Also known as the home of the infamous bone church. We spent 2 hours getting there, but only 10 minutes actually being there. There’s something strangely peculiar about Kutná Hora – and while intriguing – I might not head back.
In 1278, Henry, the abbot of the Cistercian monastery in Sedlec, was sent to the Holy Land by King Otakar II of Bohemia. He returned with him a small amount of earth he had removed from Golgotha and sprinkled it over the abbey cemetery. The word of this pious act soon spread and the cemetery in Sedlec became a desirable burial site throughout Central Europe. In the mid 14th century, during the Black Death, and after the Hussite Wars in the early 15th century, many thousands were buried in the abbey cemetery, so it had to be greatly enlarged.
The Sedlec Ossuary is located in Sedlec, a suburb of Kutna Hora. We honestly had a rather difficult time getting there. First we had to take the metro to a really far-out place in Prague. Then, we had to catch a bus that took us from Prague to Kutna Hora. It was an hour-and-a-half long bus ride, and it was horrendous. People were blatantly staring at us up and down, presumably because we were Asian. To make matters more unnerving, some of these stares were neither curious nor friendly…
Shirlynn had also accidentally knocked (brushed?) against an elderly woman lightly while she was trying to pass her. This woman went “TSK” in a very rude and obnoxious manner, and then reached over to smack Shirlynn’s leg. Whaaaaaat. She kept glaring at Shirlynn throughout the entire bus ride after that. I thought we wouldn’t be able to make it out of that bus alive.
Well, we finally made it to the main bus station in Kutna Hora, and boy, was the town empty. There was but one supermarket within sight, and no more than 5 people in the area. Mind, we were at the town’s main bus station.
Around 1400, a Gothic church was built in the center of the cemetery with a vaulted upper level and a lower chapel 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 given to a half-blind monk of the order. In 1870, František Rint, a woodcarver, was employed by the Schwarzenberg family to put the bone heaps into order, yielding a macabre result.
Initially, we had foolishly thought that the Bone Chapel would be relatively easy to find (it’s about the only thing we knew about Kutna Hora), but there was NOTHING there. We had no data, and didn’t know where to go.
And no one spoke English 😦 We asked an old lady for directions, and she could only gesture at the bus station while sighing and shaking her head. We later came to realize that she was asking us to take another bus. Before we came to that realization however, we had decided to walk in the opposite direction (and walk very far we did), before we gave up and tried our luck again with a younger girl, who looked about our age.
I cannot express the RELIEF we felt when she replied in English!! Thank the Heavens almighty!!!! But, she told us to go back down to the bus station, and catch another bus ._.
When we FINALLY got to the Bone Chapel… we weren’t all that impressed. Unbelievable and breath-taking it was, the chapel was a tad small and seemed a little overrated. Also, the ossuary was where we saw more than life than in the rest of the dead town, ironically. Hur hur.
Okay, bad joke. I’ll stop.
We left after 10 minutes of touring and picture-taking.
Tried to take some photos because we had nothing to do in Kutna Hora. Jiawen threw her cap down at me while Shirlynn was snapping a picture, and there you go – a weird pink object floating in the middle of my photo haha!! And the face I made when the two of them started laughing at me o_o
Thank God I have the two of them – I don’t know how I would have been alright in Kutna Hora without company (there really was something rather eerie about what felt like a semi-abandoned town…)
It was fun being with my two girls, but otherwise, Kutna Hora made for a rather disappointing trip. Still though, I’m grateful I got to visit it and see a little bit more of the world outside 🙂
You know a town is empty when there’s only three Asian girls at the bus station making noise.