Kutná Hora Bone Church, also known as Sedlec Ossuary, is a macabre yet fascinating tourist attraction located in the Czech Republic. The church is adorned with the bones of around 40,000 human skeletons, arranged in a variety of ways to create an eerie spectacle. The history of the church is as intriguing as its appearance, with roots dating back to the 13th century.
Originally, the Sedlec Monastery stood on the site where the church now stands. In 1278, the abbot of the monastery, Henry, was sent to the Holy Land by King Ottokar II of Bohemia. While on his journey, Henry brought back a handful of earth from the site of Christ’s crucifixion and scattered it over the cemetery surrounding the monastery. This act made the cemetery a highly desirable place to be buried, and soon people from all over the region were requesting to be buried there.
As the number of burials increased, the cemetery became overcrowded, and the older graves were dug up to make room for new ones. The bones were then stacked in the chapel beneath the cemetery, forming the foundation for the bone church we see today. The bones remained in disarray for centuries until a woodcarver named Frantisek Rint was appointed in 1870 to arrange them into the macabre works of art we see today.
Kutná Hora Bone Church, also known as the Sedlec Ossuary, is a Roman Catholic chapel located beneath the Cemetery Church of All Saints in Sedlec, a suburb of Kutná Hora in Bohemia. It is a unique and fascinating destination that defies convention, and has become an immensely popular tourist attraction in the Czech Republic. The historical significance of the Bone Church is rooted in its rich and varied history, which spans centuries and includes a number of key events and figures.
Foundation and the Holy Soil
The Sedlec Ossuary was founded in the 13th century, when the abbot of Sedlec monastery returned from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with a handful of soil from Golgotha, the site of Christ’s crucifixion. This soil was scattered over the cemetery, making it a highly desirable burial site. Over the centuries, thousands of people were buried there, and the cemetery became overcrowded. In the 14th century, the Black Death swept through Europe, killing millions of people. The Sedlec cemetery was no exception, and the bones of the dead were exhumed and piled up in the chapel.
Hussite Wars and the Aftermath
During the Hussite Wars in the 15th century, the Sedlec monastery was destroyed and the cemetery fell into disrepair. It wasn’t until the 16th century that a new abbot was appointed and the cemetery was restored. The bones that had been piled up in the chapel were rearranged in artistic and decorative ways, and the Sedlec Ossuary became a unique and macabre work of art.
Schwarzenberg Family and the Ossuary
In the 18th century, the Schwarzenberg family bought the Sedlec land including the cathedral and ossuary and their patronage ensured its survival. They hired a carpenter called František Rint to re-organize the bones and create the intricate and awe-inspiring displays that can be seen today. The Schwarzenbergs also commissioned a chandelier made of bones, which hangs in the center of the chapel and contains at least one of every bone in the human body.
In conclusion, the Kutná Hora Bone Church has a rich and varied history that spans centuries and includes a number of key events and figures. From its foundation in the 13th century to the present day, it has been a unique and fascinating destination that defies convention and continues to attract visitors from all over the world.
František Rint’s Contribution
One of the most striking aspects of the Kutná Hora Bone Church is its artistic decoration. The man responsible for the majority of the church’s bone-based design elements is František Rint, a woodcarver who was commissioned to create the decorations in 1870. Rint’s work is characterized by its intricate detail, with many of the bones used in the church’s chandelier, coat of arms, and other decorations being arranged in complex geometric patterns.
Symbolism and Decorations
The decorations in the Kutná Hora Bone Church are not just aesthetically pleasing; they also have symbolic significance. For example, the chandelier in the center of the church is made up of almost every bone in the human body, representing the universality of death. The coat of arms, which was commissioned by a noble family whose members were buried in the church, features a skull and crossbones, as well as other symbols of death and mortality.
Many of the church’s other decorations also have symbolic significance. The pyramid of bones in the center of the church is said to represent the transience of life, while the various bone-based sculptures and carvings throughout the church are meant to remind visitors of their own mortality.
Overall, the artistic aspects of the Kutná Hora Bone Church are an important part of its appeal. Whether visitors are drawn to the intricate detail of Rint’s work or the symbolism behind the church’s decorations, they are sure to be impressed by the Gothic masterpiece that is the Bone Church.
Visiting the Ossuary
Today, the Kutná Hora Bone Church, also known as the Sedlec Ossuary, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Czech Republic. As a World Heritage Site, it attracts visitors from all over the world who come to marvel at its macabre beauty. The church is located in the small town of Sedlec, which is just a short train ride from Prague. Visitors can take a train from Prague’s main train station to Kutná Hora and then catch a local train to Sedlec.
The church is open to the public every day of the year, with the exception of December 24th. The opening hours vary depending on the season, so visitors are advised to check the official website for details. Admission fees are reasonable, with discounted rates available for children, students, and seniors.
Impact on Local Tourism
The Kutná Hora Bone Church has had a significant impact on the local economy, with many businesses in the town relying on tourism for their livelihoods. There are several accommodation options available for visitors, ranging from budget hostels to luxury hotels. Restaurants and cafes in the town offer a range of cuisine to suit all tastes and budgets.
The church’s popularity has also led to the development of several other tourist attractions in the town, including the Gothic St. Barbara’s Church and the Italian Court, a former royal palace. Visitors can take guided tours of the town to learn more about its rich history and culture.
In conclusion, the Kutná Hora Bone Church is a fascinating and unique attraction that draws visitors from all over the world. Its impact on the local economy cannot be overstated, and it has helped to put the town of Sedlec on the map as a must-visit destination in Europe.
Last Updated on December 20, 2023 by Cool Rad Weird