A side trip to Kutna Hora (Czech Rep.)

Trip Start Oct 17, 2008
1
6
16
Trip End Dec 2008


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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Sunday, November 9, 2008

After a few Days in Krakow Danny and i decided to catch an over night train to a place called Kutna Hora about 7 hours away in the Czech republic. It is about 65km from Prague and the home of a church decorated with the bones of 40 000 dead people.
Apparently the church was originally built about a thousand years ago on ground sprinkled with soil brought back from the grave of Jesus himself. This of course made the ground incredibly sacred, and people were buried here over a vast area... about 3 square km. Over the centuries the church and surrounding area grew, and was sacked by various invaders, silver was discovered nearby and the town grew even more. Eventually it was the best known and sacred church in Bohemia, and therefore a very popular place to be planted.
The plague came through the area at one stage and appaently wiped out about thirty thousand people in just one year... they were all buried in the sacred ground along side the generations of miners, warriors, peasants, and pretty much every one who had kicked the bucket.

Over time the church and surrounding abbey  burned down a few times and diss-membered and re-built by various invaders until all that remained was the shell of todays church (or ossuary). This was re-built by several generations and eventually became what we have today. (logically) 
Most of the enormous grave yard was closed and re-claimed by the locals about three hundred years ago, and a partially blind priest who lived and prayed at the Ossuary decided to collect all of the bones and stack them around the church building. Eventually they were brought inside the church and stacked in several enormous pyramid shaped piles. The bones were later cleaned and bleached and in the mid 1800's were used to decorate the downstairs part of the church in the most morbid and interesting way... and of course all in the name of the lord.

I have taken photo's, and I also have some literature, so I will update this entry as soon as I have access to a computer with which I can upload my photo's. I will also give a slightly more accurate and factual account of the history of the church.

Danny and I enjoyed visiting the church immensly, and the people of Kutna Hora were very friendly and keen to help when it was needed. It was also amusing to find out that the local supermarket was called "Albert".

We didn't hang around long as Kutna Hora isn't the biggest of places, and although we walked our feet to blisters we couldn't find all that much more of interest to report. We ended up walking to the top of the town where we found a take-away called McK's. The food was fast and expensive and tasted like arse. There were a few more largish looking churches about, which we didn't go into as we were a bit churched out by then, so don't cancel your plans to visit on the strength of what I have written here... no doubt there is a lot more to the place than we were able to discover in the half day we were there.

I would suggest that if you catch the train there, (you can get a connection from Krakow in a town called "Colin"), that you take the day train, as the sleeper takes a much longer time and is probably the most innacurately named train I have ever experienced. We travelled from Krakow and were kept awake by hard drinking student/backpacker types on thier way to Prague, getting pissed and having the time of thier lives (bless em) until about 3 in the morning. I'm sure these kids are very nice to their parents.... but I was just about ready to dismember them and poke the pieces one by one down the small train lavetory.
Perhaps this was a one off bad luck thing... but I doubt it.

We arived back in Krakow the same night in time to check into a hastily organised hostel called "Good Bye Lenin"... an interesting comfortable and friendly hostel filled with russian occupation posters and memorabelia.

From there we set off and travelled to Vilnius in Lithuania via Warsaw, Polands capital ... but thats another story.
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