I’m picking back up on our European travels today with our visit to Kutna Hora. This interesting place is worthy its own post as it is a pretty cool spot! Kutna Hora is a small town about an hour outside of Prague. It was a detour on our way to Vienna, but I found it to be quite worth the extra time! The entire town is a UNESCO site which so makes me wish we had more time to spend there! We made just a quick stop to see the Sedlec Ossuary otherwise known as “The Bone Church”.
The basement of the Church of All Saints is filled with the skeletons of what is believed to be more than 40,000 humans! All are artfully displayed so it’s hard to tell an exact number but there are A LOT of bones! All of which are arranged to make things like a chalice, decorative crosses, and a coat of arms.
Different bones ornately decorate all of the walls and ceilings.
Believed to be the most impressive is the makeup of a chandelier that includes every type of bone in the human body! Unfortunately the chandelier is currently under construction and was taken down for restoration during our visit.
Chandelier or no chandelier, this place is impressive…and a bit macabre! It’s hard not to be a little disturbed by all of the death surrounding you, but the Ossuary describes itself not as a place that celebrates death, but rather a symbol of the equality of people before the throne of God. I find that explanation to be quite beautiful!
So how does something like this place come to be? It’s really quite a fascinating story! Dirt from Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified, was sprinkled over the above cemetery by a priest who had visited the Holy Land. People heard this and the cemetery soon because a sought after place to be buried. Additionally, the plague hitting the area produced even more bodies in need of a resting place. Eventually the crowding of the small cemetery got to be so bad that graves had to be dug up and the Ossuary built (which is much like the reasoning behind the Bone House I blogged about from our visit to Hallstatt, Austria) What makes the Sedlec Ossuary so unique is that a half blind monk was put in charge of being the bone collector and took it upon himself to start artfully arranging the bones. He of course didn’t arrange them to the extent that they are arranged today. A local woodcarver was hired to do that many years later – making the Ossuary it what it is today.
Bones are an interesting thing to think about. It was a little disturbing to see so many human bones surrounding us but at the same time it was quite beautiful to see that our makeup is all the same. There are no distinguishments that make our bones differ from the next. Once our flesh and skin is gone, we all look the same. It was also refreshing to see and realize that once we are no more in this life, our bones are just bones.
I hope you find this place to be as interesting as I did! What are your thoughts on The Bone Church? Would you ever visit it if in the area? Feel free to leave you comments below 🙂
Be Blessed + Be A Blessing