Sedlec Ossuary

While in the Czech Republic a few years ago I visited Sedlec Ossuary. Not for the faint of heart, this building contains the bones of over 50,000 people. Located in Kutna Hora, an hour from Prague, it receives over 200,000 tourists a year.

An abbot of the Sedlec Monastery was sent to the Holy land in 1278. He obtained dirt from the land were Jesus Christ was crucified. The earth was then scattered over the abbey’s cemetery. The sacredness of the cemetery increased demand for its plots. The construction of the church in 1400 revealed mass graves from decades of war and disease. Because of this, the church was divided into a upper level chapel and lower level ossuary to store the thousands of bones. In the early 1700s, a new entrance was built and the chapel redesigned by Jan Santini Aichel. The Schwarzenberg family contracted Frantisek Rint in 1870 to assemble the bones into various piles and structures.

Frantisek Rint’s signature in bone.

Schwarzenberg coat-of-arms

 

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