Blogs @ Emporia State University

Famous Medieval Town - Kutna Hora Visit

May 26, 2013

Tags: global leadership

Kutna Hora

By Anne Harmon

Today the group went to an other famous Medieval town of Kutna Hora to visit then Bone's Church and the town. The church of bones of Kostnice or Ossuary in Czech dates back to the 13 century. During this time an abbot of Sedlec monastery  visited the Holy Land and returned with a pocket of soil which he sprinkled around the grave yard which not surrounds the Church of Bones, All Saints Church. Since then the area has directly been associated with the Holy Land and has been venerated as such since then. 

You must be thinking why bones? As the story goes a half blind monk began decorating the church with remains of the human bones laid to rest. During the 1800's the Schwarzenberg family bought the church and commissioned Frantisek Rint to decorate the chapel in human bones. This type of decor is known throughout Europe and churches in several different countries. The church is decorated with remains of 40,000 miners and mortal victims of the 30 years war and the Black Plague. 

Kutna HoraAs you approach the church a strange ora takes over. It does not seem to be haunting or evil but I wouldn't want to be around at night. The group had a few different reactions, some love it and others peeked in and then sought marvel at the surrounding buildings. Sharka, our excellent tour guide noted this was a common reaction and students seem to take a liking the most. You can see pictured the coat of arms of the Schwarzenberg family, a famously well known family throughout Europe still today. 

While visiting the Church and most other places a sense of ethnocentrism can be seen  in the group's attitude. While to Americans this is most strange and quite frankly very odd, however to Europeans it is a part of their history and culture, not odd at all. This ethnocentrism can be seen through every interaction such as the food, dress, leisure interest, vocal volume, I could continue. This encounter and all others is a constant reminder of how important it is to know other cultural differences and be accepting. No one culture is better rather each sees life with a different scope, each are beautiful, each have their pros and cons, each are important to the marvelous world we live in. Throughout our visit one things stays constant, we are all working for the same end, a beautiful life. As a leader it is important to remember this idea of ethnocentrism and to ensure you do not fall into this trap, it can be devastating to you as and individual and to a group. Alway remember each person is working toward the same end, some just take a different path of getting there. These paths are made out of different stones yet all hope to end the same place. Just as Rober Frost said 'I approached a fork in the road, I chose the path less traveled'. As a leader what path are we choosing? The path that we are familiar with and know will probably lead us to the intended end or are we choosing the path of diversity the path that will challenge and grow us? It is one thing to say you have tried the food of other cultures but is that really their culture, is that really what they entail? I hope to think there is more depth to a culture. 

On this trip and im particular our journey to Kutna Hora we were able to take a path a little less traveled and embrace a level of the culture and history needed to engross ourselves with the culture and learn from them and of ourselves. Take the path less traveled, it may be full of broken glass, sticks, and rocks but it will also be filled with learning, challenge, and growth. 

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