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Bury Me? Na, Put My Skull On the Wall


Decorating the inside of a religious structure can be a difficult task. Does one go for the cheaper materials such as wood (cheap to obtain but needs a bit of maintenance),stone and iron. Or does one go all out for the ‘bling’ effect? Gold, silver, various crystals and cloth. Why not, if you have a pile of 40,000 dead bodies at your disposal, decorate the inside of the church with bones?

During a drive through Europe I found a little section in the guide book about an ossuary (which apparently is a chest, building, well, or site made to serve as the final resting place of human skeletal remains) in the Czech Republic which is a little ‘different’!

After a quick (an hour or so) drive east from Prague I arrived in Kutna Hora. I eventually saw a huge church and parked up. Making sure I had some extra batteries for my camera I jumped out of my car . After several laps of this church I spotted a small sign across the road, pointing up a smaller street, saying ossuary, it looked almost hand written.

I have to say now that prior to this trip I was forced to watch the dreadful film ‘Hostel’ as part of my ‘Have a safe trip’ leaving party (something a friend and I do before every one of my adventures). The film was a load of poo and I had thought nothing of it until I was stood there in the shadow of a huge church, looking up a side street at a hand written sign telling me there was a small building decorated with human remains.

Off I trotted up the street, telling myself not to look over my shoulder and at the same time reminding myself to send a computer virus to Eli Roth!

At the ossuary there was a normal cemetery and a small chapel above it. The sun was still shinning and the odd bird chirping made me happier so in I went. The first thing that struck me was the temperature, it was cold in there. I was greeted by a nice couple who asked what language I preferred my leaflet to be in and was asked for a small entry fee. It was very small inside and what I found surprising was that there was no smell. I thought for some reason it would be like walking into a morgue or an abattoir! The bones were all bleached clean and white.

The decorations/ornaments were very well made. There were candle holders, wall decorations, a coat of arms and a huge chandelier, which was made from every bone in the human body! Also in there were proper symbols and artefacts of religious worship.

How the chapel ended up with so many dead bodies on it’s doorstep is a story, obviously, filled with doom and gloom. Wars, plagues and random people dropping in to die because the land was considered holy. I tried to imagine what the area looked like surrounding the chapel before someone said ‘I know what we can do with this lot!’.

Visiting the ossuary wasn’t an unpleasant side trip but despite the fact there were two people working in there and chatting, also a couple of other tourists taking pictures, I really felt glad to step outside and sit in the warm sunlight and listen to that bird


February 3, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized |

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