February 10, 2011

The Sedlec Ossuary

This small and unassuming church in the Czech Republic was well worth the daytrip out of Prague and into the countryside. While Europe is littered with churches in general, this was one we made a point of going out of our way for. Cemeteries that are hundreds of years old often have a problems when they fill up and people keep dying, so the basement ossuary had long ago been filled with exhumed skeletons.
In the 1870s a woodcarver was paid by the ruling family to organize the bones and in so doing created some of the macabre art imaginable. The chandalier below contains at least one of every bone in the human body and the ceiling is lined with skulls. Each corner of the room featuers a huge stack of limb bones and there are four pedastals with the most sinister cherubs playing trumpets you can imagine.
Rounding out the collection is the family crest of the ruling family made out of bone. When your family crest already involves a crow pecking the eyes out of a Turk, you have a pretty sinister reputation, but when you have that enlarged to 12 feet tall and made entirely of human remains you are treading well into supervillain territory.
Needless to say, with her interest in all things skeletal, Kathryn was in hog heaven in this particular place. I'm not sure I would ever want to meet the God that has a house like that, but its a fascinating place to see either way.

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