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Ossuary | by Todd Huffman
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Ossuary

The Sedlec Ossuary is the most interesting place I visited in Europe this summer.

 

The history goes back to 1278, when a monk brought earth from Golgotha back to what is now the Czech Republic and sprinkled it in his abbey's cemetery. During the Plague in the 14th century tens of thousands of bodies were buried there, because of the religious implications of having Jesus dirt near your corpse.

 

In 1511 a half-blind monk started digging up the bones and stacking them in the chapel.

 

In 1870 a woodcarver was employed by the Schwarzenberg's to restack the bones, and he arranged them as you see here.

 

The raw immensity of the human remains is staggering, and compounded by a stunning and macabre artistic exploration of mortality. Or something. It was totally nuts.

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Taken on June 29, 2007