Why Kutna Hora?

If I remember correctly, Annelies chose Kutna Hora because of its location and its attractions. But it could just be the attractions. There are a couple of important cathedrals, one of which isn’t actually a cathedral, and a very unique bone church.

The first church we visited was the Church of Saint Barbara. It sure looks like a cathedral, but it’s actually just a church that’s built like a cathedral. I say “just” a church, but in an area known for its gothic cathedrals, this particular church is actually a standout.

Church of Saint Barbara

It’s sure big for a church, right?

The ornamentation inside these large religious structures always amazes me. The structures themselves are incredible, but then there are all the murals and statues, stained glass and carved wood, and painted ceilings. Very, very high ceilings at that.

Painted Walls


Painted Ceilings


Stained Glass




“That’s wood!” said Mike. Who knew?

Yep, it really was wood. This was the first large church/cathedral we’d seen with pieces like that made of wood instead of stone.

Wooden Figure Close-up

If you look closely, you can tell it’s wood.

Amazing stuff.


It always takes us forever to wander around these things.


Kind of hard not to be impressed.


Best Candle-holder Ever


“Simple” Wall Decor

It always takes longer than expected for us to see these huge religious buildings.

Storm Drain


Exterior Ornamentation

I have no idea what these things are called, the little statues sticking out that serve as outlets for water downspouts, but I was delighted to see the next one…


I’d seen some that sorta looked like a frog before, but none that were so clearly a frog.

This chapel dates back to the 1300s, I think.

There’s a nice view of the town from just outside of the church.

Overlooking Kutna Hora

From there, we headed to the outskirts of Kutna Hora to see a VERY different kind of church, The Ossuary (bone church) at Sedlec. There IS a cathedral near the ossuary, but we had a long day on the road ahead of us, so we skipped it.

According to one CR tourism website

Kutná Hora is known for the curious “Bone Church” or Ossuary (in Czech, Kostnice). It is located in the suburb of Sedlec. The Ossuary is in the undergroud chapel of the Church of All Saints. It contains the bones of about 40,000 people who died of the plague in 1318 and during the Hussite wars in the 15th century. They were originaly buried at the church cemetery. When the cemetery was closed at the end of the 15th century, the exhumed bones were transferred to the chapel and compiled into pyramids. In 1870, František Rint of Česká Skalice arranged the bones and skulls into creative decorations that include bells, the Schwarzenberg coat-of-arms, and a chandelier.

It was cool to see, but creepy. I mean, those are real bones of people.

Inside the Ossuary


Artsy arrangement of skulls.


More artsy skull arrangements.


More skull art.


Creepy, but cool.

It was an interesting place for sure!

On a lighter note…

Fun Sign

Here’s a site with some history of the place for those of you who want the story.

And for those who want to see more pics, the Flickr slideshow is embedded below.

Kutna Hora Cathedral & Ossuary

10 Replies to “Why Kutna Hora?”

    1. Richard, agreed on both counts. Annelies and I usually do a very good job planning together. It really is awesome to have someone else help figure things out!

  1. Those water downspout statues are called gargoyles. 🙂

    What is the purpose of the bone church? I saw similarly large collections of human bones in Phnom Phen, Cambodia, but they were from the infamous ‘killing fields’ and they weren’t exactly arranged artfully.

    1. Shan, basically they ran out of space for burials and thought it would be more respectful to store the bones rather than trash them. Some hoarder, apparently.

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