Escape of the Week: the Church of Bones

Written by on May 23, 2014 in Czech Republic, Europe - 4 Comments

What to do with exhumed skeletons of more than 14,000 bodies from the time of the Black Plague? For woodcarver František Rint, the grisly task was his to handle the bones nearly 300 years after a half-blind monk unearthed them.

The result? The Sedlec Ossuary, or the Church of Bones.

Church of Bones

The entryway to the thousands of bones beneath

Located about an hour train ride from Prague in the quaint town of Kutna Hora (a UNESCO World Heritage site), today the Sedlec Ossuary is one of the town’s biggest draws.

Skulls in the Church of Bones

And, for good reason. These bones, to the tune of between 40 and 70,000 are, um, artistically arranged below the Cemetery Church of All Saints.

The Sedlec Ossuary

There are four large areas where bones are piled to the ceiling, and then, in the middle of the Ossuary, is a macabre chandelier using every bone in the human body.

The chandelier inside the Church of Bones

Creepy? Yes. Fascinating? Absolutely.

A skeleton at the Church of Bones

The Sedlec Ossuary is mentioned in guidebooks, on hostel bulletin boards … everywhere. And, despite its huge crowds, the site is definitely one to experience while visiting Prague.

Skulls at the Church of Bones

Getting there: Head to Prague’s Central Station and then hop a train to Kutna Hora. For further exploration — and the town itself is worth exploring — skip the long walk from the Church of Bones to the town — and opt for the local tram which transports those to the medieval nook. There are plenty of restaurants and attractions within the town to explore for a few hours. You don’t need an entire day in Kutna Hora, and not even an hour at the Church of Bones.

This post is part of  the D Travels Europe series. Stay up-to-date on all of my European adventures by following along on Twitter (#dtravelseurope), Instagram,TroverG+ and Facebook. And, for a look at the health and wellness side of European travel, be sure to follow along at The Comfort Zone Project and on TCZP’s Facebook.

About the Author

Diana Edelman is an avid traveler who recently spent four years living as an expat. Most notably, Diana spent nearly three years in Chiang Mai, Thailand where she worked with Save Elephant Foundation to raise awareness about the realities of elephant tourism. Currently based in Las Vegas, Diana works in many industries as a publicist, social media expert, content creator and journalist. The co-founder of the Responsible Travel & Tourism Collective, Diana has spoken at conferences about travel blogging and responsible tourism.

4 Comments on " Escape of the Week: the Church of Bones "

  1. Melissa | Suitcase and Heels May 27, 2014 at 4:13 pm · Reply

    Well, that’s tonight’s nightmare sorted! lol That place definitely looks fascinating but very macabre. I’m not sure if I’d actually want to visit in person or not. Hmm…

    • Diana June 1, 2014 at 3:51 pm · Reply

      Haha! Sorry!! It is cool … and interesting to be taken that far back in history 🙂

  2. Drew | The Hungry Partier May 29, 2014 at 5:35 am · Reply

    I used to live in Prague and I went to Kutna Hora a few times! This is a great post, and really describes the exact experienece that I had at this church of bones.

    Let me know if you find yourself in Korea anytime soon!

    • Diana June 1, 2014 at 3:50 pm · Reply

      Thanks, Drew! I love Prague. What was it like living there as an expat? You never know when I will be there. Likewise for you and Chiang Mai!

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