Europe,  Travel

Kutna Hora: The Perfect Day Trip from Prague

On our second weekend in Prague, Colin and I decided to take a spontaneous day trip to Kutna Hora. It’s a quick and easy day trip from Prague, and I would highly recommend it for an afternoon.

Kutna Hora is a small town in Central Bohemia, about an hour from Prague by train. It’s very easy to get to, with trains leaving almost every hour, and most of them direct.

The big draw of Kutna Hora is the Sedlec Ossuary. As you’ll see below, the Sedlec Ossuary is a cave-like space, located beneath a church, where the skeletons from 40,000–70,000 people have been turned into macabre art. An ossuary is usually a space, as big as a house or as small as a box, where skeletal remains are housed when gravesites become too full. What’s interesting about this ossuary is that instead of just storing the skeletons, they are rearranged into art and furnishings all around the rooms.

Kutna Hora is the perfect little day trip from Prague, Czech Republic. It's only an hour away, has an adorable old town, and the coolest Sedlec Ossuary! #kutnahora #prague #travel #traveltips #europe

The church itself was built in 1400 and skeletons began moving into the ossuary in 1511. But it wasn’t until 1870 that woodcarver František Rint began arranging the skeletons into what we see today.

As our main reason for visiting Kutna Hora, Sedlec Ossuary was our first stop. It’s about a 15 minute walk from the train station, though there’s also a bus.

The cemetery outside of the ossuary
The signature of the artist, Rint, from 1870 made out of bones
The chandelier has at least one of every bone in the human body

It was a super cool experience to see all of these bones and art pieces. I thought I would be grossed out, but it was actually just really cool. And luckily, it wasn’t too crowded when we went to visit so we could really see everything. It’s not a huge space, so a lot of people in there would have been a problem. We joked that for Colin, who had to step away from his x-ray job back in Vancouver when we moved to Prague, this was the best way for him to get back to bones. And he definitely enjoyed pointing out different bones and telling me which ones they were.

From Sedlec Ossuary, we walked into the Old Town, which took about 20-30 minutes (again, there’s a bus option). In the Old Town, we admired the winding streets and pretty buildings. While there were lots of pretty things to look at, it wasn’t the most beautiful little town I’ve ever seen – which I think just speaks to how lucky I have been in my travels. It’s worth a stroll through, but I would have to say the buildings in Prague, especially in our neighbourhood, are better 😉

Kutna Hora is the perfect little day trip from Prague, Czech Republic. It's only an hour away, has an adorable old town, and the coolest Sedlec Ossuary! #kutnahora #prague #travel #traveltips #europe

The weirdest, and also the nicest, part about the Old Town was how quiet it was. It was deserted! It felt like a ghost town, which was quite eerie after visiting the ossuary. We were shocked to see the streets completely empty and only a few people walking around or sitting at the restaurants. And, being a Sunday, most of the shops were closed too. This was a welcome break from the crowds we experienced in Prague’s Old Town. So if you’re looking to explore a place you can have to yourself, I definitely recommend Kutna Hora.

Ghost town!
The Stone Fountain, built in 1495, supplied the drinking water for Kutna Hora until 1890

After refueling with coffee and cake, we walked around the Old Town and admired the buildings, the Stone Fountain and the Plague Column. We looked at some churches and enjoyed the beautiful view of the valley and the Jesuit College in the distance.

My dream is to have something like this on a house I live in one day!
The Plague Column, built in 1713, to commemorate victims of the plague at that time
Jesuit College off to the right

I think there was more of Kutna Hora for us to see and discover. It would have been nice to just wander the streets some more and find the hidden gems around every corner. And I think going into some of the churches would have been pretty cool too. But we ran out of time as we wanted to get back to Prague in time for dinner and walking Ellie, who we left behind for this quick trip (we assumed a dog wouldn’t be welcome in a church full of bones).

Ending with a few more ossuary photos!
Can you spot the teeth? What about the ribs coming out of the scalp?

We had an awesome time exploring Kutna Hora and seeing the Sedlec Ossuary up close. I would highly recommend Kutna Hora as the perfect little day trip from Prague, and could really be done in just half a day. I love that we’re able to go on these little day trips or weekend trips from our new base here in Prague. And I really love that we’re taking advantage of these opportunities and heading out on little trips only a couple of weeks into living here.


Have you visited anything like Kutna Hora’s Sedlec Ossuary?
Do you find this sort of art cool or gross?

 

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Kutna Hora is the perfect little day trip from Prague, Czech Republic. It's only an hour away, has an adorable old town, and the coolest Sedlec Ossuary! #kutnahora #prague #travel #traveltips #europe

Kutna Hora is the perfect little day trip from Prague, Czech Republic. It's only an hour away, has an adorable old town, and the coolest Sedlec Ossuary! #kutnahora #prague #travel #traveltips #europe

9 Comments

  • Kathryn

    Okay, when I first read 40-70k people’s skeletons, it seemed gross or creepy and I wondered who decides for the deceased that’s what would be done with their bones, but then I thought perhaps a lot of people would think it’s cool and an honour to have their bones made into art so they are still involved in the society they lived and died at instead of just buried in the ground never to be seen and who knows, perhaps some people are claustrophobic and the thought of being buried 6 ft under all alone in the dark isn’t a pleasant thought. In the end, I just read on and admired the art work in the ossuary.

    Thanks again for posting these quick getaway opportunities. I think it’s great to share your experience so others in the area can do a side trip.

    I love the pictures you take, these ones with the landscape and Jesuit College to the side is especially breathtaking. Beautiful! ❤

    • Riana

      That’s a cool way to look at it! Would be a pretty cool honour if your skull got chosen to be the main one in the coat of arms or something 🙂 My understanding is that ossuaries start when there isn’t enough room to bury all the dead so they have to house the bones somewhere else. So why not turn them into art? Thanks for the compliments on my posts and photos – excited to share more!

  • MonkeysVentures

    What a wonderful macabre site! We would definitely love to spend some time strolling around Kutna Hora, and, of course, see the Ossuary. The creativity and work put into these exclusive designs (the chandelier… wow) is beyond words. Thank you for sharing!

    • Riana

      Sorry, I don’t! But maybe you could Google it and find the name? That’s very interesting that this area all used to have German names. Thanks for letting me know!

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