Sedlec Ossuary (The Bone Church)

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The Sedlec Ossuary, also known as The Bone Church, is about 65km east of Prague. Prior to our trip to Prague I hadn't heard of it, but my partner had seen a documentary about it some time in the past and it sounded so bizarre we decided to pay it a visit.

The Ossuary is based in a small 14th century medieval chapel which looks unexceptional from the outside. However, as soon as you step into the church, you find yourself facing some of the most unbelievable sights you are ever likely to see. You might think you've seen it all before…but you haven't!

Inside the church are the bones of 40,000 people who were originally buried in the cemetery. In the 14th century the cemetery was considered very holy and was a much sought after burial place. Because of plague epidemics, it was very heavily used and became overcrowded. Much of the cemetery was abolished in the 15th century and the bones of those interred there were lifted and moved into the church where they lay in huge piles for centuries. In 1870 new owners of the church and associated monastery allowed a local woodcarver to use the bones to decorate the church and the incredible results of his handiwork are what you see today.

The church is filled with garlands, chandeliers and other decorations all made from human bones; the coat of arms is particularly impressive. In each of the four corners there are huge pyramids of stacked bones.It has to be seen to be believed.

Kutna Hora Sedlec is easy to reach by train from Prague. There are several trains per day from the main station, some go direct, some involve a simple change of train at Kolin. The journey takes about an hour and costs around £7 return per person. When you arrive at Kutna Hora a small local train is waiting to take you the 5 minute trip to Kutna Hora Sedlec. From the Sedlec station, there is a 5 minute walk to the Ossuary. Entry costs 90Kc per person.

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