Travel photography and stock images by Stephen Bay
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Sedlec Bone Church Photos

Czech Republic
The All Saints Cemetery Church and Ossuary in Sedlec appears to be a normal small town church on the outside. However, the ossuary underneath the chapel is a macabre sight, decorated with the skeletal remains of more than 40,000 people who died for the Black Death (plague) and wars in medieval times.

The bones in the chapel were first stacked into heaps by Cistercian monks. Later in 1870, the Schwarzenberg family hired a Czech woodcarver and carpenter, Frantisek Rint, to organize the bones. No one knows what inspired his creativity, but he was a talented sculptor. He created a giant changelier made from every bone in the human body, and the Schwarzenberg coat of arms complete with a raven pecking at the skull of a Turk. Of course he left his signature in bone.

The intricate designs in the Sedlec Ossuary are unique. It may sound morbid, but it is a fascinating and impressive display, intended to remind visitors of the impermanence of lift and the fact of death.

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