Quality Time in Kutna Hora

Kutna Hora Travel Blog

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Kutna Hora Church

 

Before coming to Prague a few friends of mine suggested that I do a few side trips while in Prague as there were great cities nearby that might interest me.  The one that was suggested the most was Kutna Hora.  Kutna Hora houses a very odd tourist attraction; the Sedlec Ossuary or the more commonly known name, The Bone Church. 

In the 13th century, the abbot at the time, brought back a pocket full of soil from Palestine and sprinkled it about the cemetery making it a very popular place for burials.  Because of the soil and a little thing called the Black Plague whicht swept through Europe, the cemetery became over run with bodies.

The Entrance to Kutna Bone Church
  It was decided that the best way to deal with the problem of 40,000 skeletons lying around was to make art work out of them.  Okay.  Because of this creative endeavor, the Bone Castle was created!  Just to repeat, the church is completely decorated in skeletons.  As sick as it seemed, we knew we had to see it with our own eyes and decided to make a day of it.

We got up early, ate breakfast and hopped onto a train to Kutna Hora.  The trains were a little older but they were clean and functioned fine.  They had compartments that would seat about six per room.  We were one of the last on the train so we ended up sitting in the seats outside of the compartments like plebeians.  Still, we didn’t mind, we got a good view of the passing landscape though there wasn’t much to see.

You Guessed It, Bone Church
 

Within a few minutes, we had a accosted by a group of the most annoying college girls who decided to sit next to us.  They were really loud!  Not just kind of loud or excruciatingly loud!  They were shouting like 6 year olds at recess who were being chased by Sasquatch!  Two compartments slammed the doors to keep there screaming at bay, but they weren’t the type to pick up on subtleties.  Both Noah and I were embarrassed as they were English speakers so we assumed they were American.  Eventually, it came out that that were actually Canadian as they spoke about their university and where they were from.  I wanted to suggest that they start wearing Canadian patches on their bags and clothes so people would not confuse them with Americans as we already get a really bad rap all the world over.

Statue in the Bone Church
 

Now, I only bring this up because it was so painful to have to listen to these people scream for an hour and a half at 9:00AM in the morning.  I am not a morning person and I had not had a coffee in two days.  Also, I am not a fan of people who don’t understand that using your inside voice on crowded transit is always appreciated.  This was not boding well for me as the train was crowded and there was no where to escape.  As soon as we arrived in Kutna Hora, I ran to the door to get away from the group as I could not deal with hearing them screech in the Bone Church.

The walk to the Bone Church is a good 15 minutes away.  There was a bus, but because it was such a nice day so we opted to go by foot.  Once we arrived, we were surprised to see that the Ossuary looked like an ordinary church.

Bone Church
  There was nothing that strange about it from the outside.  So, we went to the front door, bought our tickets, and prepared ourselves for the macabre.

I have to say, at first glance I was a little confused.  After you buy the tickets, you head down a few flights of stairs and are lead to a medium sized room filled with a bunch of bones.  I looked at Noah, confusion clouding my face.  I have to say, I think the reviews and photos I had seen online were quite deceptive.  The place was smaller than I had imagined and not nearly as impressive as expected.  It was a just a large, dank room decorated with bones.  I mean, you could probably see something like this in the townhouse of some twisted sicko in Queens. 

There was nothing to do but make the most out of the situation.

Ooh! Kutna Hora Bone Church!
  We had to put it into perspective; the history of the ossuary was quite impressive.  That and there were 40,000 bones in this one church.  40,000!  Though, to me, the numbers appeared to be a lot less.  In the end, it was a decent experience though it is kind of odd to realize that thousands of people come here a year to come gawk at a place decorated in bones, it really is kind of sick. 

After checking out the Ossuary, we went outside and walked around the cemetery before walking to the city of Kutna Hora itself.  We had heard it was a very cute place.  Too bad we never found out.  We got lost three times in the residential area and decided to head back to Prague.  Things just weren’t going our way.  The only upside was that the 4 screeching girls missed the train and we could hear them screaming on the platform as we pulled out of the station.

Bone Church
  Finally, a bright spot in the day!

Don’t get me wrong, I am glad I went to the Ossuary as it is a unique thing to see when in the Czech Republic.  I just wouldn’t suggest you go there unless you really have an interest or are passing though to get to somewhere else.  I guess I see it as that huge blockbuster movie that everyone raves about.  Everybody builds it up to be the best thing you will ever see and in the end, it just doesn’t live up to the hype.  If you go, prepare yourself to be underwhelmed so that when you do see it, it will be better than you imagined.  Reverse psychology does wonders!

