A few months ago I found myself in what is arguably the creepiest place on earth.
I was in Prague on a romantic escape with my boyfriend blah blah blah. Anyway, we decided to get out of the city and check out the Czech countryside (see what I did there). We ended up in Seclec, Kutna Hora – a sleepy little place with dusty roads, quaint farmhouses and a couple of Medieval churches. Just as you’d expect. What you wouldn’t expect is this:
The Bone Church. From the outside it’s just a little old chapel in a little old graveyard. But on the inside… the skeletons of 40,000 people. There are literally hundreds of thousands of bones stacked in piles at least 3m high. There are bones lining the walls and hung like bunting across the ceiling. The piece de resistance is this massive chandelier…
Creepy ey?! Yet morbidly fascinating. The church is macabre, still, damp, deathly. Being inside felt equal parts repulsive and intriguing. Like watching someone vomit. I lasted just 20 minutes and had to leave.
There’s an interesting back story. In the 14th century stacks of people died. Thousands and thousands from the Black Death. Thousands more from war. They all wanted to be buried in this one sacred graveyard (some holy dude sprinkled some holy sand on it years ago). Anyway, the space ran out and the corpses piled up. So a crazy half-blind monk took it upon himself to solve the problem. He dug up all the bones in the graveyard to make room for all the new ‘customers’. Then he used the skeletons to fit out the chapel. Crazy old bastard. Who would want to do something like that? Freaks me out.
But the thing that freaks me out even more is that every single skull represents a life, a real person… with dreams and hopes, disappointments and regrets. Someone who laughed and cried, who felt love and pain. Every skull was a soul, a mother, a brother, a best friend, a soul mate. And for all that, these bones is all that remains….
Yeah, so what was meant to be a romantic weekend away, turned into a major reality check. It was quite confronting, and perhaps that’s the real reason it was so hard to stay inside that little old chapel for long…. On that note, I’ll leave you with my personal favourite bone decor: The Schwarzenberg family coat of arms.