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What To Do In Kutna Hora – The Sedlec Bone Church

Only an hour from Prague, the Sedlec Bone Church is a must-see! A bit spooky, kids and adults will be fascinated by all the skulls and bones.


Interested in the macabre?  Like a good haunted house?  Maybe you are looking for someplace to travel with a Halloween theme. If so, then the Sedlec Ossuary, or Bone Church, located near the UNESCO city of Kutna Hora in the Czech Republic is the place to go. This church displays the remains of over 40,000 individuals! Call it scary, grotesque, or just plain interesting, chances are you have never seen anything like this.

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Human Skull with bone in mouth make up part of the decorations in Sedlec Bone Church in Kutna Hora, Czechia.
Skulls, bones, and candelabras. What more would you expect in the Sedlec Bone Church? Maybe a ghost or two?

The Sedlec Bone Church – A Ghostly Destination Not Far From Prague

The Czech Republic is full of quirky things to do like taking the waters in Karlovy Vary, drinking beer and relaxing in it at the same time, or even watching a young boy dress like a queen during one of the best festivals I’ve ever been to, but nothing can compare to this spooky church in Kutna Hora.

Things to do in Kutna Hora - The Sedlec Bone Church sits up on a hill overlooking the town.
Sitting atop a hill, and looking a bit imposing, the Sedlec Bone Ossuary is one of the biggest draws for things to do in Kutna Hora. Wait until they get inside?!

History of Sedlec Bone Church

In the mid-twelfth century, the abbot of Sedlec was sent on a diplomatic mission to Jerusalem. Before coming home, he scooped up some of the holy soil and then sprinkled it on the ground of the monastery after his return. Immediately everyone wanted to be buried on this holiest consecrated ground. It is said that there are over 40,000 people who were buried there, with two historical  periods accounting for most of them. One was at the end of the 14th century when plague ravaged Europe, and the second was during the Hussite wars only fifty years later talk about good ghost material!

Piles of human bones and skulls in the Sedlec Bone Church a ghostly destination in Kutna Hora.
Don’t try and count the bones. Over 40,000 people are buried in and around this church.

The re-arrangement of the bones to decorate the Gothic-style chapel began with František Rint, a woodcarver, in 1870. He started arranging the bones in a decorative manner. There is a coat of arms, a few pillars, piles of bones, bones used in many different sculptures. Why did he start doing this?

Skulls and bones decorate a balcony at the Sedlec Bone Church.
A nice decoration around the 2nd floor balcony is a surprise. Isn’t this an amazing thing to do in Kutna Hora?

The burial ground has been through a number of renovations in which the graves are emptied and then given over to new occupants. Something had to be done with the homeless bones so a room was built to accommodate them, but soon there were too many for just one room.

Hundreds of skulls and bones piled up in the Sedlec Bone Church.
Bones, bones, bones! The Sedlec Ossuary is full of them! No wonder it is the number one thing to do in Kutna Hora.

When we were there, we saw this process in action. There is a stone stairway leading to an entry, and as we approached everyone on the stairs was watching something below. When we got there, we realized that because of the current renovations, graves were still being exhumed. There were two men emptying a grave of its remains as people watched. Isn’t that eerie?

Closeup of human skulls and bones decorating the interior of Sedlec bone church.

Walking around the church was a bit surreal. Using human remains as art and decoration kind of gave me the chills, but it also ignited a sense of morbid fascination. Here are some of the photos of the arrangements.

Closeup of angel playing horn and holding a human skull.
An angel blowing a trumpet quiets the ghosts with her music at the Sedlec Bone Ossuary in Kutna Hora.
Cherub angel with horn atop skull pillar.

Getting to Kutna Hora

We know that Prague’s attractions can keep you busy, but Sedlec is only an hour’s drive from Prague and you can easily get there by car.

It’s also pretty easy to get there by train. Trains leave about every two hours from the Hlavní Nádraží station in Prague. Make sure to buy a return ticket in Prague to make things easier. Once you get off at the main station in Kutna Hora, you can walk up the hill to Sedlec, which will take you about 25 minutes.

It’s a little harder to get there by bus, and takes three times as long. First take any public transportation to the Prague East (Cerny Most) and then take any bus heading to Sídliště Petrovice (number 224) and then take the number 381. It will take you to the center of Kutna Hora, and from there it is a 2 kilometer but easy walk to the ossuary.

Google Map Prague to Kutna Hora.
Google Map to take bus from Prague East (Cerny Most) to Kutna Hora

Address of the Sedlec Bone Church is  Zámecká, 284 03 Kutná Hora.

Medieval decorations in the Kutna Hora restaurant - U Kata.
Interior of U Kata restaurant, where you can find some traditional Czech food in Kutna Hora.

Restaurant Recommendation: Not far away, in Kutna Hora town center, is a restaurant called U Kata. I would make reservations so that you can enjoy your meal in the medieval dining hall. While there, try some Czech specialties like roast duck with red cabbage and dumplings:

There is plenty to do in Kutna Hora. You can easily spend the whole day there. Just remember, walking in Kutna Hora is slightly hilly, but you can easily use a stroller.

The cost of the ossuary is 90 Kruna or around $4.00.

Are you looking for more off-the-wall sights?  Here are 12 Quirky Things to Do in Prague, you might love.

Human skulls and bones provide the decorative material in Sedlec.

Would you like to visit the Sedlec Ossuary? Are you scared of a few ghosts?

Pin the Sedlec Bone Church for later!

Scariest Halloween spot in Czechia-Sedlec Bone Church in Kutna Hora.
Skulls and skeletons greet you at the Sedlec Bone Church in Kutna Hora.

Corinne Vail

Friday 6th of October 2017

Miranda, I went because I'd heard so much about it, and I have to say I wasn't disappointed.

The Roaming Renegades.com

Friday 6th of October 2017

This place looks very spooky! I would love to visit one day as it seems like a great day trip from Prague, especially as Halloween is just around the corner!

Corinne Vail

Friday 6th of October 2017

Nic, I would say Halloween would be a great time to visit!

Brianna

Thursday 5th of October 2017

It's way creepy to think that all those bones used to be living people. But it's also really neat to see the remains used in this way. I'd like to see one of Europe's bone churches some time.

Corinne Vail

Thursday 5th of October 2017

Brianna, There are a couple in Europe. I have been to the one in Evora, Portugal and this one in Czech. I liked this one better, because it is so decorative.

Sarah

Wednesday 4th of October 2017

We may be travelling through Prague next year. With our own transport this seems like the perfect little detour. I love quirky attractions like this and would love to visit!

Corinne Vail

Thursday 5th of October 2017

Sarah, There is plenty to do in Czech other than Prague if you have a car. It's a great country to travel in. You will love it.

helene dsouza

Sunday 1st of October 2017

We had planned to see the kutna hora church when we visited praha in December last year but we had only 2 days and had traveled by car from Austria and on the way our heating system stopped working (it was freezing!), so we had to forcefully skip the travel to this amazing church. Fro some crazy reason, when ever I see Kutna Hora i keep on thinking of the practice in Ladakh India where they give the dead bodies of monks to the vultures to eat.

Corinne Vail

Sunday 1st of October 2017

Helene, Oh, I've never heard that about Ladakh before. Wow. It's too bad you missed the Bone Church. Maybe next time.