The Bone Church: Sedlec Ossuary

At one point during the way too short Visual Storytelling class I was taking I showed off some of my logo work including a picture of the logo I did for the band Defy the Relic. I mentioned that my friend who was in the band wanted some elements from pictures that I took from my trip to Prague some years earlier, more specifically, The Bone Church.

The Sedlec Ossuary is a church that sits east of Prague in Kutna Hora, Czech Republic. I took a side trip to Prague to visit an old girlfriend when I was in London at a Hi-Fi show for work many, many years ago. While I absolutely loved the city of Prague it was the day trip to this ossuary that really stands out in my mind today.

The church is fairly normal looking from the outside aside from the skulls sculpted into the outer walls. Once you go in though, you are completely awestruck by the macabre decor made from the remains of 40,000 human skeletons. Those 40,000 souls had all wished to be buried at this site as it was considered a holy place.

In the 1200’s the Bohemian king sent the Abbot of Sedlac to the Holy Land to bring back some soil from Golgotha where Christ was crucified. The holy soil was spread and everyone wanted to have their own remains buried at this site. Then, the Black Death hit and the bones piled up. After a while the cemetery needed expanding and in the 1500’s a small cathedral was built with the basement used as storage. Later, in the 1800’s, someone decided to do a little redecorating and a woodcarver named Fred was given the grim task of rearranging all of these bones with the presentation we see today. 

The slideshow and gallery below are worth waiting a few seconds for…

 

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