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The Sedlec Ossuary (Kostnice Sedlec) is a catholic chapel with the complex of the Church of All Saints (Hřbitovní kostel Všech Svatých) in Sedlec in the suburb of Kutna Hora city, which is 70 Kilometers (about43.5 miles) from Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic.
From outside the chapel there is nothing especially attractive, and you would think that it is a normal church just for religious practices, but those who enter it will discover something strange about this chapel.
The Sedlec Ossuary was completely constructed and decorated by human bones. It contains around 50,000 skeletons, which were artistically arranged to decorate it.
The story behind the construction of the Ossuary begins when the king of Bohemia, Otkar II, sent Abbot Henry in a pilgrimage trip to Palestine -The holy land – in 1278. When the abbot returned back to his town, he brought a jar of soil from the ground of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, and spread it on the ground around the chapel.
After that, Sedlec became a requested place for the people to be buried in because of the presence of the holy soil from Palestine.
The buried bodies increased when the Black Death disease swept through Europe during the 13th century and the Bohemian Wars during the 15th century.
In 1870 The Austrian Duke of Shwartzenberg hired Frantisek Rindt to complete the decoration of the chapel, who was a local wood carver with a wife and two children.
Both Kutna Hora city and Sedlec town are among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, so it would be very worthwhile to visit the other ancient medieval sites while visiting the Ossuary. These sites are the Historical Town Centre with the Church of St Barbara and the Cathedral of Our Lady at Sedlec.
The Ossuary is opened daily year-round for tourists and parishioners, except during the Christmas holidays, when it is completely closed.
In order to get to the Ossuary from Prague, take a one hour train journey to the Kutna Hora city main terminal; after that you can either walk or take a direct taxi to it. Also, the public buses are available. The distance between the terminal and the Ossuary is about 2.5 kilometers (1.6 miles).
The admission fee for the Ossuary is 50 Czech Koronas (about $ 2.60) with extra 30 Czech Koronas (about $ 1.60) for a photographing permit.
Image Courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/carnivillain/