miners themselves. The impressive structure which, according to some historic sources, had been planned at twice its current length, was erected in stages, and depended to a large extent on the prosperity of the local mines. All sorts of events interrupted the construction several times and more than 500 years elapsed between the start and the final completion of the project in 1905.
Johann Parléř, son of Petr Parléř, the builder of St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague, was the first designer of St. Barbara's. Hence the correspondences between the Kutná Hora church and the cathedral in Prague.
The Hussite wars interrupted the construction for over 60 years. However, already before them, financial difficulties made it clear that it would never be possible to execute the original design. In 1482, work on the project was resumed, with the local builders more or less fulfilling the ideas and plans of their predecessors. The arrival from Prague of master builder Matyas Rejsek and royal architect Benedict Ried marked a turning point. As silver mining gradually declined, the financial resources slowly dried out, and a provisional wall terminating the church was built in 1558. At that time, mines in the Osel district, the richest ones, were flooded.
In 1626, the church was handed over to the Jesuits and was largely reconstructed and equipped in Baroque style. The unique structure then remained unfinished for over 300 years. In 1884, the town authorities, inspired by the local archeological society, Vocel, decided that construction should be resumed. The project was completed in 1905.