Foxfeather (foxfeather) wrote,

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Czechia: Part Deux

Detail of a coat of arms at Kostnice Ossuary. Yes, those are real human bones!

This was my second trip to Europe, and the Czech Republic. It was primarily a family visit trip, but Roman and I did spend a bit of time touring places we had not seen the last time out. The highlight of our travels, for me, was Kutna Hora and the Kostnice Ossuary in Sedlec. This unique old church holds the remains of over 40,000 people – in 1870 an artist arranged many of these bones into fantastical sculptures and works of art.

Towers of bones in the chapel.
I apologize for the photo quality - we actually forgot to bring our normal camera (left it in the car before we got to the airport - thankfully it was still there when we got back!) so these were taken with my little Flip camcorder).

Skulls and crossbones along the wall.

Bone sculpture. Somehow I imagine this with a floral arrangement of dried pussywillows and dead irises.

Enormous bone chandelier, probably the most famous pieces in the church.
There was a nice little shrine to the deceased with candles lit nearby.

Hanging over the exit from the main church area.

My favorite piece – an intricate coat of arms. This is the piece the first photo (detail of the bone raven picking at the skull) is from.

Skull detail. There was an exhibit along one wall that had skulls with healed bone scars or grievous (deadly) impact injuries - they were quite interesting (one of the skulls looked like a cleaver had gone through it) but I didn't get any good photos of them.

Enormous bone chandelier, probably the most famous pieces in the church.

Another view, looking in from the entrance.

Excess bones stacked in the corners of the church.

The original Lord Voldemort.

I was very impressed by the ossuary. I was expecting it to be a dark place – like a haunted catacomb – instead, it was more like an art gallery; well lit, interesting structures and a distinct lack of spiderwebs and dimly lit corridors. It’s just such a unique structure – I can’t imagine seeing something like that in the U.S. Spending time in buildings, areas with over a thousand years of human history – really amazing.

Beautiful, scenic walk in a park outside of Prague.

An intricate mural on a wall in Prachatice - South Bohemia.

Mural detail.

In Czechia even the sewer covers are cool.

This was a little village we stopped at that had baroque style facades on the outsides of all the buildings.

Another interesting facade.

One ulterior motive we had to this trip was to look at land as we had considered moving out there for some time. We found out (not surprisingly) that any places with a significant acreage were all so remote there would be no way for Mbala to commute back and forth to work. If he didn't have to commute we could just buy 1000 acres in Wyoming. :P It was neat to see what a rural 'country' house in CZ consisted of. When we were checking out this place, we met with some neighbors who were walking Ovtcharkas (looked to be of the Caucasian variety) which was neat - I'd never seen them in person before. Very impressive dogs!

One other neat thing in CZ - we were driving in the country and came upon a little village where there was a big sign of a pig in the middle of the town, outside this pub/tavern type place. We stopped and sure enough - it was a village pig roast. Where a pig is slaughtered then all different foods/meats/sausages are made and everyone comes to eat. It was really like stepping back in time. Well, except for the little gas-station style freezer with Russian ice cream in it (which I enjoyed immensely!) - it's amazing to me that places like that actually exist.

I am really lucky to have the chance to visit this amazing country regularly to see family - I just wish it was closer ;).
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