Kutná Hora: Visiting the Bone Church or Ossuary in Sedlec

Woot! Maerose here. It’s almost 10pm, and I’m still alert, alive, awake, enthusiastic! Got myself a nice tall cup of hot coffee. Now I’m ready to write about the rest of my journey in Czech Republic. 😉

During the last couple of days of my stay in the City of a Hundred Spires – Prague, I came across many pamphlets and brochures offering tours and adventures outside the city center. I stopped for a moment and asked myself why I never went out of the city center during my previous travels. Then, it dawned on me. I was probably missing a lot by staying in the city proper and not exploring the nearby towns!

So I picked a destination interesting enough and booked the tour right away. It was a beautiful spur of the moment decision! A decision I would never ever regret. A decision that was the start of my out of the city center escapades.

Off to Kutná Hora
Off to Kutná Hora

The tour was operated by Prague Expert and it costs 1.290 Kč (Czech koruna). It’s more or less 440 NOK so it was affordable. Included in the price were the transportation, the tour guide, admission to the Church of Sta. Barbara and the Bone Church, a three-course meal of ethnic Czech dishes in an old tavern, and a CD containing a film and pictures of Kutná Hora. You can also ask them to pick you up from your hotel/hostel instead of meeting them up in the Old Town Square.

Kutná Hora is a city in the Central Bohemian Region. The historical silver-mining town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was particularly a rich and extravagant city in the 14th century due to the mining industry, but it slowly declined over the years. Probably because of Prague climbing its way into the limelight. According to our tour guide, the city got its name from the cloak of the monks (Kutten) who first inhabited the region. There was also a myth about a certain monk who, upon discovery of the silver mines, left his cloak (Kutten) at the foot of a hill and became a businessman instead. The incident led the people to call the city Kutná Hora.

The Church of Bones and the Black Death Memorial
The Church of Bones and the Black Death Memorial

Two famous attractions in the city are the Bone Church in Sedlec and the Church of Sta. Barbara. First stop of the tour was the Bone Church. To be honest, the place was eerie. Just imagine thousands of bones piled and decorated all found inside the chapel!

Bones of about 40000 people in the Sedlec Ossuary
Bones of about 40000 people in the Sedlec Ossuary

Why on earth would they pile and keep the bones, you ask? The bones came from about 40000 people who died during the plague in 1318 and the Hussite wars during the 15th century. According to sources, a monk was sent to Jerusalem in the 1200s, and he came back with soil from Golgotha, the Calvary where Jesus was crucified. The monk scattered the soil in Sedlec, and soon enough, people from all over rushed to have their dead loved ones buried there. The cemetery had to be expanded eventually, and a Gothic Church was built beside it. In 1870, František Rint of Česká Skalice was commissioned to arrange the bones. He creatively designed chandeliers, bells, coats-of-arms, among others and arranged them inside the church. (Read more about the Bone Church here: http://sedlecossuary.com/ or here: http://www.myczechrepublic.com/)

The ceiling decorated by bones
The ceiling decorated by bones
Wall decor
Wall decor
A pyramid of skulls
A pyramid of skulls
A chandelier of bones
A chandelier of bones
Interior of the Bone Church
Interior of the Bone Church
The Schwarzenberg coat-of-arms
The Schwarzenberg coat-of-arms
More pile of bones
A pile of skulls

Does the church appeal to you? Would you still feel like praying upon seeing the bones? Well, I like the concept. It reminds me of the impermanence of life. It tells me that after I die, I am no longer in control of my physical being. And that my physical being is definitely not the thing that should define me, but my soul and my thoughts.

This is just the first part of the tour. Up next, a lovely lunch in an old tavern in the middle of Kutná Hora followed by the elegant Gothic five-naved Church of Sta. Barbara! ❤ I love life!

The photo below was taken by another traveler. He came up to me and asked if I wanted a photo of myself taken. I asked if he want one of himself in return, but he said no. The world is good and beautiful. #spreadkindness

The Schwarzenberg coat-of-arms, made entirely of human bones
The Schwarzenberg coat-of-arms, made entirely of human bones
Bones of about 40000 people in the Sedlec Ossuary
Bones of about 40000 people in the Sedlec Ossuary
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