If anyone had told me that I would be visiting the Ossuary in Prague, I would have scoffed. We reached Prague to temperature as low as 7 degrees and ended up freezing our butts off (no kidding)!
This was also when we realized we were at loose ends. Our intended destination Karlovy Vary was not possible that day due to unavailability of tickets and we had to postpone it for the day after. While the lot of the group was deciding what to do, I was munching on hot French Fries and blanking out because I was not liking Prague; maybe the weather or the energy never could figure out.
While some decided to explore the streets, some wanted to go for the free walking tour, my cousin was jumping up and down as she spotted the Sedlec Ossuary picture in the map. Though I just wanted to sit in a coffee shop and day dream, I did not want her to go alone to some bone church in a weird sound place called Kutna Hora.
Prague’s public transport was not as clear as the other countries we had visited in Europe. It was no surprise that it took us some time of random running around, talking loudly, asking locals near the departure boards and finally got a cop to guide us to the right platform. I was happy that even the locals were confused with our tickets and how to reach our destination. Made me feel less stupid and less frustrated.
It was still early and the breeze was hitting us with vengeance, when we got off a quaint but crowded train at the Kutna Hora station. In the information centre, we understood that this teeny tiny place had almost 12 -14 ‘things to see’ and it was recommended that we take a bus to the furtherest point and work our way downwards, back to the center of the city and the railway station.
Our first stop was St. Barbara’s cathedral, a beautiful gothic structure with the most stunning stained glass adorning their windows and frescos on the walls.
We walked through the beautiful street and alleys that housed one of the oldest silver mine and a mint now a museum – Ceske museum in search of the 4meter stone fountain. We walked through winding roads, climbed steep uphill paths and came right back down when directed by a local and after neuter out turns and curses we found it! Standing grandly in a junction of 4 roads.
This done, we headed back to town to see the hero of the place the Sedlec Ossuary or simply the church of bones. The area was first christened as a graveyard and then with the silver mine and the riches some great man gave the order for a chapel to be constructed. During this time of excavation of land to build the chapel 40,000 – 70,000 human bones were pulled out and left lying around in the open.
It is said a semi-blind monk sorted and stacked the bones single handedly but the art and decoration was done by Frantisek Rint. Looking at the bones adorning every inch of this church made me wonder this artist loved his challenge a bit too much.
If you look at it economic influence, this is biggest money grossing tourist attractions after the drying of the mine and the death of the mint. Kutna Hora would have been a ghost town, if not for this macabre church.
We returned to the city the same way; changing 2 trains with a bit more confidence.