Wednesday, 26 August 2015

The most haunting day trip from Prague: Kutna Hora

Kutna Hora, Czech Republic
There was only one reason we took the trip from Prague down to Kutna Hora, and that was to see Sedlec Ossuary. Hearing that the place of worship was filled with decorations comprising of the bones of over forty thousand dead, I started to refer to it as (spooky voice) the BOOOOONE CHURCH. 
The bone church! Apparently the showcase of remains are not a celebration of death, but meant to signify that all are equal under god. Signs commanding silence were ignored by the crowds inside, and I feel that a professional shusher should have been employed to put people back into line, Sistine Chapel style. There were alarms on some of the bars that would go off if photo takers got too close, but that didn't stop people throwing wishing coins into the eye sockets of the skulls.
Front and centre in the ossuary was the chandelier, which was created out of at least one of every bone in the human body. 
The story behind this disturbing place started with overcrowding. The Sedlec graveyard became a trendy place to be inhumed after a sprinkling of soil from the Holy Land was brought back by a local monk in 1278. The news spread fast and by the 1400's old bones had to be dug up and stacked in the newly built ossuary to make room for fresh corpses. A wood carver was hired by the Schwarzenbergs in 1870 to make use of them, and in my opinion he went a bit overboard with it. He even signed his name with bones and crafted the coat of arms of the Schwarzenberg family out of you-know-what. 
Driving south, we were grateful to have functioning air conditioning as the country was experiencing something of a heat wave. It seems that Czech cars may be unequipped for such weather, as several people were zooming along with their doors open. Southern Czech Republic was covered in crop land, and the freshly harvested fields were host to wind funnels that looked like tiny tornadoes kicking up the dusty earth. On the way to take the above photo, Yannick tripped on a banana peel and mistakenly thought he had been transported into a cartoon. 
Though I didn't have the nightmares I anticipated, the bone church at Kutna Hora would haunt my thoughts for weeks to come.