‘Church of bones’ to ban selfies with skeletons

Posted by Anita Froneman on 17 October 2019

Known as the ‘Church of bones’, a popular underground attraction in a small town outside of Prague, Czech Republic, is now banning unsolicited photography completely.

This step by the Sedlec parish has been taken as a measure to preserve the UNESCO Heritage Site, as well as to keep tourists from showing disrespect to the remains of an estimated 60,000 deceased people.


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Up to half a million tourists visit Sedlec Ossuary, the official name of the site, as well as the nearby Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and St. John the Baptist (also included in the ban) each year.

Some tourists remove the bones, dress up skulls to pose with them or kiss the skeletons for photos to post on their social media platforms, despite signs asking visitors to remember that these are still the remains of people and to not interact with them in an inappropriate way.

Besides showing disrespect, the touching and handling of these ancient bones can also lead to damage.


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However, visitors who wish to take snapshots may do so if they obtain the necessary permission from the parish three days ahead of time, according to CNN.

Why is a church is filled with skeletons in the first place?

It all goes back to 1278 when the King of Bohemia sent the abbot of the Sedlec Cistercian Monastery to Jerusalem, according to sedlecossuary.com.
When the abbot came back he brought a jar of soil from Golgotha, which was known as ‘Holy Soil’. Soon people from all over desired to be buried in Sedlec, thus the cemetery there had to be expanded.

In the 15th century, a Gothic church was built near the cemetery and its basement was used as an ossuary. The bones stayed there for centuries until 1870 when a woodcarver named Frantisek Rint was appointed to place the bones in order. His creative idea has resulted in this slightly creepy but impressive and world-famous design.


Image: CNN Travel

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