Culture & Society Czech Republic News

Czech Republic’s notorious Sedlec Ossuary to ban selfies

Prague, Czech Republic – The famous Sedlec ossuary, one of the top tourist attractions in the Czech Republic outside of Prague, unveiled new photography guidelines to restrict inappropriate selfies and pictures in the landmark site.

Located in the Bohemian town of Kutna Hora, some 70 kilometers east of Prague, the Sedlec ossuary, otherwise known as the “Church of Bones”, has long drawn large crowds of tourists attracted by its unusual and macabre setting.

Located beneath the Church of All Saints, the Sedlec ossuary hosts over 50,000 skeleton remains of people who died during the plague and Hussite wars, that have been rearranged in a decorative fashion in the 19th century.

This uniquely sinister site, which attracts around half a million visitors every year, has seen a sharp rise in abuses from tourists, whose disrespectful behaviour towards the historical and religious significance of the 14th-century ‘bone church’ has led local authorities to significantly restrict their right to take pictures as of next year.

As of 2020, visitors will need to ask for permission from the parish three days in advance if they wish to take pictures inside the ossuary. Radka Krejčí, director of the Sedlec parish, told local media that “we believe our visitors will respect this decision and at the same time understand the reasons that led us to this step”.

The new guidelines, which also apply to the nearby Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, mainly seeks to dissuade visitors from taking inappropriate pictures and selfies inside the ‘Church of Bones’.

The Sedlec ossuary has unsurprisingly become one of the most Instagrammable places in the Czech Republic, a fame with rather unsavory consequences: tourists removing bones from their display, touching them despite obvious signs forbidding them to, or even putting sunglasses or hats on skulls for their quick snapshots.

Kutna Hora, where the notorious church is located and whose city center is part of the Czech Republic’s UNESCO protected sites, is one of the most popular day trips from Prague. If you’re thinking about going there, be sure to check out Kafkadesk‘s very own tips to know what to do and what to see in this beautiful Bohemian city.

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