Freaky Friday: Visit the Church of Bones this Halloween

As Halloween lurks around the corner, horror fans are getting their fair share of thrills with horror movies, novels and ghost stories. Weirdness is now in overdrive!

However, sometimes the real world is a tad more unusual and creepier than fictional stories. If you are looking for an eerie place to visit, be sure to visit the Sedlec Ossuary in Sedlec, a suburb of the Kutná Hora in the Czech Republic. (Try saying that 5 times fast)

An ossuary is a room which contains the bones of dead people. The Sedlec Ossuary is also a small Roman Catholic Chapel,  which is located beneath the Cemetery Church of All Saints.

But what makes this church fascinating?

The ossuary apparently contains between 40 000 and 70 000 people. In many cases, these bones have been arranged to form decorations and furnishings for the chapel. I kid you not. Someone went all interior decorator with human bones in a chapel.

Newcastillian
Photo credit: Flickr

 

The unusual ossuary attracts over 200 000 visitors annually and is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the Czech Republic.

But why will anyone visit a place which is affectionately known as the Bone Church or the Church of Bones?

Especially with a creepy chandelier of bones, which contains at least one bone of every human body, hanging from the centre of the nave with garlands of skulls draping the vault?

Regardless of why people find this site so interesting, how did it come into being? What led a Roman Catholic Chapel to resemble a site from a Stephen King novel?

Legend has it that a local abbot went to Jerusalem in the 13th century. He brought back some sacred soil to spread across the church cemetery and word got out. Suddenly, the Sedlec cemetery became the region’s most popular place to be buried.

The plague then hit the area and nearly 30 000 people were added to the plots. The number increased when the Crusades saw 10 000 casualties brought to the cemetery. This isn’t even counting the other burials taking place at the time.

But, it is only when the community decided to construct the Gothic church during the 15th century that the Church of Bones really took shape. During the construction of the church, many bones were moved and put into pyramids in the ossuary beneath the new building.

There the bones remained until 1870. A woodcarver by the name of Francis Rint was employed to do something beautiful with the bones. Well, he succeeded in a sense.

Bleaching and carving the bones, he used them to decorate the chapel. From using skulls to make chains, to hips and femurs to make chalices and crosses, Rint made a creation which is truly unique.

A must see for anyone who wants to have a macabre Halloween.

Until next week…Be sure to have yourself a FREAKY FRIDAY!

 

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