Saturday, April 28, 2012

Kutna Hora and the Bone Church

As part of our trek into the Czech Republic we took a day and went to see the old city of Kutna Hora.  Its famous mostly for the old Bone Church that stands in its center.

The story goes that in the 13th century, Jindřich, the abbot of Sedlec monastery, returned from a visit to Palestine with a pocketful of soil and sprinkled it on the cemetery surrounding the Chapel of All Saints.

This direct association with the holy land led to the graveyard becoming a sought after burial site among the aristocracy of Central Europe. At the time of the thirty years’ war in the 17th century, the number of burials outgrew the space available, the older remains began to be exhumed and stored in the chapel, and it’s estimated that the chapel now contains the bones of up to 40,000 people.

Urban myth has it that a monk went mad and made things from the bones, and there are stories to suggest that partially blind monks entrusted with the care of the ch
apel were the first to begin piling the bones into geometric shapes. (Find out more here.)

The church was pretty cool.  This is actually the second ossuary that I've seen in my time.  The first was a church located just off the main Duomo square in Milan.  It was pretty creepy...and this one was too.

Wanna see?

This is the All Saints Church. The ossuary is in the basement and there is a small worship chapel on the top floor. Is a beautiful church and a graveyard surrounds it.

This is one of the gravestones I found particularly enchanting. I loved the ivy covering it...

And welcome to the entrance inside the Bone Church...pillars of bones, macabre wall drapings and a bone chandelier. Creepy, eh?

More bones piled in geometric shapes...

The two girls who thought the place was pretty weird...

And this little statue I found particularly disturbing...It just looks a little "chucky" to me.

And a few of the "designer bone statues" made by the monks...

John and I enjoying our little foray into the macabre...

Bella too!

People would throw coins into the pile of bones...I'm guessing kind of like a wishing well???

When we left the bone church we took a little walk down to the Cathedral of the Assumption Our Lady and St. John the Baptist. (Say that 5 times fast!) It was closed so they all did a Nacho Libre pose for me.

This is not ALL Kutna Hora had to offer...but I'm saving that for the second blog on this beautiful city...


Love is all you need said...

So amazing! Those girls are so lucky to have that amazing experience. Love your blog!

The Hannant Family said...

That's crazy. I think it's a little creepy too, but would have loved to see it. As for the chucky statue, I agree that it's disturbing. the head looks too large and old for the chubby baby body.

Again amazing experiences.