Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Sedlec Ossuary, Czech Republic

The last big trip I took my brothers on was to the Czech Republic. The main point was Prague! When I was planning out their trip here I mentioned a church near Prague that was made out of Bones. My first thought was HELL NO, a church with bones for decoration? It sounds creepy, and no way would I want to go. But then after thinking about it, my brothers decided that we should go to it. One of my brothers had heard about it back in the states. Because we were going to be so close, we decided to head to the Ossuary, since they weren't sure they would ever get the opportunity to come back to Europe.
The Ossuary is located about an hour east of Prague. Usually it would only take 2.5 hours to get to Prague, but once in Prague we were stuck in traffic for an hour! So it took us almost 5 hours to get there! 
We ended up parking next to the Sedlec Cathedral, the cathedral was built in the High Gothic style and was the most magnificent church in the Kingdom of Bohemia. But we weren't there to see the church. It was still pretty impressive from the outside.

We walked up the road to see the Sedlec Ossuary. The Ossuary is a small Roman Catholic chapel, in Sedlec, a suburb of Kutná Hora in the Czech Republic. It costs 4 Euros to get in (or whatever the exchange rate is, since the Czech Republic has it's own currency) It is one of twelve World Heritage Sites in the Czech Republic.

The ossuary is estimated to contain the skeletons of between 40,000 and 70,000 people, whose bones have in many cases been artistically arranged to form decorations and furnishings for the chapel. Four enormous bell-shaped mounds occupy the corners of the chapel. An enormous chandelier of bones, which contains at least one of every bone in the human body, hangs from the center of the nave with garlands of skulls draping the vault. Other works include piers and monstrances flanking the altar, a coat of arms of House of Schwarzenberg, and the signature of Rint, also executed in bone, on the wall near the entrance.

 The story behind the Ossuary is that "In 1278, Henry, the abbot of the Cistercian monastery in Sedlec, was sent to the Holy Land by King Otakar II of Bohemia. He returned with him a small amount of earth he had removed from Golgotha and sprinkled it over the abbey cemetery. The word of this pious act soon spread and the cemetery in Sedlec became a desirable burial site throughout Central Europe." Pretty interesting. I guess people wanted to be burred near the Holy Land.
This place is pretty interesting. Creepy, but interesting.

The Sedlec Ossuary is an hour out side of Prague. Honestly, as creepy as I thought it was, I think it was worth it to visit if you're ever in the Czech Republic/Prague area. Maybe when Drew gets back we'll go back so he can see it for himself.