The Sedlec Ossuary – Rendezvous With Death Close Kutna Hora

Being in the chapel with bones of more than 40,000 people is definitely a strong experience

From the outside, Cemetery Church of All Saints does not look any special and you would easily go past it without notice. However, that would be a great mistake as, beneath it, you can find one of the most interesting spots to visit in the Czech Republic. Its lower chapel is decorated completely with human bones. It is estimated that the bones of up to 50,000 people who died in 14th and 15th centuries during the outbreaks of plague and Hussite Wars are there. Sedlec is not very far from Prague and that is why it is the perfect tip for a one-day trip from the Golden City. Especially as it is right next to the city of Kutná Hora with its historical city center included among UNESCO heritage sites list.

History of the Sedlec Ossuary

When the Abbot of the Sedlec Cistercian monastery returned from his journey to the Holy Land in the 13th century, he brought a treasure with him – a handful of earth removed from Golgotha, the place where Jesus was crucified. He sprinkled it over the Sedlec cemetery and that is why people from many places desired to be buried right there. In 1511, after the plague and wars of the century before, one monk who was almost blind got the task of exhuming skeletons because of the improvements of the cemetery. These bones were stocked in the basement of the church where they waited for more than 360 years. In 1870, a woodcarver named František Rint used them to create an artistic composition and decorate the chapel with them.

The Sedlec Ossuary Today

Being in the chapel with bones of more than 40,000 people is definitely a strong experience. When you will absorb the initial feeling of the atmosphere, pay attention to the highlights of the Church of Bones. At first, it is magnificent chandelier containing at least one piece of every bone of a human body. Another masterpiece is the coat of arms of the House of Schwarzenberg. Notice the raven pecking at the head of the Turkish soldier, that element became part of the coat of arms after Adolf of Schwarzenberg defeated Turks at Raab in 1598. As mentioned above, many of those who were killed during the Hussite Wars were buried at Sedlec. You can easily recognize their skulls because of the apparent injuries inflicted by the 15th century weapons.

How to Get to Sedlec Ossuary?

To visit Sedlec and Kutná Hora, you can join one of the several organized trips departing from Prague every day and you can just enjoy the trip. The area is also accessible by train and you can always go there by car if you don´t mind about an hour of driving. The entrance fee is more than reasonable with just 3.50€ for an adult. Except for the Christmas, the ossuary is open throughout the year, you just need to check the opening times which depend on the part of the year.