Covid-19 threatens the future of Czech Republic’s unique ossuary

By Gustavo Monge

Prague, Aug 3 (efe-epa).- The Sedlec Ossuary in the historic Czech city of Kutna Hora has come to a challenging crossroads amid a lack of tourists due to the Covid-19 pandemic and an urgent need for restoration, the funding for which relies on ticket sales.

The ossuary is home to the skeletal remains of some 60,000 people, many of which furnish the building’s interior, making for one of the most morbid and unique attractions in the central European country.

Kutna Hora is located in the Bohemia region of the Czech Republic, some 80 kilometers to the east of Prague.

Radka Krejci, Sedlec Ossuary parish director, tells Efe: “Had we not intervened, the building would have come down within a few decades.”

The restoration of the building began in 2014 and was due to conclude by 2027. It was to be financed solely by ticket sales, without relying on funding from the Czech government or the European Union.

“Now we have been hit by the pandemic, which forced us to close the ossuary between 13 March to 25 May, so we are running out of reserves to continue,” she adds.

So far a sum of 2.3 million euros ($2.7m) has been invested in the repair project and an estimated 5.4 million more are needed to complete it.

The repair works are focused on reinforcing four pillars in the building and digging a large ditch around the perimeter to curb the damaging effects of humidity.

It would also allow them to create a new exhibition space.

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