Sedlec Ossuary Czech Republic

Sedlec Ossuary Czech Republic is in the Kutna Hora suburbs just an hour from Prague by bus or car. From the outside, it appears as a small, ordinary chapel yet it is far from that. Entering the ossuary, it quickly becomes evident the ossuary is different; it is adorned with bones from human skeletons numbering more than 40,000, thus giving it its second name - The Church of Bones. One of the main features of the church is the central chandelier, made entirely out of bones and including at least one of each bone found in the human body. Another of the main attractions inside The Sedlec Ossuary features another big attraction: the Schwarzenberg family coat of arms made entirely of bones

History surrounding the Sedlec Ossuary Czech Republic begins in 1278 when the Sedlec Cisterian Monastery’s abbot was sent to Jerusalem by the King of Bohemia. Upon his return, he brought with him a container of holy soil from Golgotha which brought Sedlec fame. Soon many wanted it as their burial site and the church’s cemetery was greatly expanded. A Gothic church was constructed nearby in the 15th century with the basement used primarily as an ossuary. The bones of the people stayed in the church several centuries until a woodcarver was employed in 1870 to put all the bones in order with an impressively captivating result.

Ossuaries date their beginnings back about 3,000 years to Persia where bones were stored in this macabre way, essentially to save space and stop overcrowding in cemeteries. Roman Catholics have also adopted this style of storing human remains. Jewish and Eastern Orthodox faiths often use bones to create decorative displays in churches and other settings. The Sedlec Ossuary Czech Republic setting can be compared to similar churches around the world, such as Skull Chapel in Czermna, Poland and the Monastery of San Francisco in Lima, Peru.

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