BY: JESSICA BEUKER
Also known as the Church of Bones, the Sedlec Ossuary is a small chapel located in Sedlec, a suburb of Kutna Hora in the Czech Republic. On the outside it looks like a typical gothic-style church, but on the inside the place is adorned with more than 40,000 human skeletons.
In the centre of the church hangs a spectacular chandelier, which contains at least one of every human bone. Other pieces found around the church include monstrances, a coat of arms and garlands of skulls.
According to the ossuary’s website, the history behind the church dates all the way back to 1278, when the King of Bohemia sent the abbot of the Sedlec Cistercian Monastery to Jerusalem. When the abbot returned he brought a jar of “Holy Soil” from Golgotha, and scattered it across the Sedlec cemetery.
Soon people from all over wanted to be buried in Sedlec, and according to Atlas Obscura, more than 30,000 people were before they ran out of room. So, in the 15th century a gothic church was built near the cemetery, with a vaulted upper level and a basement. The basement would be used as an ossuary for the old bones, as they needed to make room for the newly deceased.
In 1870, Frantisek Rint, a local woodcarver, was appointed to arrange and bleach the thousands of bones. What he ended up creating are the impressive structures that remain in the church to this day. His signature, also made of bone, is displayed on the wall.