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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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Jack Bonham (5 months ago)
It's nice, sorta small. We added on a two hour drive to our trip to see it, and I wouldn't say that it was worth it. I wouldn't recommend anything more than a 15 minute detour to see it. Price was inexpensive though.
Meg Clark (5 months ago)
We drove an hour out of our way to come here, it's incredibly small. But I did enjoy it, I was hoping it would be bigger. But I got some good pictures, and you can't really beat paying $4 to go in (it was 90 CZK pp) Would recommend if you like skulls. They also have a small church upstairs as well that's not advertised very well. It's not much tho. If I had known it was that small I don't know if I would have made the hour trip, when you're only inside for like 15 minutes but if you're in the area id go for it.
Johan Lindqvist (6 months ago)
Amazing place! The bone church is a must visit when you are in the Czech Republic. Put on headphones with some Masters Hammer and you will be in a even better mood. Stay Metal follow Metalheads!
Kevin Bradshaw (7 months ago)
Absolutely fascinating and I’m so gleam I finally made it here. It only took ten years, but I can honestly it was worth it. The train journey was about an hour in which you get to witness the glorious Czech countryside and we did so in the snow. What a sight! The church ideal is haunting, magical and beautiful. It feels you with wonder and yet horror at the same time. There are some extraordinary monuments and items such as chandeliers made of real human skulls and bones, but it’s the information supplied that really brings it all to life. To bare witness to something over 700 hundred years old is really quite special. It’s just a shame most people only wants bloody selfies and a quick picture without taking in the place and reading the information. All in all, you MUST see this place. The town also is nice with many friendly people. 5/5.
Anna Morgana Alabau (8 months ago)
Impressive place totally worth the about one hour journey from the city. The history of the place is really interesting but the ossuary as such is breathtaking! The entry fee is definitely not expensive and neither is the train there, although it's not too frequent so it's advisable to take an early one and make the most of the visit. Flash photography is not allowed but the place is well illuminated enough to take good pictures with a decent phone/camera. They accept both cash and card for the entry ticket. Some options for food and coffee can be found around.
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