A Day With the Dead: Sedlec Ossuary and Melnik Bone Chapel

A road trip in Czechia lead to a rather morbid day. Prague itself has a macabre taste with dangerous looking tower spires and haunting cemeteries at every turn. The UNESCO recognized city of Kutna Hora is about 75km outside of Prague. What peaked my interest about Kutna Hora was the Sedlec Ossuary or The Bone Church. You can’t visit Czechia and miss The Bone Church! The legend or history, what have you of Sedlec Ossuary states that over 40,000 bodies were buried on the property following plague and wars in the 15th century. To manage the property in the 16th century nearly all bodies were exhumed and stored in the lower chapel of Sedlec. Here a monk who was possibly insane, erected pyramids and stacked bones to create his vision. The Skeletal art is nothing I have ever been exposed to. I suppose the Mutter Museum in Philly would be the second strangest collection I have ever visited. Sedlec Ossuary quickly taking a seat in first place. The smallish chapel was damp and musty but, it was difficult to feel the full effect due to a chatty tour group. As they filed out the chapel became silent. The doors shut and there was nothing but whispers from the remaining travelers.

 

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 I took as stroll around the church which due to structural issues was undergoing full reconstruction. There was a deep trench surrounding the church as architects were tending to the foundation. The structure to the underground chapel was visible. There was something that gave me the willies in broad day light. The sun was shining on a warm spring day and the birds were chirping happily but, I had goosebumps. In the trenches, more skeletons were visible. Un-exhumed, layers of skulls, rib bones, arms and legs. Layers and layers. Which means I was standing on countless numbers of bodies…
Sedlec Ossuary and Melnik Bone Church - Czech Republic
If one Ossuary wasn’t enough. I decided to head north to a town called Melnik where there is another chapel of bones. It also happens to be a damn fine wine region! A plague in the 1520’s demanded a place for the dead. A crypt below St. Peter and Paul’s church is the resting place of roughly 10,000 people. The crypt was bricked up for hygienic reasons in 1780 and the deceased laid undisturbed for a century. In 1913 it was reopened by an anthropologist and he conducted research. Unfortunately, photos are strictly prohibited. I wasn’t about to be haunted by 10,000 plague victims so, I didn’t risk sneaking a shot. However, the chamber has some key features. As you walk through the entrance you are surrounded by a wall of skulls and bones at least six foot tall. Within the walls, you can find a heart, cross, and anchor designed in skulls. Another fact: any skull facing inward to the wall was identified as a person of German decent – according to anthropologists.

 

Sedlec Ossuary and Melnik Bone Church - Czech RepublicDSCN1434Sedlec Ossuary and Melnik Bone Church - Czech Republic

What are the creepiest places you have visited? I do enjoy a good ghost story.

Your Cobweb Clearer, Kate
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Sedlec Ossuary and Melnik Bone Church - Czech Republic

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14 thoughts on “A Day With the Dead: Sedlec Ossuary and Melnik Bone Chapel

    1. Its a little overwhelming to be in the presence of all those bones. Wine is always a good alternative!!

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  1. Oh my gosh, this place sounds so creepy, but in an interesting way. I am going to the catacombs in Italy this summer. I’m really excited to see it, but a little creeped out at the same time. Great and unique post.

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    1. I think it’s a mix of claustrophobia (as you are underground) and the lore behind it that gives a really good adrenaline kick. I’d love to visit the catacombs!

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  2. Definitely a bit more on the creepy side, but so neat all at the same time! I enjoy exploring historic places that has a bit of a creepy background. We did a haunted history tour in Savannah and really enjoyed it.

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  3. I’ve been only to Prague, and to be honest need heard of this city.
    Being a UNESCO site, for sure it’s interesting.
    I’m glad you made it 😉
    I haven’t been to creepy places yet though.
    Safe travels!

    Liked by 1 person

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