After we returned to Prague, the rest of the day was pretty chill.  We walked around the city until we came upon one of the old historic graveyards.

  There are many of them to see and they are quite interesting.  Yes, it is odd, but I have an interest in graveyards for some reason.  Not because I am a sicko, but rather because I find the sculptures and mausoleums to be beautiful works of art.  Also, it is a quiet escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

What I found interesting about Prague is that the graves are manicured beautifully.  It is not uncommon to see family members having a picnic beside the grave as they clean it up and decorate it.  It is also not uncommon to see children playing along side the graves as the adults work on it.  It may seem odd to some, but to me it was impressive as the people seem very comfortable with death.  It is a much healthier attitude than in the US where nobody talks about it and avoids the topic as much as possible.

I have to say, there were a lot of beautiful sculptures and I found it to be quite peaceful.  I even found some graves with one side of my family’s name that is quite rare.  I have no idea if we are related, but I snapped a few photos and handed them over to the genealogist of the family.

Something to be aware of if you go into the cemeteries.  One: there are homeless people who do stay there and they will ask you for money.  There was an odd woman who kept checking out my necklace (which was cheap) and asking for money.  She wasn’t all there as she was talking to herself so we began speaking Spanish and she left us alone.  That isn’t to say that homeless people are scary, dangerous, deviants, but it is good to be wary at times.

TV Tower
  And two: the cemeteries do close at around 5:00PM or 6:00PM so check the gate for times.  We ended up getting locked in with a group of about 10 other people.  They don’t check the cemetery, they just close the gates and lock it up. 

We waited for about 45 minutes, but even after a few phones calls, nobody was coming.  I had no interest in staying there all night and we had no idea what was going to happen as nobody in the group spoke English.  In the end, Noah and I made our escape by scaling the twelve foot gate.  We thought the other people would think we were animals, but they actually laughed and cheered us on.  We offered to help the others over, but many of them were older and didn’t think they could do it.

Scary TV Tower Babies
  They did tell us that they had called the police and someone should be there within the hour.  I am sure, in the end, they got out, but we didn’t want to take any chances. 

Our last stop for the day before dinner was  The TV Tower.  It’s just what it sounds like, a transmitting tower for TV.   It was built between 1985 – 1992 and can be seen all over Prague.  Many people in Prague dislike the tower as some feel it has destroyed the more traditional skyline.  It also had the honor of being the #2 Ugliest Building in 2009.  Quite an accomplishment! 

Besides being an eyesore, it has the distinction of having one of the most disturbing features I have ever come across.  Naked crawling babies with bar codes for faces!  Yes, that is correct!  Naked crawling babies with bar codes for faces!  Even I, with my messed up imagination, could never come up with something so disturbing.

The TV Tower
  It is definitely worth checking out unless you have a weak ticker or are prone to nightmares. 

After the TV Tower, we grabbed dinner and walked all the way back to our hotel.  It had been a long day and it would be an even longer one the next day as we would be getting up early once again for our next side trip; Dresden, Germany. 

binky says:
You have a bus phobia? They have a train too. You got up late? The hell you say... If I remember correctly, the liquor IS pretty cheap in Prague.
Posted on: Oct 11, 2010
binky says:
Thank you so much! It's unique and worth it if you have an interest. I think the problem was that it was hyped up a lot before I went. If you expect it to be a lot smaller than it looks then you won't be disappointed. It really is just one room.
Posted on: Oct 11, 2010
free08 says:
This is one place I missed on my trip, but definitely want to check out on my next trip to this region. Been enjoying your blog.
Posted on: Oct 11, 2010
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Kutna Hora Church
Kutna Hora Church
The Entrance to Kutna Bone Church
The Entrance to Kutna Bone Church
You Guessed It, Bone Church
You Guessed It, Bone Church
Statue in the Bone Church
Statue in the Bone Church
Bone Church
Bone Church
Ooh!  Kutna Hora Bone Church!
Ooh! Kutna Hora Bone Church!
Bone Church
Bone Church
TV Tower
TV Tower
Scary TV Tower Babies
Scary TV Tower Babies
The TV Tower
The TV Tower
Kutna Hora
photo by: Stevie_Wes