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

omay momay (3 months ago)
so much about history. the place is a preserve culture
Angela Andriolli (3 months ago)
Different place is worth the visit. The streets of Kutná Hora are narrow and strange, there are not many signs indicating the Ossuary of Sedlec, the GPS will be your great friend.
Alvaro De la Cruz (6 months ago)
Place itself is small but amazing. Thing is: they dont let you take photographs (not even without flash) because "its disrespectful" yet this is a tourist attraction. Logic, isn't it?
Станислав Ким (6 months ago)
A very special place.
Milad Asady (7 months ago)
That was an increadible experience. I dont know if everybody will like it or not. But really the concept and also the reason beside the number of bones there(remaining of over 60k persons) was just stonishing for me.
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