Kutná Hora and the Sedlac Ossuary

Leaving Bratislava, it was time to embark on a new country: the Czech Republic. First stop, a small medieval town known as Kutná Hora -well known for it’s Sedlac Ossuary and only an hour away from Prague. Having hardly heard of this place before, my expectations were non-existent and I was excited to see what this place would actually be like.

The travel there was an absolute nightmare. The worst I’ve experienced throughout this whole journey. After leaving Bratislava, our first train we hopped on to Kolín was all fine and dandy except for the slight delay we experienced. However this delay, caused us to miss our connection to Kutná Hora which meant we had to wait 40 minutes for the next train. At this point we were starving, had no food and no Czech Koruna’s to our name. Kolín station seemed like a very strange place too. Maybe it was just because we were there in the evening but it seemed a bit of a ghost town with the odd drunk stumbling through. I had bad vibes, but there was no-where else to go. And with the only food in our pockets being some sweets one of us picked up in Bratislava and a couple of breakfast biscuits brought from home, we sustained ourselves and thankfully 40 minutes went by, and our train delayed yet again finally arrived. We hopped on for 10 minutes, and got off at Kutná Hora Hlavní Nádraží (the main train station), however yet again the delay caused us to miss our next train to Kutná Hora Mesto. Our next train we had to be on for only 7 minutes. Our next train that would be coming in 2 hours time. Meaning we would have to wait 2 bloody hours for a small 7 minute journey. Feeling fed up, we decided to leave the station and find out if we could get a bus or walk. With google maps telling me the walk to our guesthouse would be an hour, that option seemed out. The only option left was to find a bus. Not knowing where we really going, staring hopelessly at a bus stop time table I didn’t understand and starting to panic as there were no Ubers in this area I was starting to wonder if this small town was really a good idea after all.

HOWEVER WOULD YOU BELIEVE OUR LUCK A TAXI APPEARED OUT OF NOWHERE. May I just add at this point, this place was dead, we were LITERALLY the only people around, there were no cars on the road, no traffic, no nothing. It was dark and we had no idea where we were. So we were getting this taxi, and we were getting out of here. Fully preparing myself, I got out my phone and went on my Google translate app to write down the address of our guesthouse and ask if the taxi man could take us considering we could barely say one word in Czech put together. BUT THEN AGAIN LUCK STROOK US AND OUR TAXI DRIVER, FROM THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, ACTUALLY SPOKE FLUENT ENGLISH. No joke, I think someone was actually looking over us at this point and taking us to safety. After a bliss, comfortable taxi ride to our guesthouse Penzion Retro (being in a car after 3 weeks and being driven around privately felt so luxurious) we finally arrived and were greeted by the guesthouse owner and shown to our rooms. It was lush. It was perfect. It was a dream. Finally after all this time, we finally had our own space and it was so quiet and peaceful. It broke my heart to think we’d only be here one night, I wanted to stay in this place forever. The owner of the guesthouse gave us some pointers, telling us where the town and currency exchange place was, etc, etc. We had 10 minutes to get the currency exchange before it supposedly closed. The town was only a 5 minute walk away. So we dropped our bags and went on a hunt to get some Czech Korunas. This hunt, turned into manic running up and down the quiet streets of Kutná Hora to find this place, but we couldn’t see a thing (not literally, just nothing that looked like a currency exchange shop). We must’ve looked like lunatics, after running around for a good 10 minutes, asking two random strangers who kindly pointed us in the direction of ATM’s, we gave up and just sat and marvelled at the town we were now in. It was so quiet and peaceful. It felt like the polar opposite of everything we had been in so far (main towns and cities obviously). It was just so beautiful, there was a beautiful church sitting up on the hill all lit up – it looked like Hogwarts. This whole place just looked magical. It was truly enchanting.

After seeing some bats, watching some fireworks in the distance and hearing strange noises to this day I still have no idea what they were we decided to go on a new hunt. A hunt for food. As we were quickly becoming a man down, and I think deep down we were all dying of starvation. Now this was a small town, as I’ve mentioned. There didn’t seem to be any small supermarkets, corner shops, nothing. It was 10pm and everything was closed, except for one restaurant. We went running in frantically, asking if they were still open and if they’d except Euros. Yes to both questions, we sat down and began to relax in this small pub feeling, hotel restaurant. After some strange but tasty food (I had fried cheese in a potato pancake) we got chatting to the very lovely, very charming waiter, who was really the main treat of this evening. Just as enchanting as this town, he put a spell on us all. Found out so much about him, just not his name. Forever in my mind he’ll be unknown. But he’ll always be the nicest, most charming waiter/person I have ever come across in my whole life who spent time jotting all his recommendations for us to do the next day on our map. Maybe it was just him, or maybe it’s just Czech’s in general but he was one lovely, lovely guy.

After the most delightful sleep of this whole holiday, and a home-made breakfast from the guesthouse owner I felt well equipped to tackle this day. We begun off by walking around the town, finally found the currency exchange so got our Korunas at last and went to the torture “museum” which was really just in the basement of the Italian Court with some old-fashioned torture instruments with a background story of why or how they were used. Quite interesting, quite spooky. It was nice that we were the only ones in there, not sure if your meant to pay for the museum though? No one was around so we just waltzed straight through. It was at this moment, well slightly after this moment when we came out of the basement that we realised to our horror that we were trapped inside the Court as a private wedding was going on right in front of the entrance/exit of the building. Anxiety rose quickly, we were literally the only people in the building. We tried to find another exit, however all the doors were locked. We must have spent a good half an hour trapped in this building, debating on what we could do, how we could get out. We were the only foreigners around. We were watching a private wedding happen. It was at this moment as well, that it dawned on us that we probably never should have been in the building in the first place. Which made sense why no-one was on the entrance of the museum, why no-one else was around, why the doors were locked. Anxiety levels became sky high after this, but after a while we saw a tour group accidentally walk through the wedding group who were taking their wedding pictures, we bolted. We hid ourselves in this group and finally we were free. We went and found a church to relax in and calm our nerves.

Soon as we were ready we went and got the bus to the Sedlac Ossuary (only a 15 minute journey or so). For those who don’t know, the Sedlac Ossuary is a bone church. It was literally a room filled with things made out of bones. Quite similar to the catacomb in Vienna however this seemed to be a little bit less of a public burial place, and the bones weren’t just chucked in a room. Instead they were all delicately place, each one on top of each other creating a wall, or into ornaments hanging from the wall or a centrepiece in the middle of the room. They were all displayed as individual art pieces. Apparently the bones to 40,000 people lay to rest here, it was absolutely stunning. I never even knew places like this existed, it was so stunning. It’s imprinted in my memory. It was so surreal. Amazingly surreal.

Our time there wasn’t that long, considering the Ossuary isn’t really that large. So on our arrival back to town we headed to St. Barbara’s Church which was simply stunning, the stained glass windows were a thing of beauty. The whole architecture of this place was breathtaking. From the outside it was just as beautiful, but in daylight it no longer looked like Hogwarts. Proceeding this we wondered around the town some more, grabbed dinner in this restaurant were I had bean goulash that resembled Heinz baked beans but was probably a bit more nutritious and then decided it was time to make our way back to the city. Back to civilisation but to a place we’d never been before.

7 cities down, 4 more to go.

Previous stop: Bratislava, Slovakia

Next stop: Prague, Czech Republic

Top tips for Kutná Hora:

  • Go to the Sedlac Ossuary
  • Spend longer than 1 night, preferably never leave
  • Stay in Penzion Retro
  • View St. Barbara’s Church by day and night
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