Czech Republic – Sedlec Ossuary, Kutna Hora


The Sedlec Ossuary is a small Christian Chapel, located beneath the Cemetery Church of All Saints in Sedlec, a suburb of Kutná Hora in the Czech Republic. The ossuary contains approximately 40,000 human skeletons which have been artistically arranged to form decorations and furnishings for the chapel.

The cemetery was a burial site for those killed in the Black Death in the 14th century. In around 1511 the task of exhuming skeletons and stacking their bones in the chapel was, according to legend, 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.

The macabre results of his effort speak for themselves. Four enormous bell-shaped mounds occupy the corners of the chapel. A hugechandelier of bones, which contains at least one of every bone in the human body, hangs from the center of the nave with garlands of skulls draping the vaults. Other works include piers and monstrances flanking the altar, a large Schwarzenberg coat-of-arms, and the signature of Master Rint, also executed in bone, on the wall near the entrance.
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