Officially called the Cemetery Church of All Saints with Ossuary, it really is a fascinating place. Located in an underground chapel of the church, it was part of the Sedlec monastery. The church was built in the 14th century, and according to legend, one of the local abbots brought soil from Jerusalem and scattered it around the cemetery making it the oldest so-called “holy field” in Central Europe. After the plague in 1318, around 30,000 bodies were buried here and 10,000 more courtesy of the Hussite wars. The cemetery was abolished at the end of the 15th century and the exhumed bones were placed inside the church. Hence the beginning of our story in which a half-blind monk arranged them into a pyramid in 1511.
The present bone arrangement dates from 1870 and is the work of a Czech woodcarver, František Rint – look for his name, signed in bones of course, on the right-hand wall over the last bench. The largest collections of bones are arranged in the form of bells in the four corners of the chapel while one of Rint’s most interesting creations is the chandelier in the centre of the nave which contains all the bones of the human body. The ossuary contains the remains of about 40,000 people.
Open 08:00-18:00, Sun 09:00-18:00 (Apr–Sept); 09:00-17:00 (Mar, Oct); 09:00-16:00 (Nov-Dec).