The city of Prague has so many places to discover but it would be a serious mistake to not take a look beyond the city´s borders while you´re there. One of the places near the Czech capital that is worth checking out is Kutná Hora. If you look at Google pictures of the town you may not see anything that makes this particular place special. Well, the truth is that the village itself is like any other village in the Czech Republic… except for one small detail. Kutná Hora has a church made entirely (or almost entirely) of human bones: the Sedlec Ossuary.
Foto: Todd Huffman
The trip to Kutna Hora from Prague station is an adventure in itself. The trains are old, make frequent stops and travel about 70 km an hour. This may not be the ideal trip for anyone used to traveling in style, but this kind of travel can certainly make a trip memorable.
Once you´ve arrived in Kutná Hora, it´s about a 20-minute walk to Sedlec. Once there, the entrance fee is 50 CZK, which is less than € 2, and what awaits inside really is amazing.
The Sedlec Ossuary
Sedlec was reputed to be a sacred place for burials because a Cistercian monk who had returned from Terra Santa with a handful of dirt scattered this on the spot where the church was later built. A couple of centuries later when the Black Plague hit, so many people died and were buried here that the cemetery had to be enlarged. In the fifteenth century a chapel was built on the site to preserve the bones of exhumed bodies that had been buried in the mass graves. The task was entrusted to a half-blind monk who said he was the founder of the Sedlec Ossuary. In the late eighteenth century, he commissioned a woodcarver to arrange the bones, and it was he, František Rint, who built what we see today.
Upon entering, the first thing you see is a spider-shaped chandelier made entirely of bones. The walls are also full of bones and there are shelves full of skulls. The walls are made whole bone, presumably arms and legs, and Christian crosses are also made of bones. The result may seem rather macabre but it can also be viewed as a true work of art. It is estimated that between 40 and 70 thousand human skeletons were used to complete this ´work´, and it does seem to have an unimaginable number of bones. One can also see that the skeletons came from people of different ages, and many skulls and bones came from young children who perished during the Plague.
Half an hour is enough time to visit the church, and there´s not much else to see in Kutná Hora. The road back to the station can be a bit challenging, however, with so many thoughts going through your head after such a visit. Nevertheless, the Sedlec Ossuary is very unique and an interesting story to relate to those back home. Chances are you´ll never see anything like it again.
For more information, visit the official website Sedlec Ossuary: http://www.sedlecossuary.com/
Find apartment accommodation in Prague and don´t miss the opportunity to visit Kutná Hora while you´re in the capital. The Sedlec Ossuary is guaranteed to leave you speechless. The Czech Repuplic offers something different and unique for travelers and yet it is still easy to reach.