13 June 2009

The Kutna Hora Bone Church - Kostnice

A friend told us we had to go see Kostnice, otherwise known as the Bone Church, which is located in Kutna Hora about 1 hour by train from Prague. The Bone Church is decorated with between 40,000 and 70,000 skeletons. Lots of pictures, so click Finish Reading below.

Here is a video we made of the inside of the Bone Church, plus it shows Elora lighting a candle at the end. Set to Bach Tocatta Fugue in D minor, naturally.

The Bone Church is actually an Ossuary, or a little chapel in a graveyard. The skeletons were originally assembled in the 14th century by a blind monk but during a war in the late 1700s the church was severely damaged. So an architect was brought in during the 1800s to redecorate the church as it is seen today.

Elora happily skipped into the church saying, "I'm in a bone church! I'm in a bone church!" Strange child, what hath Karen wrought...

The decoration Elora is admiring is a Hapsburg coat of arms, made entirely of bones. Elora, unlike many kids, actually loves spooky skeletons. She associates them with pirates from the pirates of the carribean ride at Disneyland. She kept asking where the pirate treasure was hidden at Kostnice.

Yes that is some sort of odd shaped bone chandelier.

A close up of the coat of arms. We read that all of the arrangements have significance. It's just not willy nilly placement of bones. Not sure what the significance of the bird eating the eye of the skull is...

Using bones in the sculptures was supposed to signify the frailty of human existance and the some of the bone sculptures were supposed to signify hope in the resurrection. Hmmm, and you were thinking it was just creepy.

Surprisingly the church did not feel creepy at all. Maybe it was because it was outlandish to see human skeletons actually decorating a room that you just didn't think, hey wait, everyone of these bones belonged to a person with a family or was a kid or a mom or a brother, etc. Ok well that's creepy now....

Elora has always wanted to light the candles at the churches we go to. We figured there's only one time you get to go to a bone church, so it was a good place to light a candle. And it was only 20 cents...

Ollie loves pointing at things. And he especially loves going into churches. Because, unlike Elora who knows not to yell, Ollie does a quick shout with his voice to test the echo. If it's good, and his voice echos he immediately smiles and continues jabbering.

Here's Elora with some pirate gold we bought at the gift shop. Not really pirate gold, but the sales lady muttered some curse at me when we bought it. Now I can't experience joy or pain.

Oliver also really liked the bone church. He was happy to walk around jabbering or crawling into cob web filled corners. He came out of the church covered in cobwebs and dust. So apparently Ollie did his part to leave it cleaner than he found it.

All those bones made us hungry! Yummy ice cream treat.

After walking out of the graveyard Elora found X marks the spot for the Bone Church. She ran up to it and sat down next to it, very proudly yelling, "It's a pirate!"

Elora found a rose bush and was very excited to play in the rose garden.

This picture really doesn't serve much purpose. Other than it was a cool looking run down building with broken windows and a dingy door. Someday our house back home will look like that. Wait, it already does... Elora kept saying, "Why is it broken? Who broke it? What did they break it for?"

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