The Bone Church of Sedlec: A Freakish Beauty!

While many places around the world are becoming more and more similar to each other – strange places fascinate and stick out even more.

I love visiting strange places because I always feel like I learn something from them, and one of the places I’ve wanted to visit ever since I heard about it was the Sedlec Oussary close to Prague.

Located in a small town called Kutna Hora in Czech Republic, the Sedlec Oussary is perhaps the creepiest place I’ve ever come across.

Beneath the Cemetery Church of All Saints, skeleton bones from 40,000 – 70,000 people are artistically arranged in the most incredible formations, adorning the inside of the church in various decorative ways, from lanterns in the corners to long festoons hanging from the ceilings.

Walking down the steps to the center of the room, a huge chandelier containing every bone in the human body hangs above your head.

The most impressive art-work was the Schwarzenberg coat-of-arms, where a bird made out of bones is picking on a skull resting on shoulders (that are actually the hip-bones).

Freaky? Yes. Creepy? Definitely. But nobody can deny that it’s also beautiful.

The bones were once stacked by a half-blind monk in the 16th century, but in 1870 a woodcarver was employed by the Schwarzenberg family to put the bone heaps into order, yielding this freakishly beautiful result.

In today’s modern west when death is becoming something increasingly unfamiliar and distant to people, the Oussary was a great reminder for me how fragile we are and how short our time on earth is.

What’s one of the strangest places you have ever been?

25 Responses to The Bone Church of Sedlec: A Freakish Beauty!

  1. OCDemon April 21, 2013 at 8:53 am #

    This was one of my must-sees until I woke up every morning in Prague in an alcohol-induced state of physical decay. Lesson learned: Never bet on your ability to take a day trip from Prague.

    • Sofia April 22, 2013 at 3:11 pm #

      Haha yeah I guess that’s a pretty common thing to happen in Prague! Maybe next time eh ;)

  2. Becky Padmore April 21, 2013 at 1:09 pm #

    Oh this place looks so creepy (but interesting too!)

    • Sofia April 22, 2013 at 3:12 pm #

      It’s pretty creepy indeed, but yes very interesting at the same time and definitely worth a visit.

  3. Julika April 21, 2013 at 7:10 pm #

    This church looks amazing! I’m sad I missed this when I was in Prague last year. I visited similar chapels Évora, Portugal, and in Rome though — and I must say, I have developed a thing for the quirky beauty of “bone art”!

    • Sofia April 22, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

      It’s really beautiful, and as you said you have a thing for quirky bone art you just have to check this place out next time you visit Czech Republic!

  4. Lori April 21, 2013 at 8:46 pm #

    I’ll be in Brno in two weeks, and I admit that this ossuary is on my list of places to see, if I have the time. I saw an ossuary in my country – a memorial from World War :)

    • Sofia April 22, 2013 at 3:17 pm #

      It’s a little further to travel from Brno, but if you have the time I would recommend a day trip there, and train tickets are also pretty cheap in Czech Republic.

  5. Lance April 23, 2013 at 4:42 am #

    We just went to Kutna Hora and absolutely loved it! We almost didn’t do it, but it was a wonderful day-trip from Prague. Love your photos!

    • Sofia April 25, 2013 at 8:31 pm #

      Thanks Lance! Yeah many people don’t realize how easy it is to get there, great to hear you took the trip.

  6. Nicole | The Wondernuts April 23, 2013 at 6:56 am #

    I was thinking back about strange places we’ve visited. I can’t think of any, because it’s always “fascinating,” “marvelous” or “awesome.” But, from the photos, I do find this place to be absolutely amazing and a somber reminder of life and death. We will definitely have to visit.

    • Sofia April 25, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

      I agree, this place was both amazing and strange at the same time, and a reminder of our short time on earth.

  7. Leah April 23, 2013 at 2:45 am #

    I’m so going here when I return to the Czech Republic. So cool!

    • Sofia April 25, 2013 at 8:30 pm #

      Great to hear, it’s a really cool place :)

  8. Mary {The World Is A Book} April 23, 2013 at 9:14 am #

    I’ve always wanted to visit this place. We’ll be in Prague this summer and this is slated for a day trip. Thanks for the preview of this creepy, yet amazing, place. I had my reservations about taking my kids but they may just be intrigued and we’ll just have to cross our fingers for no nightmares. It will certainly be an unforgettable trip. Beautiful photos of the details.

    • Sofia April 25, 2013 at 8:36 pm #

      Hi Mary, I think it would make for a great day trip, even with kids!

  9. Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista April 23, 2013 at 11:07 pm #

    I’ve heard of this bone church but have yet to visit! After seeing your pictures, I know I definitely need to visit. Very unique and interesting!

    • Sofia April 25, 2013 at 8:37 pm #

      It’s unique indeed, I’ve never seen anything like it before and definitely recommend it!

  10. Alexis Marlons April 24, 2013 at 6:02 pm #

    This place is indeed creepy. I am not sure if I could stand long being in this place. I just got that phobia with human bones and skulls.

    • Sofia April 25, 2013 at 8:38 pm #

      If you have phobia with human bones and skulls this place is probably not for you – or perhaps the opposite, maybe it would actually help? ;)

  11. cosmoHallitan April 26, 2013 at 4:25 am #

    I was in Prague a few years ago but never made it out to this wonderfully creepy sight. I’ve since seen an ossuary in Portugal that has made me even more eager to get to Sedlec on my next trip to the CR.

    • Sofia May 2, 2013 at 6:50 am #

      There are some very interesting Oussaries around Euope, if you enojoyed the one in Portugal I think you’ll love this one :)

  12. Mihai May 1, 2013 at 2:19 pm #

    The ossuary is not creepy and is not that beautiful. It is special, it is a world heritage site and it is next to Kutna Hora a really beautiful old city, former capital and all that. What I am saying is that we made the day trip and enjoyed it but we should have probably planned an overnight trip

    • Sofia May 2, 2013 at 8:23 am #

      Personally I think it’s a very beautiful and at the same time creepy place. Glad to hear you enjoyed Kutna Hora’s old town!

  13. Isabella May 24, 2013 at 3:06 pm #

    Definitely on my to-visit-list when I go to Prague this summer! What’s the easiest way to get there in your opinion? Bus or train?