Hmm. I feel it only fair to warn my readers that this blog post may contain images that some might find disturbing. I myself don’t have any issue with what I’m about to show you, I think it’s one of the most fascinating places I have ever visited and I hope that you can put aside any queasiness and just be amazed at the spectacle. I first came across this place while watching a travel show many years ago, so long ago that I could only remember the sight of it not where it was or what it was. Fast forward to August 2016, I’ve arrived in the Czech Republic, specifically Prague, and I’m talking to my guide about things to do while I’m here. A visit to the town of Kutna Hora, located outside Prague is mentioned. Why? Because of the Bone Church …
The morning after arriving in Prague, my travel companions and I set out via train to Kutna Hora. Technically, via two trains and we need to change at a platform literally in the middle of nowhere to get to the village. Kutna Hora itself is a pretty, quaint village with a lively town square. Both it and it’s suburb of Sedlec are World Heritage listed. There are a number of beautiful churches of interest in the town, the 14th century Gothic Church of St Barbara, with it’s high vaulted ceilings and huge stained glass windows, is one. The rather austere St James Church, with its paintings, is another. But after visiting those, we hopped a taxi to the suburb of Sedlec to see the Ossuary, or Church of Bones. From the outside, it’s rather bland and nondescript. It looks pretty small too. The site became a popular burial ground in the 13th century after an abbot returned from the Holy Land with soil. Eventually, it was decided to build a church on the site and so the bodies of some 40,000 people had to be exhumed to make room. In the mid-1800’s the skeletons of those exhumed were “arranged” as you see today … the interior of the church has been decorated by them, everything from the chandelier to the very elaborate coat of arms of the Schwarzenberg family (an aristocratic family of German and Czech heritage who commissioned the bone display). I think it fair to say that this place is seriously unique. Yes, I’ve been to the catacombs of other European cities but truly … can any compare to this most bizarre and elaborate (some may say macabre) church in the Czech Republic?
This post is part of my contribution to the April 2017 A-Z Challenge
For a list and links to my other challenge posts click here
For those interested in revisiting my 2016 challenge post for O, here’s the link: Snapshot – Okavango Delta