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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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.
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!
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? 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.
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?
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.
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 a little harder to get there by bus, and takes three times as long. First take any public transporation 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.
Address of the Sedlec Bone Church is Zámecká, 284 03 Kutná 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.
Would you like to visit the Sedlec Ossuary? Are you scared of a few ghosts?
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