Sunday, April 17, 2011

Kutna Hora

On Saturday April 16, I took an impromptu trip to Kutna Hora.  I got up at 5 am to catch the 6 am train. Kutna Hora is about 3 hours away from Tabor and about an hour from Prague.  It is an easy day trip from Prague and a popular one.

I arrived at 9 am and set off to explore before I met up with Calan at 10.  At first impressions, Kutna Hora is not any place I would want to go to...but after the 30 minute walk from the train station, you arrive to the heart of the city and into the amazing medieval world everyone brags about.

There are many churches in Kutna Hora.  Kutna Hora was established in 1142 as a mining town.  Unfortunately the Thirty Year War devastated much of the town, otherwise it would have been the second Prague.  There are four prominent churches in the town.  This is Monastic Church of the Assumption of Our Lady.  It was built in 1142 and it is the largest building in Gothic style in Bohemia.

As you walk into town further, you come upon one of the most beautiful churches.  This is St. Barbara's Church and was built in 1388.  It resembles the church in Prague.

The church is soooo detailed with its Gothic Style.  The stained glass windows illuminate the brilliant colors, especially with the sun light shinning through them.  I have to recommend going early in the morning to see the sights because you are able to appreciate the architecture without all the tourists around. They are working on the landscape around the church and I can only imagine how beautiful it will be when all the flowers are in bloom.

As with almost every medieval city, there is a statue remembering those who lost their lives due to the Plague.  This statue stands in the middle of the town surrounded by restaurants and shops.

One of the main churches in Kutna Hora is the Bone Church.  The bone church is out of the main town, near the train station.  Calan and I met up with some of our friends from Olomouc to explore this infamous church.
It is called the Kotnice Sedlec Ossuary and it has an interesting history.  In 1278 a man named Henry took a pilgrimage to Palestine.  He brought back with him some dirt and he said that it was Holy Soil.  He poured the soil over the cemetery and it became known as sacred ground.

Entrance to the Bone Church

Many people during that time wanted to be buried there so many bodies accumulated, especially during the time of the plague.  People believed you would reach heaven faster if you were buried here since it was sacred ground.

By 1318 over 30,000 bodies were buried here.

Chandelier of actual bones

In 1511 a half bind monk was given the task to gather all the bones from the abolished graves and put them in the crypt to make room for new "customers".

In 1870 a local woodcarver was hired to decorate the inside of the church with the bones.  There were over 40,000 sets of human bones inside the church that the woodcarver had to use in his decoration.

You would think that it would be eerie and creepy being inside the Bone Church but it actually wasn't.  It had a peaceful feel.  As creepy as it may sound, these people volunteered to be buried here and as a Christian I believe that their souls are in heaven and yet their bones are left behind as art.

Now, I am not saying that I would like my own bones to be used as a art display when I die but during this time, what else was the artist going to do with the bones.  He turned them into art.

This is not the type of art I would buy and place in my house but the bones are inside a church, not in a house or museum.

The Chandelier, hangs in middle of the church.  There are full body sets of bones used in the chandelier.

This hangs over the staircase to the entrance of the Bone church.

The artist created a shield of arms in remembrance to the leaders of the time...completely made of bones.  Behind the shield is one of 4 "boxes" piled high with human bones.

I think this is the most interesting place I have taken a self portrait.

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