Thursday, December 2, 2010

Kutna Hora

Kutna Hora is a city in the Czech Republic with roots that go back to the medieval times when it was the second most important city in the Czech Republic (though obviously it wasn't the Czech Republic back then) due to it's rich silver mines.

Today the town is a tourist attraction, mainly for the Sedlec Ossuary, the Bone Chapel, and St. Barbara Church - a beautiful church both on the outside and inside. For me the draw was to see this Bone Chapel. I originally heard of it while I was traveling in Asia. I met an American going around the world. He told me if I ever get the chance to go to the Czech Republic don't miss the Bone Chapel, it was a Church where all the decorations inside are made of human bones! Cooooooool! Ok, it's probably pretty gross to some people, or creepy, but it's definitely unique. I had to see it, and so I did.

I keep a list of places I might like to visit in the future. The Sedlec Ossuary in Kutna Hora made the list. For me, it's pretty cool that I did something I put on my list; it's the first place I've gone to on the list. Cheesy? Sure, but I don't care, I'm psyched that I did it and look forward to growing the list and checking things off.

Alright, so the problem was getting there. All the guides recommend taking the bus to Kutna Hora from Prague. The problem was that I went on a Sunday and there were no buses. Bummer. I was about to give up and join an overpriced tour when I found out how to take the train there. Trains normally go to Kutna Hora everyday, but Sundays have fewer trains scheduled and nobody that worked in at Prague's Heaven could help me. So yeah, if you're trying to get to Kutna Hora on a Sunday the train is the only method. Just head to the train station and tell them you want to go to Kutna Hora, they'll book a round trip ticket for you. The return time is flexible. The last train back to Prague leaves at 5pm, so don't miss it.

Once you've arrived at Kutna Hora you'll need to walk or bus into town where you can see the sites. It's not too far a walk, it should take maybe 20 minutes. Here are some directions that I got from Sir Toby's. They were the best directions out of everything I saw. People from other hotels and hostels were all quite confused and lost.

Map of Kutna Hora I got from the visitor center.

Alright, so follow the directions from the picture I've uploaded and go see Sedlec Ossuary, the Bone Chapel!

Sedlec Ossuary
The bones you will see in the chapel are from the Black Plague and the Hussite wars (the first war to essentially use cannons). The chapel itself was a common grave which started running out of room for all the dead bodies. Someone came up with the brilliant idea of using the bones as decoration inside the chapel. The chapel however was burned down by the Hussites in 1421 and rebuilt in 1703-1710. The bones you see today were cleaned, whitewashed and put together in the arrangement you see today in 1870 by Frantisek Rint. The rest of the unused bones were reburied.
The cemetery just outside Sedlec Ossuary.

Sedlec Ossuary

There are four bone pyramids inside the church. This is one of them. They all look pretty identical. Originally there were six bone pyramids but were changed into four in 1870. A few people have thrown coins in there. I think you're not supposed to do that.

The coat of arms of the Schwarzenberg family.

Closer view of the Schwarzenberg coat of arms.

History of the Ossuary. They had this out to you when you enter the church.

History part 2.

This chandelier is made with bones from every part of the human body.

The Ossuary is a church of Jesus Christ.

This is what you are greeted by at the entrance.

On the way to St. Barbara's Cathedral
Church of St. James

A view of Kutna Hora

St. Barbara's Cathedral
St. Barbara's Cathedral

Inside St. Barbara's Cathedral

This miner statue in St. Barbara's Cathedral is form the 1700s.

Other Pictures
Stone House

Italian Court

A couple got married at the Italian Court.

Italian Court

Church of the Ascension of Mary

On the way back I caught the last train back to Prague. It was packed, just like the trains in China. Standing room only! It was really uncomfortable and I had to stand. After a few stops people got off and I was able to find a spot to sit. Actually, I didn't, some Chinese students that were studying in Germany let me know I could sit with them. I actually ran into them at the beginning of my trip to Kutna Hora. I helped them out with some directions to the Ossuary, so I guess they just returned the favor. It was very nice of them.
I was really curious what the train bathroom looked like. My guess was gross and it looks like I guessed right.

The train sink.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Most interesting write-up and beautiful photos of this macabre, but interesting place and its beautiful town.