Melnik Bouquet

I’m back home. Happy to see that our piles of snow melted in my absence. However, I’m not quite ready to put the bones behind me, and hopefully you’re not either since I have a couple more ossuaries to tell you about (what a relief to post from a desktop computer rather than pecking away on the phone.)

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One of our last outings in the Czech Republic brought us to the small town of Melnik (spelled with various tick marks and accents over the vowels and pronounced as if you had a mouthful of honey),

IMG_1908   IMG_1951where the 10th – 11th century cliff-side church of St. Peter and St. Paul’s sits atop a densely packed, little-visited ossuary holding the bones of 10, 000 to 15,000 deceased and one dessicated but still brilliantly red bouquet of roses.

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Hannah and I paid the modest entry fee and stepped into this dirt floored, cob-webbed crypt    IMG_1948                                           accompanied by piped in funereal music. We were on our own and Hannah got right to work documenting all the teeth with photos and sketches. This can take some time, but hey, this is what we were here for.  IMG_1944

IMG_1918  IMG_1920

IMG_1922  IMG_1927 (you see the skulls spelling in Latin, yes?)

Suddenly the music stopped and the ticket taker, who was well out of view, called out several sentences to us in Czech and then we heard her feet ascend the stairs, leaving us undisturbed and wondering what on earth she had just told us. Once Hannah finished her teeth documentation we headed up and found that the ticket taker had apparently closed up “shop”, but luckily just with a rope which could easily be untied–no wonder we had had the crypt to ourselves!

From the crypt we headed next door to the  Lobkowicz castle. Replenished by our coffee break in the castle parlor for which we were the only guests and woefully under-dressed,

IMG_1953  IMG_1954

we poked around (no other visitors during the whole visit and no guards in sight–I think we could have taken up residence and no one would have noticed) to see what sorts of things the Lobkowiczes collected. I think this qualifies as quirky and at the very least fit in rather nicely with the ossuary theme of the day:

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We were not

IMG_1959ed  all day.

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