I can’t help but look back on my travels throughout Europe this year and think about my trip to Kutna Hora, Czech Republic, where I saw “The Bone Church.” I can’t get this trip out of my mind. Though I am visually haunted by it, it’s more of a bewilderment or awe. Ever since I have heard about this place through the grapevine, I’ve kind of been obsessed. Where can you visit a church where the interior is entirely made up of over 40,000 real human remains? Surely this must be a hoax as who would want to desecrate the human form by using it as a decoration? But the reason is deeper than that. The site of the church was revered as Holy ground as the abbot, Henry, sprinkled sacred soil from Golgotha in the 1200’s. As a result, it was a prime burial destination for many in the Czech Republic. Centuries later, when the Black Plague left its toll, there was an overwhelming amount of bodies to be buried in the cemetery surrounding the church. But the actual construction and placement of bones in the church didn’t happen until 1870. Decorating with human remains was a morbid yet practical way to furnish the inside of the church.
It is a simply stunning place to visit. For some, it is a challenge to even cross the threshold. Being inside the church which is surprisingly small is worth the trip to the small town. One can’t deny the feelings of awe and shock as you look overhead to see an entire chandelier created out of almost every bone in the human body. Rows of skulls surround the center of the church and piled high are remains that serve no other purpose than to be a place of rest for those long deceased. There is even a family crest made out of bones from a family that once owned the church. Outside, you can wander the graveyard of the well maintained cemetery, every now and then finding a rogue and rusted cross leaning up against the cemetery gates.
Why has this trip inspired me and made me grateful? We don’t like to think of what will happen to our physical bodies when we pass away. “The Bone Church” or Sedlec Ossuary has now become a hidden travel destination for those who need to quite literally “see it to believe it.” I am grateful for this place because it is a macabre and in some ways humorous reminder that we are all human, we die, and our bodies go on without us. It is a chilling token of mortality that many try to get out of their heads, but we must confront ourselves with at some point. It has been a great experience for me and one that is unique to my travels in Europe.
This will be one trip that you won’t forget and it will be sure to haunt your memory for years to come. Would you visit the “The Bone Church?”
About the Author: Brittany Ruth began her blog, TheRococoRoamer.blogspot.com to keep friends and family in touch while she moved overseas to Germany as a newlywed. Quickly she discovered that she really enjoyed blogging and began to incorporate posts about her love for antique and flea market traveling all around Europe. She also writes about the occasional DIY project and DIY inspiration. She has a passion for travel and plans to visit as many countries in Europe as she can. She loves to help others plan their trips and discover new places. She is also working full-time while in Germany and attending grad school.