What To Do In Kutna Hora – The Sedlec Bone Church

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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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Skull with bone in mouth

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 bones 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? 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.

 

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?

 

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.

Skulls and skeletons greet you at the Sedlec Bone Church in Kutna Hora

An angel blowing a trumpet quiets the ghosts with her music at the Sedlec Bone Ossuary 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?

Skulls and skeletons greet you at the Sedlec Bone Church in Kutna Hora

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.

Skulls and skeletons greet you at the Sedlec Bone Church in Kutna Hora

Practical Information:

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.

Google Map Prague to Kutna Hora

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

Halloween Travel -The Sedlec Bone Church in Czechia

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

 

Pin the Sedlec Bone Church for later!

Skulls and skeletons greet you at the Sedlec Bone Church in Kutna Hora

Skulls and skeletons greet you at the Sedlec Bone Church in Kutna Hora

Skulls and skeletons greet you at the Sedlec Bone Church in Kutna Hora

Skulls and skeletons greet you at the Sedlec Bone Church in Kutna Hora

36 Comments

  1. Is it wrong that I find this as equally stunning as I do creepy? What a fantastic place to visit and as you say if you could time this right a trip during Halloween could be quite spooky. I love seeking out new, different places like this. Will have to keep this one on my radar.

  2. There are a number of these “bone” churches in Europe. I visited the one in Evora, Portugal but it only had bones from 5,000 people. 40,000 brings it to another level!

  3. I wanted to visit this place from Prague but we only had one day to get out of the city and we chose Cesky Krumlov. Have to say the all those bones look spooky. And, then, remains of 40,000? That is something else!

  4. 40,000 people?! Wow that’s too many people. I’m not sure if I can arrange these skulls and bones in a decorative manner myself but František sure did a great job doing it. It is creepy but beautiful at the same time. I would love to visit this church myself and check out the bone displays.

  5. Bones! I’d love to see this church by myself. I’m sure i’ll creep out a bit but this is really interesting! Do you have directions on how to get there by bus? If i’m gonna be seeing this church in my dreams, i’m gonna freak out because of the colorless dreams but seeing it using my own eyes, is now a dream I need to fulfill!

    http://www.thejerny.com

    1. There are several trains that leave from Prague central station with stops in Kutna Hora. From there it’s a short walk to the church. There are several buses as well leaving from Prague’s Florenc or Černý Most bus stations, but it is a longer walk and the cost is about the same as the train so I’d recommend train over bus.

  6. Wow! That is a lot of bones! I would love to see this. I’ve been wanting to go to Prague forever and on my travels I like to explore small towns, so a trip here would be perfect.

  7. It would take a special type of person to build that! I appreciate that artistic value, but I really would not want to visit in person. Your photos will have to suffice.

  8. 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.

  9. There is something very creepy and fascinating about this church. Using the sculls and bones to decorate the church to make room for new bodies is creative. I am not sure I could have gone in this church. Just looking at the photos gave me an uneasy feeling. You are brave.

  10. What an interesting story this church has. It’s the first time I’ve heard about a bone church and since I like quirky things, I would consider visiting this church. You’ve got me interested in its history and “interior design”.

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

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