Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sedlec Ossuary "Church of Bones", Kutná Hora

Pictures were taken in November 2008

A brief history of the Sedlec Ossuary Bone Church,

In 1278, the abbot of the Cistercian monastery in Sedlec, henry was sent to the Holy Land on a pilgrimage by King of Bohemia. He brought back a hand full of earth and sprinkled it over the abbey cemetery, turning it into a sacred ground.

The word of his act soon spread and the Cemetery became a popular and desirable burial ground throughout Central Europe. The Black Death in the 14th century and Hussite Wars in the 15th century brought about thousands burials in the cemetery and the cemetery had to be greatly enlarged.

Around 1400 a Gothic church was built in the center of the cemetery to be used as an ossuary for the mass graves unearthed during construction, or simply slated for demolition to make room for new burials. After 1511 the task of exhuming skeletons and stacking their bones in the chapel was, according to legend, given to a half-blind monk of the order.

And finally In 1870, František Rint, a local woodcarver, was employed by the Schwarzenberg family to put the bone heaps into order. The macabre result of his effort speaks for itself.

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