Church of Sedlec with Bones in Kutna Hora
There is a church in the interior of Kutna Hora that will surprise you. This church was built a little differently from the other churches. The interior decoration of Sedlec Church is completely designed with real human bones.
According to the legend, in the 13th century, King Otakar of Bohemia sent Henry, the abbot of the time, to the holy land of Jerusalem. On his way back from Jerusalem, Henry brought some soil with him and sprinkled it on the site where the church stands today. The presence of the holy land sanctified the site of the church over time and it became a place where people especially wanted to be buried. Thousands of people who lost their lives due to the spread of cholera were buried here in Sedlec. In the 15th century, a naive church was built in the cemetery.
The demand for the supposedly sacred soil in the churchyard became so great that there was no more space for the burial of the dead. So the suggestion was made to exhume the bones of those who had already been buried and thus free up space. When this idea was implemented, the bones of more than 40,000 people were unearthed.
Sedlec Church was renovated in the 18th century to make it larger and more baroque in style. The owner of the church, the Duke of Schwarzenberg, wanted the interior decoration to consist entirely of these bones and the church took its current form. Although it is called Sedlec Church, it has become popular with visitors as the Bone Church.
You can also see the cemetery in the garden of Sedlec Church by taking a tour around the church. Each grave is very well maintained and each one is decorated with flowers.
To enter the building, we get the ticket at the gate and go inside. In the meantime, they give information papers to the visitors. Moreover, there is information in Turkish text among them. Although we are surprised by this, we forget what is what when we enter the church.
We have already mentioned that everything inside the church is made of bones. The huge coat of arms of the Schwarzenberg family is among the decorations made of bones. Moreover, on the lower right side of the coat of arms, a crow is taking care of the eyes of the skull, in other words, carving out the eyes. It is said to represent the prince’s victory in the Battle of Raab against the Turks. In 1594, the Ottoman Army embarked on a campaign against Wallachia, Austria and captured Raab Castle. However, a few years later, the Schwarzenberg family recaptured the castle in a treaty and engraved the victory on their coat of arms.
In a few of the rooms in the churches there are pyramidal structures. These structures consisting only of bones are kept in a cage so that they cannot be entered. The most important feature of the overlapping bones is that they are not connected to each other in any way.
The altar area, sculptures and ceiling decorations in the interior decoration of the church are made entirely of bones. There is a large chandelier in the center of the chapel. The area under the chandelier, which was prepared by using the bones of the human body, is a place where the bones of 15 prominent people of Kutno Hora are kept, a kind of mausoleum.
As you leave the Church of Bones, don’t miss the name of the architect of the building and the date of its construction, along with the architect’s signature. Even this place is made of bones.
To get to the Bone Church, you must first get off at Kutna Hora – Sedlec train station. When you get off at this stop, there is only one road. If you follow the road without deviating in any direction, you will see the bone church after 500 meters. The signs will also help you.