Church of Bones

Church of Bones – Sedlec Ossuary

Skulls and bones

You may wonder how all these bones ended up being craved in a small chapel located in the Czech Republic. It goes back to 1278 when the King of Bohemia sent the abbot of the Sedlec Cistercian Monastery to Jerusalem.

When the abbot returned, he brought a jar of soil from the Golgotha, known as the “Holy Soil.” Soon people from all over the place desired to be buried in Sedlec. Thus, the cemetery there had to be expanded.

In the 15th century, a Gothic church was built near the cemetery, and its basement was used as an ossuary. The bones stayed there for centuries till 1870, when a woodcarver named Frantisek Rint was appointed to place the bones in order. The result was impressively shocking.

One of the fascinating artistic works inside the Sedlec Ossuary is the big chandelier of bones in the center of the Church of Bones. The immense chandelier contains at least one of every human bone. Another impressive artwork is the coat of arms of the Schwarzenberg family, which is also made of human bones. While there are other macabre places to visit in Europe, like the Paris Catacombe, the Sedlec Ossuary is unique.

Finally, the Sedlec Ossuary may seem dreadful, but while visiting it, you will most likely not find it scary but peaceful. Those 40.000 dead people wished to be buried in a holy place, that is why they went to Sedlec in the first place, and now their bones are right in the middle of the chapel.