Gratitude Travel Writing Contest: "The Bone Church"

For the Gratitude Travel Writing Contest hosted by "We Said Go Travel." I submitted an article on one of my favorite spots that I had visited and was grateful for.  How could I be grateful about visiting "The Bone Church?"  You'll have to read and find out. 


I can’t help but look back on my travels throughout Europe this year and think about my trip to Kutna Hora, Czech Republic, where I saw “The Bone Church.”   I can’t get this trip out of my mind.  Though I am visually haunted by it, it’s more of a bewilderment or awe.  Ever since I have heard about this place through the grapevine, I’ve kind of been obsessed.  Where can you visit a church where the interior is entirely made up of over 40,000 real human remains?  Surely this must be a hoax as who would want to desecrate the human form by using it as a decoration?  But the reason is deeper than that. 

 The site of the church was revered as Holy ground as the abbot, Henry, sprinkled sacred soil from Golgotha in the 1200’s.  As a result, it was a prime burial destination for many in the Czech Republic.  Centuries later, when the Black Plague left its toll, there was an overwhelming amount of bodies to be buried in the cemetery surrounding the church.  But the actual construction and placement of bones in the church didn’t happen until 1870.  Decorating with human remains was a morbid yet practical way to furnish the inside of the church. 

It is a simply stunning place to visit. For some, it is a challenge to even cross the threshold.   Being inside the church which is surprisingly small is worth the trip to the small town.  One can’t deny the feelings of awe and shock as you look overhead to see an entire chandelier created out of almost every bone in the human body.  Rows of skulls surround the center of the church and piled high are remains that serve no other purpose than to be a place of rest for those long deceased.  There is even a family crest made out of bones from a family that once owned the church.  Outside, you can wander the graveyard of the well maintained cemetery, every now and then finding a rogue and rusted cross leaning up against the cemetery gates. 
Why has this trip inspired me and made me grateful?  We don’t like to think of what will happen to our physical bodies when we pass away.  “The Bone Church” or Sedlec Ossuary has now become a hidden travel destination for those who need to quite literally “see it to believe it.”  I am grateful for this place because it is a macabre and in some ways humorous reminder that we are all human, we die, and our bodies go on without us.  It is a chilling token of mortality that many try to get out of their heads, but we must confront ourselves with at some point.  It has been a great experience for me and one that is unique to my travels in Europe.
This will be one trip that you won’t forget and it will be sure to haunt your memory for years to come.  Would you visit the “The Bone Church?”

If you want to read more about my actual trip  back in Septmeber and see all of the eerie pics you can go here.

The Gratitude Travel Writing contest is now over ( I didn't win but they run quite a few contests so maybe I'll enter again) but they have another writing contest currently going on until February 14, 2014 called The Inspiration Travel Writing contest.  If you're feeling inspired, give it a go.  First prize is $1000 USD.



Linking up at:

Travel Tuesday

19 comments :

  1. I had seen photos of this place, but the "Why" was never quite explained in what I looked at. Your story is very informative, and makes me want to put it on my list of places to see if I ever get to be in that part of the world.

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  2. We went to this Bone Church back in October. My 3 year old son is really into skeletons and found it fascinating... I thought it was definitely creepy, but also really cool. Such a conundrum!

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  3. I would love to visit it and loved hearing your take on it. After seeing all the bones and skulls in Naples, it is a really unique look at the world and how short our time on life is and what our focus should be.

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    1. Thanks Bonnie. I still would like to go to the Catacombs in Paris. Can't believe I missed out because we showed up to late. I wonder how the Catacombs compares. But I remember seeing your Naples skull pics a while back. Very cool.

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  4. We never made it to the bone church when we lived in Prague. I wish we'd made more of a point to as it's a great thing to say you've done!

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    1. Yes, It's definitely got a certain novelty value to it.

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  5. Interesting take on The Bone Church, sorry you didn't win.
    Don't think I have the stomach for it though

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  6. i missed this when i was traveling in the CR when I was younger. definitely unique and i'm sorry i did!

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  7. We have seen a similar church in Rome. Truly amazing. Thanks for telling us about the competition.

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    1. Yes, I've heard of this church in Rome too. I'll have to visit if I decide to go to Rome. It would be weird to say I've been to two bone churches in my life haha. And no prob!

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  8. I really like how visiting this place invoked feelings of gratitude as opposed to being completely creeped out. I'd be interested in seeing this church myself one day. It reminds me of our visit to the Paris Catacombs which is also an Ossuary where bones are creatively arranged in a decorative manner. I cannot even imagine what it was like for the builders who had to handle all the bones and secure them in place. Thanks for telling us about the contest. I could really use $1000, LOL.

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    1. Lol yea I don't get creeped out easily. But I also wanted to visit the Catacombs in Paris too. We missed it by half hour.

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  9. Hmmm...I'm not sure that I would have this at the top of my list, but maybe.

    Wonderful to have you at "Oh, the PLACES I've been!"

    - The Tablescaper

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  10. My goodness! I don't know if I could ever visit, it's a little bit to freaky for me.

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  11. I don't know if I would pay this church a visit, but then again I am curious by nature. Thanks for sharing once again on Tuesdays With a Twist.

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  12. I made the trip when I was in Prague. Loved it! Believe it or not, have yet to blog about it. So many stories, so little time! (haha!)

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    1. You definitely need to blog about it. I love reading other peoples' takes on it and there aren't many.

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  13. I remember your original article about this, and I had to click over and see it again. You don't want to look, but you can't help but look, it's so weird and fascinating and yet beautiful in a strange way, because you know that those people Wanted to be buried there, that way, and it meant something to them. Thank you for sharing this on my History & Home Link Party this week, take care - Dawn @ We Call It Junkin.com

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    1. Thanks for reading Dawn! Love your link up!

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I love to hear from readers! Questions and comments welcome. I try to respond to everyone (I respond back to your comments on the comments page so check back for a response). Thanks for reading!

-Brittany Ruth