Bone Chapel & Silver Mines

Trip Start Jan 19, 2012
Trip End Jun 04, 2012

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Monday, April 23, 2012

This past Friday the USAC group took its last organized field trip to Kutna Hora and the Silver Mines. For those who don't know Kutna Hora is a small town about an hour and a half outside of Prague that is known for something all over the world. The Bone Chapel in Kutna Hora is a modestly sized church that is partially constructed and decorated with human bones. There is believed to be over 40,000 people's remains used within the church. 
It was really nothing like I had ever seen before, I have seen human skeletons and bones before but never in the magnitude like in the Kutna Hora Church. The reason that the church was decorated out of bones is unknown but there is a theory that the monk who was caretaker of the property went mad, and began to pull bones out of the ground in the cemetery and within the church. This is only one theory however and the true reason is a mystery. 
After the Bone Chapel in Kutna Hora we got on the bus and took the short drive to the Silver Mines that are also in Kutna Hora. The mines date back to the 13th century and were the main source of income for most of the people living in the town. The mines produced a few metals but the main one was silver. We had the opportunity to tour the mines and actually go down into them and see how the silver was extracted. The mines go several hundred feet down but we only went down to the first level, which was however, still quite a ways down. Once down inside of the mine we were shown just how small of an area the miners had to work in and how bad the conditions were. I had to crouch for a large majority of the time while walking through the low and also narrow path ways. Another fascinating thing was how dimly lit the conditions were that the miners had to work in. The miners basically only had a small lantern with a flickering flame to work by. The tour guide at one point told us to all turn off our flash lights and see what complete darkness looked like, you are not even able to see you hand right in front of your eye because there literally is no light for your eye to capture. 
This was not a very long field trip, but it was very interesting. I saw two things that I never thought I would see in my life; a church made out of bones, and complete darkness ( I guess I didn't really see anything with that ). It was a good last trip with USAC and I want to thank them for putting them all on.
Niko Zivanovich
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