Sedlec Ossuary, also called The Church of Bones, rightfully makes it into the list of the world’s most macabre places for the reason that it is entirely decorated by human bones. It is a rather small Roman Catholic chapel which would normally not catch the attention of passers-by if seen from the outside but it is what is inside it that has made is one of the twelve UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Czech Republic. The chapel is located in Kutná Hora (another UNESCO World Heritage Site) in the Central Bohemia region.
Human bones are displayed everywhere and form intricate pieces of work and furniture – one of the most spectacular among them is the chandelier that contains at least one bone in the human body and hangs in the center of the church, making it the main attraction. Other fascinating works are the altar, the coat of arms of House of Schwarzenberg family and the signature of Frantisek Rint, the artist who created the decorations.
And of course, an eerie place like this deserves an equally eerie story behind it:
In the year 1278, the King of Bohemia sent the abbot of the region to Jerusalem and upon his return, he sprinkled soil he had brought from the land all over the cemetery. For this reason, many people requested to be buried there upon their deaths. During the Black Death, especially, the cemetery around the church became so crowded that it had to be expanded and not long after, it became neglected. During the 15th century, the existing chapel was built and its basement was used to store the bodies and they remained scattered inside it for centuries until a half-blind monk was given the task to put the bones in order.
In 1870, a woodcarver named Frantisek Rint was hired to put the stack the bones in their rightful order. Needless to say, he got slightly over-inspired and created the macabre artworks seen now.
The entrance fee is 50 Koronas for adults. For students and children, the fee is 30 Koronas. An additional photo fee of 30 Koronas is charged for those who wish to take pictures, but it is rarely asked for.
From Prague, take a train and get off at Kutna Hora hl.n station and walk for about ten minutes to the chapel (there is a map just outside the station)