Czech Republic

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  • Day5

    Dem Bones, Dem Bones...The Bone Chapel

    January 18, 2017 in Czech Republic ⋅ 🌙 -12 °C

    Tuesday we traveled to Kuńta Hora to visit the Kostnice Seldec, also known as the Bone Church. It is said that the abbott of the Seldec monastery brought back soil from Palestine to this chapel in the 13th century. He then sprinkled the Holy Land soil all around the cemetery of this little church, making it the most sought after burial ground for all of Central Europe's aristocracy. After the Thirty Years War, they ran out of room to bury ppl so they exhumed those who had been buried there the longest and began piling them in the church to make room for the newly dead. They estimate there are about 40,000 different people's bones used in the church today.

    In about 1840, the family that owned the land at the time, the Schwarzenburgs, hired a woodcarver named F. Rink to create sculptures out of the bones to decorate the chapel and remind us all of the impermanence of life and that death is inescapable. Real cheery, isn't it?

    This is one of the 12 World Heritage ENESCO sites in the Czech Republic and it was fascinating to see and experience first hand. The chapel is still a part of the Roman Catholic Church, although I do not believe they hold Mass or any other church ceremony there anymore.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Sedlec, Sedletz, Седлец, Седліце