We left Prague on Wednesday morning and headed toward Vienna with a little detour in mind: the suburb of Sedlec in the town of Kutná Hora. The Ossuary Chapel attracts over 200,000 visitors annually. The bones date all the way back to the 14th century and the decorations using them were the work of one man, a woodcarver, who was employed to put the bones in some kind of order. That he certainly did!
The reason there were so many bodies buried here, apart from the Black Death and the victims of the Hussite Wars, was because the cemetery was considered a very desirable place to be buried due to the fact the Abbot in 1278 had brought back earth from Golgotha in the Holy Land and sprinkled it here. I wonder if they would think it so desirable if they could see it now.
Various adjectives bandied about during our visit: morbid, macabre, creepy, depressing, freaky, dark, ghoulish, abnormal, gruesome, melancholy, somber, sad. But with all that, it was still a weird and wonderful look at the ways humans deal with death, dying, afterlife, religion, and our own remains.
It was rather sobering to realize during the course of the visit that all the heads of the people craning to look closer at the decorations contained the exact same thing as what they were looking at. Not surprisingly, some of the decorations are gone now, destroyed by time and "insensitive tourists", but what remains (ha! see what I did there) is fascinating as well as gruesome and macabre.
Welcome to the Bone Church!
I promise the photobomber in the window is a tourist, not a ghost
No one wants to swing from THIS one
The Crest of the House of Schwarzenberg ...but wait, what is UP with that image in the corner??
Are those ...RIB BONES sticking out of the skull? Hrmmm...
There are 4 of these huge bone pyramids in each corner.
Photo credits: Copyright 2015 Anders Ek, Elizabeth Slaughter-Ek