Eight-hundred years ago in the Bohemian town of Kutna Hora, the abbot of Sedlec after returning from a trip from Jerusalem sprinkled dirt from the Holy Land over the cemetery of the Sedlec Monastery. Word of the holy cemetery spread throughout and it became the most famous and most coveted burial ground in all of Bohemia and Central Europe. Hundreds of wealthy people sent their remains to Kutna Hora to be buried in the holy ground of Sedlec and once the plague took hold of the region, the bodies literally began to pile up.
In the fifteenth century, a church was erected in the middle of the cemetery to store the bones and in the late nineteenth century, it was time for a redesign. A Czech woodworker, rearranged the bones to decorate the church, recreating the patron family's crest, garlands of skulls, goblets made of femurs, and even a chandelier made from every bone in the human body, which was unfortunately taken away for restoration when I visited.
Chandelier or no chandelier, I couldn't leave the Czech Republic without seeing this grotesquely fascinating landmark--especially since Kutna Hora is only an hour away from Prague by train. You might read about piles of bones usually as props to enhance the maliciousness of evil witches and dragons, but you can't understand the magnitude of "a pile" until you come face to face to face to face with four immense mountains skulls.
The ossuary holds the remains of an estimated 40,000 people. I'm not usually one to get excited about math, but when you consider the average lifespan in the middle ages was 40 years, that means that inside this small church are the remains of 160,000 years of lives lived.