Ossuaries are creepy-awesome, even more so if they are on the UNESCO list.
Kutná Hora is a town in the Czech Central Bohemia region, which is quite near Prague and thus perfect for a daytrip, which is how me and my friends visited it in 2012. It is also a UNESCO site and features 4 impressive attractions that aren’t too expensive to see.
The story of Kutná Hora begins in the nearby village of Sedlec, where Cistercian monks built a monastery, which eventually resulted in the Sedlec Ossuary, a macabre chapel decorated with human bones. The Sedlec Ossuary is one of the many chapels in Europe, which served as well, ossuaries, places to store the human remains. The original chapel’s cemetery became overcrowded after an abbot of the Sedlec monastery returned from the Holy land with some earth, supposedly from the site of Jesus’s crucifixion. Naturally, everyone suddenly felt the need to be buried there, which was not easy due to the plague and the Hussite wars. Eventually, one of the abbots ordered 40.000 bodies to be exhumed and stored inside the chapel and in the 1870s, a local handyman was hired to rearrange them. He did it a little bit too well and the now Sedlec Ossuary became famous.
Kutná Hora itself used to be one of the richest towns in the old Bohemian kingdom, as the king established the royal mint there after silver was found in the vicinity. In fact, you can watch a super cute cartoon about the town’s history here.
Soon after that, the two Gothic masterpieces named the Church of St. Barbara and the Cathedral of Our Lady at Sedlec were built and declared UNESCO sites in the modern times. Additionally, the house of Hrádek, a former nobleman, now houses the Czech museum of Silver.
Impressions of Kutná Hora
The four attractions ensure that Kutná Hora sees plenty of tourism, however the town remains relatively undeveloped and quaint. Due to its rich history the small town centre is also very nice to stroll through and, in 2012, we even found a small Alchemy museum (I was unable to find it online so it might have closed).
We had lunch at the famous Dačický pivnice (pub), which came highly recommended, so we just had to try it. We stuffed ourselves for a surprisingly reasonable price and they even had a special Alchemy menu – I still remember one of the unusual, but amazingly tasty desserts we had.
Getting there: as stated in the beginning, Kutná Hora is perfect as a daytrip from Prague, as you can take a direct train from the Prague main train station, which runs several times per day and takes about an hour. The main train station at Kutná Hora is about 4 km from the centre, so if you do not mind walking you can save some money and walk there. The road is pretty straight forward, you really can’t get lost, and there is even a pub on the way. However, if you prefer, you can also change to a local train, which will take you directly to the town centre.
Some photos by my friends.