Post-death choices: Burial, cremation, artwork.

Trip Start Dec 26, 2009
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Trip End Nov 08, 2010


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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Morbid curiosity. That's the only excuse.

Kutna Hora is a town in the Czech Republic once famous for producing silver but now just scraping by on the whole "but we used to produce silver!" story. So not especially interesting, except for one building. Yes, we travelled all the way out there to visit a chapel, of all things. But this one is interesting! It's a chapel decorated with the skeletons of 40,000 people. It's a very sacred churchyard (apparently Jesus scattered a handful of soil there from some special place) so they've been burying every man and his dog there. Just kidding, Greyfriars Bobby taught me no matter how special the dog is, they can't be buried on consecrated ground. Although he definitely deserved to be. Confused? Then you obviously didn't read my Edinburgh blog closely enough, did you!

When they had to move a bunch of earth to shore up the precariously leaning church and extend it, they ended up with 40,000 skeletons. They didn't have room to bury them but didn't want to remove them from the graveyard, so they left them in the chapel. Some morbid monks sorted them by bone type and then turned them into art, so here we are!

We went on a tour. It was easier. The tour wasn't too expensive - we still caught the train in and everything, but we figured it was a good way to see the town while we were there. First stop was the bone chapel, and it was pretty amazing. I'll let the pictures do most of the talking for me, but take special note of the giant piles of skulls, arm bones and leg bones all neatly arranged, the signature of the creepy monk done in bones, the coat of arms of the family done in bones with a crow-skeleton pecking the eye of a skull (supposedly that's a Muslim), the specially stored skulls of those who died from head injuries (eg, axes) and my personal favourite, the giant chandelier made from every bone in the human body. Although nobody has found the ear bones yet.

After poking around and taking photos for the better part of an hour, everyone's curiosity was sated and we retired outside. I enjoyed the whole thing, actually. It wasn't tacky. Not even the souvenirs were truly tacky, and they really could have been. It was certainly different.

The tour ran through the rest of Kutna Hora, but it wasn't that exciting. St Barbara's Cathedral, Czech lunch, plague column, various bits and pieces. We made friends with one American and two Sydneysiders and spent the day with them. The tour took longer than it was supposed to and we missed our train, so we waited for the next one in an old-man Czech pub, complete with mounted deer heads and horns of various creatures. And that was our day! Sorry the rest was a bit ho-hum, but after a chapel covered in bones it's hard for statues and streets to compete!

Peace, love and finger bones,
Amanda and Ben
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Comments

peace maker on

Hey buddy is not good to say those were muslims bones, It promotes hatred, The idea of a church with thousands of bones piled up is already disgusting

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