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Cemetery Church of All Saints at Sedlec - Ossuary

A little church of All Saints is situated in the middle of the picturesque cemetery in Sedlec. The capacity of the cemetery was not sufficient to take all victims of plague and Hussite wars, during which the monastery was burned down and monks were massacred, and, therefore, skeletal remains were deposited in the lower chapel.

Legend has it that in the late 13th century, Henry, the abbot of the Sedlec monastery, brought back a handful of soil from the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, and scattered it all over the cemetery which began to be regarded as a part of the Holy Land and the dead buried here included people from Bohemia, Poland, Bavaria and even Belgium. Thousands of victims of the plague epidemics also rest here. The number of the graves increased significantly at the time of the Hussite wars when the monastery was burnt to ashes and when battles were waged in the vicinity of Kutná Hora after the Hussite wars, parts of the cemetery were abolished.

The chapel built in the late 14th century now stands in the middle of only a small cemetery. Originally built with a two-aided nave, it was erected over a basement space by the team of builders engaged by Wenceslas IV to complete the Italian Court. Its current appearance dates back to the time of its Baroque reconstruction undertaken by Santini-Aichl in the early 18th century. The interior of the chapel is a curiosity. It is decorated almost exclusively with human bones, first arranged in pyramids by a half-blind monk in 1511. After Emperor Joseph II's reforms, the Sedlec monastery was purchased by the Orlik line of the Schwarzenberg family, the interior was given its present shape. Woodcarver Frantisek Rint designed the unique skeletal decorations. The bones were thoroughly disinfected before use.

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