“The Bone Church” or the Sedlec Ossuary is at the site of a former Abbey in Kutná Hora, Czech Republic, a 50-minute train ride from Prague. Train tickets from Prague are cheap and there is a local bus that travels from the train station to the church and through the rest of the city.
The abbey cemetery was a popular burial place because an Abbot was said to have sprinkled holy dirt from Jerusalem over the site in 1278. Between the plague and the Crusades, the cemetery became overfilled. The Baroque Gothic Style church was built in the 15th century and the remains of between 40,000-70,000 people were stacked in pyramids in the ossuary underneath the church. After 1870, the church hired Francis Rint to create something beautiful out of the piles of bones.
MEMENTO MORI | Remember the Death
From the outside, the church looks normal! There is a skull and cross bones design in the sidewalk outside, but otherwise the church looks quite ordinary. As you approach the basement entrance, you can see where they are still exhuming bodies.
I must say, though it is creepy it is indeed beautiful! There is a coat of arms, an address out of bones, chains of skulls, and a CHANDELIER made of bones. The work is so intricate and detailed, though obviously morbid. There are still four pyramids of stacked bones, with parts lit up so you can see just how many remains there are.
After visiting the bone church, I explored a bit of Kutná Hora! The rest of the city is a little stretch from the ossuary, so I took a bus into the historical centre of town.
Cathedral of St. Barbara
A UNESCO heritage site, this is one of the most famous Gothic churches in central Europe! Kutná Hora was a huge mining town and fittingly, St. Barbara is the patron saint of miners. This church was constructed intermittently from 1388 to 1905!!! As the construction spanned several decades there are different styles of architecture, but most notable are the flying buttresses!
There are preserved frescoes inside depicting the medieval mining town. Just beside the cathedral, there is an incredible view!