As we were spending 5 nights in Prague I convinced Jane to take a day trip somewhere else. That somewhere was a place called Kutna Hora a town 73 kms south of Prague with a population of around 21,000 people. Why Kutna Hora you may ask? Well this small out of the way place is the home to a small church that has an ossary where some 40,000 dead people's bones are displayed in bizarre fashion.....although some may say artistic. Skeletal parts form part of the ceilings decorations, candle holders and even a chandelier type arrangement (I will post some photos). Most of the 40,000 bones are however stacked neatly into 4 large mounds in each corner of the crypt. Without some background you may wonder why a church of all places would do such a thing. Originally the site was a cemetery. Apparently around the late 1200's a monk who had been sent to the holy land brought back some soil from Golgotha (the place where Jesus was crucified) and sprinkled it on this site. Immediately it made this cemetery the most desirable place to be buried. With the plague and wars the cemetery was overcrowded and so included some mass graves. In the 1400's a church was built in the cemetery and to make room it required some of these mass graves to be exhumed. An ossuary below the church was planned to store the exhumed bones. originally the bones were just stacked into 4 bell shaped mounds. It was in more recent times around 1870 that a local wood carver was employed to "tidy the ossuary up a bit", and so I assume he used his artistic flair to produce what we see today. While not everyone's choice of a tourist attraction, we had to admit it was unique. I know this sort of thing wouldn't tickle everyone's funny bone, but for me you'd have to be a numbskull not to at least show some interest.......and no, I won't resort to lame jokes such as what do skeletons say before dining? Bone apetit .... Or what instrument does a skeleton play? A Trombone.... Or who won the skeleton beauty contest? Nobody.
Now back to The town of Kutna Hora. Well for some, once you go to the ossuary, there is not much else to see except another church such as Saint Barbara's. I never knew there was a Saint called Barbara...and for me it just doesn't sit right. Barbara is one of those names from the 1950's and 60's. Who calls their kid Barbara these days? It is a name from my childhood where you always knew someone who had an Aunty Barbara ... or Barb for short. Anyway, back to the church. It was for a town the size of Kutna Hora quite impressive and apparently based on Saint Vitus Cathedral which is at Prague Castle...but on a smaller scale. The town was quite wealthy in its day as there were silver mines and industries developed around the silver such as the mint. For us though, it was just a quieter day. After a wander down the narrow cobblestone streets and a bit of lunch we returned to Prague knowing we'd dragged our old bag of bones to Kutna Hora and didn't have to break a leg doing it.