Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Kutná Hora - Church of skulls & bones

Meli had to go home on urgent business so I took the train from Prague to Kutná Hora where there's a little church decorated entirely from human skeletons.
Long history short: in the 12th century the local abbot went to the Holy Land (what a journey given the time) and brought back a handful of "holy earth" from the hill where Jesus was crucified. He sprinkled it over the local cemetery which back then was pretty spaceous. As soon as the cemetery had the reputation of "holy grounds" it sparked a burial-tourism and even people from neighbouring countries had themselves buried there as well as thousands of 15th century war victims. At its peak there was between 40 000 - 70 000 people buried. In the 16th century the cemetery's size was significantly reduced, the bones dug out and put in the local ossuary where they remained in unspectacular form until 1870 when a woodcarver was hired to arrange the bones in the artistic form that they are in today.

The Schwarzenberg family's coat of arms. And a bell shaped mountain of bones in the background. There's 4 like that in the chapel.

This chandellier contains almost every type of bone in the human body.

František Rint, the woodcarver who arranged the bones, spelt his name & home town on the wall...in bones.

Around the church is only a small cemetary today.

I also had a peek into the "Church of Our Lady" across the road and found magical angels & holy ghost murals.

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