Photograph

Sedlec Ossuory, Kutná Hora

The Ossuary (or kostnice - 'bone church') is situated close to the site of a twelfth century Cistercian monastery. During the thirteenth century the monastery's abbot returned from a trip to Jerusalem with a handful of earth from Golgotha which he sprinkled over the cemetary of the monastery - consequently the cemetary became famous throughout Bohemia and other parts of central Europe and many wealthy families and people wished to be buried there. As a result of this, the plagues and the fourteenth century and the Hussite wars of the fifteenth century the burial grounds grew in size enormously, and a chapel was constructed under the Gothic church in the cemetary to house bones deposed from abolished graves.

Over the years the charnel-house was remodelled twice, once in the early eighteenth century and again in 1870 which is the form that is currently in today. The bones of over forty thousand people are displayed in the Ossuary.