The Sedlec Ossuary is a small Roman Catholic chapel and one of twelve World Heritage Sites in the Czech Republic. The ossuary is estimated to contain the skeletons of between 40,000 and 70,000 people, whose bones have, in many cases, been artistically arranged to form decorations and furnishings for the chapel. The ossuary is among the most visited tourist attractions of the Czech Republic.

Four enormous bell-shaped mounds occupy the corners of the chapel. An enormous chandelier of bones, which contains at least one of every bone in the human body, hangs from the center of the nave with garlands of skulls draping the vault. Other works include piers and monstrances flanking the altar, a coat of arms of House of Schwarzenberg, and the signature of Rint, also executed in bone, on the wall near the entrance.

A cistercian monastery was founded near the current Sedlec Ossuary in 1142. One of the principal tasks of the monks was the cultivation of the grounds and lands around the monastery. In 1278 King Otakar II of Bohemia sent Henry, the abbot of Sedlec , on a diplomatic mission to the Holy Land. When leaving Jerusalem Henry took with him a handful of earth from Golgotha which he sprinkled over the cemetery of Sedlec monastery, consequently the cemetery became famous, not only in Bohemia but also throughout Central Europe and many wealthy people desired to be buried here.The burial ground was enlarged during the epidemics of plague in the 14 th century (e.g.in 1318 about 30 000 people were buried here) and also during the Hussite wars in first quarter of the 15 th. century.

After 1400 one of the abbots had a church of All Saints erected in Gothic style in the middle of the cemetery and under it a chapel destined for the deposition of bones from abolished graves, a task which was begun by a half blind Cistercian monk after the year 1511. The charnel-house was remodelled in Czech Baroque style between 1703-1710. The present arrangement of the bones dates from 1870 and is the work of a Czech wood-carver, František Rint.

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Founded: 1278
Category: Religious sites in Czech Republic

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User Reviews

Gustavo R. Caraballo (10 months ago)
The ossuary is a small basement, can be seen in 10 to 15 minutes. Nevertheless, the trip is worth it. The cemetery has a lot of interesting information too, and the Mary’s Ascension Cathedral is very close. Good visit spot.
Pranav Rathi (11 months ago)
There are no tickets available here. The tickets are available at the information center. I personally did not like the place but it is ok to visit once per lifetime. Lot of dead people. You can not take pictures inside. It is a very small place can be finished in like 10 minutes.
Andres Infantas (King Fuego) (11 months ago)
I came to this country just to see this and was more Amazing then I expect, wonderful and unbelievable art… I’ll be back when they fish the restoration but still it’s almos 90% done and it’s look awesome ??
Wanderlust (12 months ago)
Not worth the admission. The actual place is very small and lacked information. Can finish the visit in 5 minutes but takes over an hour to get here from Prague. Also, photos are prohibited but no one enforces it. Just don't be obvious.
Lovana (2 years ago)
Had to buy the tickets at the info centrum 150 meters away. We weren't allowed to take pictures in the chapel. I was able to take pictures upstairs tho. But besides that I recommend visiting, it is beautiful and scary at the same time.
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