Church Decorated With About 40,000 Human Skulls, Bones Sinking Into Ground

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POSTED: Thursday, January 27, 2011 - 2:07pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 - 8:36pm

SEDLEC, CZECH REPUBLIC— A church in the Czech Republic whose interior is designed with actual human skulls and bones is sinking into the ground.

The Sedlec Ossuary is a small Roman Catholic chapel. Officials are trying to save the landmark, and Czech experts are trying to find reasons as to why the church is leaning and sinking into the ground. Engineers and architects visited the church on Wednesday to scope the building, hoping to have an answer within a month.

The church was built on top of a cemetery in the 15th century. It is estimated that the remains of about 40-70,000 people are contained at the church. In 1870, woodcarver Frantisek Rint was hired by the Schwarzenberg family to put the bone heaps in order.

Rint's results are what visitors can see today: four large bell-shaped mounds in the corners of the chapel; a chandelier of bones that contains at least one of each bone in the human body; garlands of skulls drape the vault; Rint's signature, also made from the bones, is on the wall near the entrance of the church.

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