Today, Peter and I made the haul from Prague to Kutna Hora to visit the Sedlec Ossuary (aka Bone Church, Church of Bones). Ossuary is defined as “a container or room into which the bones of dead people are placed.” The Sedlec Ossuary is a small chapel located in the town of Sedlec which is in the suburbs of Kutna Hora. The chapel is estimated to contain between 40,000 and 70,000 skeletons, most of which are arranged in a “decorative” form. I was excited to visit the Sedlec Ossuary because I thought it would be unique and cool. It was smelly and disturbing.
Travel time was about an hour from Prague to Kutna Hora via train. The train was unlike the trains of England or any other train I’ve been on before. The train coach interiors were filled with separate cabins instead of being open with rows of seats. There was a long corridor that ran the length of the coach with sliding doors that provided entry to the individual cabins.
Each cabin had two bench seats and allowed occupancy for up to eight people. There was a curtain on the sliding door that could be closed so that people passing through the corridor would not be able to see into the cabin. The curtain was dirty and the train felt old. As far as my nose could tell, smoking was not permitted on the train although I am sure it was at one time not too long ago.
We walked 10 minutes from the main train station in Kutna Hora down a deserted street and past the Philip Morris cigarette factory to finally arrive at the Sedlec Ossuary.
We were greeted at the Sedlec Ossuary by a cheesy “skull and bones” design in the granite sidewalk.
We paid the small admission fee (60 Czech Koruna, ~$3.25) and descended down the stairs and into the “belly” of the chapel. The smell was overwhelming – musty and dusty. The space was filled with spider webs. I understand the complex undertaking of dusting 40,000+ skeletons but wow.
We spent a little over 15 minutes in the chapel which was more than enough time to take it all in. I took photos and tried to keep a neutral facial expression but the bones were creepy and the fact that they were used as decorations was more creepy.
Outside of the chapel was a small cemetery with overgrown landscaping.
I left the chapel feeling disturbed and upset that we essentially spent half of a day to visit the chapel. I do not understand how the Sedlec Ossuary made The Travel List Challenge – 100 Places to Visit Before You Die list.
While walking back to the train station, Peter noticed the street sign below and quickly named it, “Only men wearing hats may cross here.” Since I’m not a man and Peter wasn’t wearing a hat, we were forced to jaywalk.
In other funny signage news, here are a couple more to enjoy!
In conclusion, the Sedlec Ossuary goes down as one of the worst tourist attractions on Earth (that I’ve visited) right behind the Book of Kells.