Previously I alluded to a trip to Kutna Hora. A small town outside Prague known for two things:
- Home to more than it’s fair share of World Heritage sites; and
- A name that you don’t want to mispronounce
Located an hour outside of Prague I ventured outside the city limits – an early morning start to get a jump on the hordes that will be sight seeing later that day. The train ride was shared by kids on a school field trip. They were well behaved, well after I gave them a bit of tough love and exposure to a few English words they would not have been taught in Grade 5 English class *
The train pulled up at the station before Kutna Hora and I bucked the trend and alighted early with a handful of others. I had read that one of the attractions was outside the town centre so I started walking, a sign 2.1km –》giving flimsy reassurance. Shortly after I realised I must have been on the right track, the footpath had evolved from dirt to cement and there were no dead bodies on the side of the road. At this point my morning amble was interrupted by a group of young men a few hundred metres behind asking me to stop.
The 6 men, I later found out University buddies studying in Austria, were hoping that I was headed to The Bone Church. I replied I was and they asked if they could join me. I didn’t mind, search parties tend to spend more time searching if a bigger group goes missing. Anyway I was nearly twice their age and if the worst happened and a fight occurred, I assured myself I had them all covered except for the two Vietnamese guys.
We passed the town’s biggest employer other than tourism, Philip Morris, the multinational tobacco company. We must have been headed in the right direction? But we didn’t have time to stop for a couple of bungers, there was adventures to be had.
The others had introduced themselves and they had come from all over the globe to study in Austria. The alpha male of the group was an all denim wearing kid (Moji, or emoji with a silent e) from Finland who looked as if he had been transplanted from a 80’s music video. There were two Argentineans, Julio and Javier, two Vietnamese whose names I can’t recall and a Taiwanese guy with glasses whose name also escapes me. It was about this time I had this stupid idea that my new found friends could form a boyband. I would manage them and riches and fame would be guaranteed, while primary school girls screech themselves hoarse.
Before we got to the Church the boyband informed me that they hadn’t had breakfast. This was something we had in common so we all paid a visit to the cafe 50m away from the Church. I ordered a toasted sandwich and a cuppa while the others ordered food and teas which aligned to their various upbringings.
They were all chatty, asking questions about Australia, our convict heritage and whether I knew of our soccer export, Tim Cahill. The Taiwanese guy was interested in my upcoming trip to Hong Kong while the other four joined me in bemoaning how cold it was. Like me, the Vietnamese and South Americans had never experienced subzero temperatures on a regular basis before.
The sign on the wall with the numbers corresponds to a European Union regulation to list the possible allergens in certain dishes. Each number relates to an item like nuts, fish, soy etc. Judging by the lotto numbers appearing next to the sandwich I had just eaten there was a chance my body would breakout in a deadly rash and my final resting place may well be the Bone Church.
Sedlec Ossuary, better known by tourists as The Bone Church, started off as a cemetery. In 1400AD a gothic church was built in the middle of the cemetery. A byproduct of digging in a cemetery is obviously bones and in 1870 a well off Czech family organised Frantisek Rint to utilise these within the church.
The result is one of the most incredible things I have seen. Fascinating yet macabre, you tend to forget that these are human remains as it is so artistic. The church itself is very small yet is is estimated between 40,000 and 70,000 bones are there.
It looks as if it is the setting for a Tim Burton movie. Whilst we were there a young group of archaeologists were there finding new materials.
Who knows it might give you some design inspiration? Now you will see your elderly Aunt’s fibula in a whole different light.
As part of the entry into the Bone Church you were granted access to two other historical sites. The second of which may have the longest title of any attraction in Europe – The Church of Assumption of Our Lady and Saint John the Baptist. A church was built on the site around 1142AD and burnt down. A new church was built around the turn of the 18th century.
Regardless of religious persuasion the effort and beauty in these buildings was something to remember. Apologies for the poor photos, no flashes allowed.
I found it weird that The Museum of Tobacco is basically an annexure to this historical site.
My travel companions were taking photos as if they knew they were about to get dementia. Between each attraction they were risking life and limb for photos that would soon clog up the internet’s social media channels. Providing they don’t plummet to their death, this yearning for publicity could bode well for the boyband?
The last of our triumvirate of attractions was St Barbara’s Church. Work commenced on this in 1388 and due to wars didn’t get finalised until 1588. I will spare you the history lesson and substitute it with some pictures.
By the end of the ride home I convinced myself the boyband wouldn’t work. I heard one of them humming a tune and it sounded that bad I was begging for the train to derail and turn into a fireball. But if there are any music industry types wanting some talent, I have sorted out the posssible back cover of the debut album.
* the kids on the train were well behaved. Spent the entire time sharing stories about their mobile phone apps.