Ossuary in Siedlec – tourist’s guide to the church of 40,000 human bones

Kostnitsa in the Czech Republic is one of those attractions that cause mixed and very mixed feelings. On the one hand – delight, genuine interest, the desire to take a selfie against the background of a pile of bones. On the other hand, incredible horror and awe. And what do you feel after meeting the crypt?

Bone Chandelier in Kostnitsa

General information

Kostnitsa or the Cemetery Church of All Saints is a small medieval church located on the outskirts of Kutna Hora, 80 km from Prague. Once it was famous for its rich silver mines, but after their closure the only tourist attraction of the city remains this church, created from 40 thousand human bones.

Skulls in Kostnitsa

Of course, in the Middle Ages the chapels in which the remains of deceased people were kept were the most common thing, but we are sure that the Czech Kostnitsa would resonate even among ancient people. And all because in this temple the bones are not only saved, but also act as the main elements of the interior. Due to this peculiarity, few people dare to visit the skeleton in the town of Siedlec in the Czech Republic, one at a time, and even in the dark. But in the afternoon, organized tourist excursions regularly take place here.

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Historical reference

Bone inside

The history of Kostnitsa in the Czech Republic began in the 13th century, when one of the abbots dispelled the land brought from Calvary over the cemetery of the Siedlec Monastery. After this event, the place was called sacred, and being buried on its territory was considered an honor. The fame of the monastery cemetery became so loud that deceased began to be brought to its territory not only from the Czech Republic, but also from neighboring countries.

When in 1318 the plague epidemic crushed a significant part of the European population, the monks decided to expand the territory of the graveyard, while eliminating almost all the old burial grounds. And since the ashes in those days could not be processed properly, dug bones were simply thrown into the cellars of the monastery chapels.

The next cleaning of the cemetery in Siedlec began in 1511. Then the excavation of human remains was entrusted to the old and almost blind monk. However, this time the bones were not “buried” in the cellars: the monk bleached them with bleach, sorted them by type and put them into 6 pyramids. This is how the Kostnitsa was born in Kutna Hora, which was closed for 350 years after the death of the elder.

Ossuary Interior

Over time, the attitude of people towards the deceased somewhat changed – the bodies began to burn, so the chapels in Siedlec remained unclaimed for many years. The situation changed only in 1870, when the territory of the monastery passed into the possession of Prince Schwarzenberg. Remaining dissatisfied with what he saw, the new owner decided to completely redo everything. Frantisek Rint, a local woodcarver, was invited to reconstruct the chapel. He understood his task — to turn the church into something Gothic — in his own way, so instead of carved panels, pilasters and capitals, the interior of the chapel was decorated with the remains found underground. It is in this form that the Church of Kostnitsa in Siedlec has been preserved to this day. Now it is one of the most popular tourist sites not only in the Czech Republic, but also in Central Europe.

Architecture and interior

Outwardly, Kostnica in Kutna Hora looks like one of the many churches in the Czech Republic – a strict Gothic church with arched windows, several towers and ordinary geometric shapes. But the interior of the church is really amazing. But first things first!

Catholic church in Kostnice

In addition to the huge bone bells located on either side of the entrance to the crypt, here you can also see bone arches, arches, decorations and vases. Other elements of the interior are made from skeletonized human remains. Among them, the church’s iconostasis, donors and robes at the main altar deserves special attention, and a huge candelabrum decorated with garlands of skulls. If you look closely, you can see that not only the chandelier itself is made of bones, but also the bases for the candles, as well as the fixtures holding it.

The symbol of the Jesuits

The Schwarzenberg family coat of arms, which crowns a crown of bones with a cross, is also made in the same technique. Moreover, the carver Rint even made his own painting of bones. It is easy to see on the wall at the entrance to the temple.

The basement tomb deserves no less attention, near the doors of which there are several bone elements at once – sculptures in the form of huge goblets, a decorative cross and pillars of skulls and two crossed bones.

Practical information

Bone storage is located at: Zamecka 279, Kutna Hora 284 03, Czech Republic.

Opening hours of Kostnitsa in Kutna Hora:
  • October – March: 9.00-17.00;
  • April – September and Sunday: 9.00-18.00.

The crypt is open every day except December 24th.

Ticket price (in Czech crowns)
Bone storage
AdultsChildren, senior citizens, people with disabilities
Individual admission fee9060
Parents with children

Group of 8 and more people

75fifty
Kostnitsa + 1 Cathedral
Individual admission fee12080
Parents with children

Group of 8 and more people

11575
Kostnitsa + 2 Cathedrals
Individual admission feeAdultsSenior citizensChildren, people with disabilities
220155130

Tickets can be bought at the box office near the information center, located literally 200 meters from the crypt (Zámecká street 279). Ticket offices are open until 15.00. We accept both cash and bank cards.

On a note! You can check the relevance of prices and the work schedule on the official website of Kostnitsa – www.sedlec.info/en/ossuary/.

The prices and schedule on the page are for May 2019.

Find out RATES or book any accommodation using this form

Useful Tips

When you decide to visit the Sedlec Ossuary, heed the advice of tourists there.

    Student ID
  1. By presenting a student ID to the cashier, you can get a good discount.
  2. The easiest way to get to this attraction is by train, departing from the main railway station in Prague and following to the station Kutna Hora. Next – either on foot or by local bus.
  3. Remember that a trip to a bone depository can take much longer than expected. The “fault” is trains that are 90% late by 30-40 minutes.
  4. Photos inside must be taken without flash.
  5. Inspection of Kostnitsa in Kutna Hora is best done with a guide or an audio guide. In an extreme case – having previously familiarized yourself with the history of this place on the Internet.
  6. Having bought a combined ticket, you will be able to visit not only the church vault itself, but also the Cathedrals located next door – St. Barbara and Ascension of the Virgin Mary. By the way, along the way it is worth looking into other interesting places of Kutna Hora. So you not only save on sightseeing, but also justify the time spent on the road.
  7. St. Barbara's Cathedral
    Catholic church of St. Barbara
  8. Young children, pregnant women, and especially impressionable people should refrain from visiting this temple.
  9. Going to the Sedlec Ossuary, take some little things with you. Tourists believe that the person who left her at the altar will soon get rich. Whether this belief affected the financial situation of “parishioners” remains unknown. As for the temple itself, to date, mountains of coins have accumulated here from various countries.
  10. As you can see, Kostnitsa in the Czech Republic is a unique place that causes a lot of controversy and does not leave anyone indifferent. If you still decide to pay a visit here, do it soon. The fact is that the church itself and the surrounding land began to actively sag. There is a logical explanation for this phenomenon – under them, like under most objects of Kutna Hora and Siedlec, kilometers of underground mines and tunnels washed by water extend. Who knows, perhaps in the near future about the cemetery church of all the Saints there will be only memories.

    Video about a trip to Kostnitsa.



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