an hour or so drive outside of Prague is a small village named Kutná Hora. and in that village is a World Heritage Site piled high with bones of the dead: the Sedlec Ossuary. this "bone chapel" is one of the more famous places in the Czech Republic - and seemed like perfect material for a blog post just before Halloween, don't you think?
[I may or may not be listening to "Thriller" on repeat to get in the mood while I write this.]
it might seem a bit macabre, with more than 40,000 skeletons located in the chapel. but it all started with religion. once upon a time, someone brought a jar of soil back to Bohemia from the Holy Lands. devout Catholics wanted to be buried in the cemetery containing this soil. a LOT of them. so many that they ran out of land, and had to store most of the bones in the ossuary under the actual chapel.
a few hundred years passed, and someone decided that the bones needed to be organized. they hired a woodcarver to do it, and he got a bit creative with his rearranging. sadly, the gigantic chandelier of bones was removed for restoration while we visited. but there were still some unique features - my favorite being the recreation of the Schwarzenberg coat of arms. on the bottom right is the depiction of a raven "plucking out the eye of a Turk."
gruesome, yes. but given that our two other destinations on the trip were Austria and Turkey it was oddly appropriate in that hey-this-is-all-connected kind of way.
our next stop in Kutná Hora was Saint Barbara's Cathedral. [doesn't it look a bit like the castle from Beauty and the Beast? maybe?] to be honest, I missed a lot of the history our guide relayed because I was too busy staring up at the cieling. but I did also find the treasure chest collection box and the pagan Green Man carved pews quite interesting.
our next stop was lunch. there's a traditional Czech restaurant in the village - the rest of our group seemed to enjoy it but there wasn't much for me and my allergies to eat. there WAS some delicious Moravian wine though...
afterwards, we walked through the village and back to our bus. the weather was beautiful - bright blue skies and cool enough for shorts with a light jacket. seeing as it's currently 93 F in Taiwan I'm just going to pretend that I'm back in Kutná Hora with more October-approproate weather.
[FYI we booked a tour with Sandemans to travel out to Kutná Hora for the day, though you could make the trip yourself with a rental car or some planning. we were just lazy.]
so there's your half-creepy whirlwind tour of Kutná Hora! have you ever visited an ossuary before? I think it would be fun to tour someplace like this around Halloween. do you have any "creepy" plans for the weekend?