Born in blood...
- Hi Jade - long time no see...
> I am currently saving money to go to Prague.Well worth it, it's a beautiful city with much of the medieval centre
intact (never bombed or blitzed during World War II).
>A few things that stand out in my mind from some of the travel-relatedmaterial
>I've read are descriptions of the old Jewish cemetaries,The (main) Jewish cemetery in Prague is very well known, and Rabbi Low (of
Golem fame) is buried there. (FWIW, the BBC filmed me there at one point as
well ;-)). However, there are several other notable Jewish cemeteries in
Bohemia & Moravia, e.g. at Trebic.
>and a cathedral which is made in large part out of many generations ofhuman bones.
You are almost certainly thinking of the ossuary at Kutna Hora - Sedlec,
actually a chapel where human bone is the main decorative elements. Very
impressive. The chandelier is said to use every bone in the human body, but
the Schwarzenberg coat of arms in bones is also pretty eye-catching! The
bones are those of victims of the Plague and the Thirty Years War - 17th
century rather than "ancient", I'm afraid!
In terms of being more "at ease" with death... Czech history is extremely
bloody, and it may be a case of familiarity breeding contempt. Bohemia's
first great ruler, Boleslav the Cruel, got the job by killing his own
brother (Wenceslas the Saint) in ?935... but then their mother had
previously had their grandmother murdered too. The ironically-named
Boleslav II "the Pious" ensured the future of the Premyslid dynasty by
massacring the only other powerful family, the Slavniks, in September 995 -
and this is the event that traditionally marks the establishment of the
Bohemian state! Born in blood, indeed... internal strife and ongoing
low-grade conflicts, interspersed by major ones, are a more or less
constant feature of Czech history from then on...
Kutna Hora is east of Prague, easily reached by public transport or car. It
was a major silver mining centre from about the 11th century onwards.
Paganism in Bohemia spluttered on into (probably) about the 12th century,
but little to nothing is known about it beyond a very few references in
chronicles written by Christian monks and the results of archaeological
excavations - the big site at Pohansko in Moravia I have previously
mentioned both on this list and another that I know you belong to, so I
shan't bore everyone by going into it again ;-).
Alastair Millar, BSc(Hons)
Consultancy and translation for the heritage industry
e-mail: alastair@..., http://www.skriptorium.cz
P.O.Box 685, CZ 111 21 Prague 1, Czech Republic