Are you ready to visit a chapel decorated with the bones of 40,000+ human bodies? The Sedlec Ossuary (Bone Church) near Prague in Kutná Hora, Czech Republic is not your typical day trip. AT ALL. It’s probably one of the most unique things we’ve ever seen during our travels.
I first learned about this church while searching for things to do in Prague on Pinterest. I was intrigued by the idea of visiting such an extraordinary work of art and decided to add it to our itinerary.
Kutna Hora’s bone church is about 75 miles outside of Prague. You can drive from Prague to Kutna Hora in 1.5 hours or take or 1 hour by train. Once you arrive you’ll still need to walk for about half a mile to reach the Sedlec Ossuary. We chose the train route. The journey can be a little tricky, but the directions I found HERE were very helpful. We spent a few hours visiting the bone church and a little bit of the town before heading back to Prague for the evening. You don’t need more than half a day for this day trip.
The outside looks like a normal small chapel, but once we went inside we quickly realized that the tricky train ride to get there was worth it! Let’s be honest, how many times do people actually get to see a bone church with their own eyes? It certainly makes for a unique Prague experience.
It was fascinating to see all the creative designs made with all the skulls and human bones. So much thought went into the wall art, skull chandelier, even down to the candle holders — it almost seemed like this chapel of bones was dressed for a celebration.
So how did these bones end up in a small Roman Catholic chapel in the Czech Republic? It all started in the 13th century when the abbot of the Sedlec Monastery was sent to Jerusalem. He brought back a jar of “holy soil” and scattered it across the Sedlec cemetery.
Of course, it became one of the most desired burial sites for people all over the country, and even in the surrounding countries. Everyone wanted a part of the holy land, but not everyone was able to fit.
To make room for the newly dead, they built a chapel near the cemetery and stored the old bones in its basement that was used as an ossuary.
The bones stayed there for centuries. In 1870, a talented woodcarver named František Rint was given the unusual task of creating something beautiful with the bones. The result was the amazing Sedlec Ossuary we get to visit today. As you can see below, he signed his name on the wall with, you guessed it, bones.
What do you say, will you add the Kutna Hora bone church to your bucket list?