Have you ever seen a place so bizarre, extraordinarily unique and mysterious as a chapel full of bones? Yes, bones, and they’re from humans! Such place really exists….it is in Kutna Hora, a town in the Czech Republic. We have been fortunate enough to visit this and I tell you, it was one of the most bizarre and eery places we have ever been to.
COMING TO KUTNA HORA
After a three-hour wonderful hike in Prachovske Skaly in the Bohemian Paradise which gave us those breathtaking views of the Prachovske Rocks, we drove 75 kilometers down to the south to Kutna Hora. Since it is on our way to Prague, we decided to stop here for a couple of days and also see the bone chapel I’ve read so much about. As I couldn’t find the exact address of the chapel, we first stopped at the wrong church. After asking for direction, we finally arrived at the town proper. We were able to find a parking area where we also stayed for overnight.
Campsite : Public Parking, Kutna Hora
28401 Kutna Hora
Coordinates : N: 49.94862 E: 15.26175
It is a rather small free public parking area located at Husova street, just about 1 kilometer to the town center and 500 meters to the Cathedral of St. Barbara. It was always full, and we had the luck that someone just left the parking when we arrived. There is also a free parking area in front of the Cathedral of the Ascencion of Our lady St. John The Baptist.
Parking at Cathedral of St. John the Baptist : Corner of Zamecka and U Zastavky
Coordinates : N: 49.9619011 E : 15.2883119
This is bigger than the one near the town center and also possible for overnight stay. We parked here when we visited the two monuments.
OUR VISIT TO THE BONE CHAPEL
Kutna Hora, which lies about 65 kilometers east of Prague, is also called the City of Silver because of its silver mining history. With its rich history and numerous architectural jewels , it is the only town in the Middle Bohemian Region that is listed in the UNESCO World Heritage List. One of these jewels is the Sedlec Ossuary, or simply the Bone Chapel.
The Bone Chapel, as it is popularly known, dates back from 14th century and is entirely decorated with human bones. The chapel which is found under the Church of All Saints in the area of Sedlec at the outskirts of Kutna Hora , contains bones of about 40,000 people who died from the plague that hit the area in 1318 and during the wars of Hussite in the 15th century. Originally buried at the church cemetery, the bones were exhumed and transferred to the chapel where they were compiled into special forms such as pyramids, bells, and chandeliers, chalices, and coat-of-arms, among others.
Walking around the bone chapel gave us a very different feeling. It was a mixture of awe, admiration, creepiness and curiosity. As we walked from one corner of the chapel to the other, we couldn’t help but wonder how it all began and what inspired the people to arrange the bones in this way. Though it was busy in the chapel, the tourists were respectful of the place, keeping their silence and paying homage to the souls of the dead. Because of the special air of creepiness, we couldn’t help but have a few goose bumps while looking at all those bones.
Entrance to the chapel was 70 crowns (Kr) per person. We bought a combi-ticket for the chapel and the nearby Cathedral of St. John which was 110 crowns for me and for Hans, 70 crowns!
CATHEDRAL VISIT IN KUTNA HORA
Kutna Hora has more to offer than the Bone Chapel. It has also two of the biggest and beautiful cathedrals in the country namely the Cathedral of Sta.Barbara which is located at the town center and the Cathedral of Assumption of Our Lady and St. John The Baptist which is in Sedlec.
1. Cathedral Of Sta. Barbara
The Cathedral of Sta. Barbara is a massive Gothic religious building whose construction lasted for about 500 years, from 1388 to 1905. Named after the patron saint of the miners, the cathedral is considered the most spectacular Gothic cathedral in the Czech Republic. The stained glass windows and frescoes depict religious scenes, ore trading, and medieval mining techniques. A statue of a miner with a lamp is to be found in the right side nave of the cathedral. Also impressive are the soaring spires which are already visible even from afar.
Glass-stained windows of the cathedral
Special features of the cathedral
Entrance to the cathedral was 70 crowns (Kr) per person.
2. Cathedral of Assumption of Our Lady and St.John the Baptist
Located just a couple of hundred meters from the Bone Chapel, the Cathedral of The assumption of Our Lady and St. John the Baptist, is a Gothicand Baroque Catholic church which is also listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This building is one of the oldest in Kutna Hora, together with the Bone Chapel. It was built in the shape of a Latin cross and is the largest religious building in Bohemia. Found inside the cathedral are relics of two saints, Sts. Felix and Vincent. It has a magnificent nave, altar and organ. A stair at the left side of the altar brings one to a kind of attic which has access to the balcony which offers a very nice view of the cathedral’s nave.
Inside of the Cathedral