The Kutna Hora Bone Church

The bone church is located in Kutna Hora, a few miles outside of Prague, in the Czech Republic. Officially called the Sedlec Ossuary, it is often just referred to as “the bone church” and contains over 40,000 bones arranged to decorate this Roman Catholic Church.

In 1278, the church’s Abbot, Henry, went to the Holy Land. When he returned, he sprinkled some earth from the land around the church. This made the location “holy” and the cemetery in Sedlec became a popular burial site for those in Eastern Europe. After the Plague in the 14th century, thousands of people were buried here and the cemetery had to be enlarged.
Kutna HoraKutna Hora
Kutna Hora

Around 1400, a church was built in the center of the cemetery and the lower chapel was used as an ossuary for the mass graves unearthed during construction. According to legend, a blind monk began the process of stacking the bones in the chapel around 1511.

In 1870, František Rint, a woodcarver, was employed by the Schwarzenberg family, the landowners of the church, to put the piles order. They wanted of the impermanence of life and the inability to escape death.
Kutna HoraKutna Hora

As well as a chandelier, there are strings of skulls and bones hanging from the ceiling, a skull candelabra, a display case showing skulls with wounds inflicted by various medieval weapons, chalices that stand in alcoves, and Mr. Rint’s signature made out of finger bones.

The bone church is open 7 days a week year round, except on the 24th and 25th of December. Entry is 40kc for adults, 20 for students, and a photography permit is an extra 30kc.

Source: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

7 Comments for "The Kutna Hora Bone Church"

Eric says on July 29th, 2008 at 12:46 am:

Wow – I’d heard of this church before – that some people estimate the number of human bones it holds to be as high as 70,000. Let’s see… there are 206 bones in the human body, about half of which are found in the hands in and feet (of which I only saw 1 in the photos above)… so I guess that means this church is likely made up of the remains of at least 680 people? Gruesome thought…

John says on July 29th, 2008 at 4:43 am:

I can’t imagine the evil genius that put all of that together. Of all the mediums an ‘artist’ can choose from… bones…. Creepy…. but amazing!

tyler says on July 29th, 2008 at 5:42 pm:

it was 40,000 bodies not bones so the math comes out to be 8,240,000 bones!!

veja1 says on August 17th, 2008 at 2:53 am:

the article clearly says 40,000 BONES, not bodies. still eerie, though. i’m sure it’s something to see, but still…

Cristina says on August 27th, 2008 at 6:38 pm:

“40,000 dead ” – other sources actually state that so I’m guessing there’s a mistake in this post. I also heard of it before – on Travel Channel to be exact. Other sources state “the bones of 40,000 people”.

M says on October 8th, 2008 at 7:22 pm:

It’s bodies not bones…I’ve been there – it is very eerie….


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