Inside attraction where photos are banned
ONE of the Czech Republic's most morbid and photographed chapels known as the "Bone Church" in Sedlec will be banning photographs of its macabre displays.
Chapel director Radka Krejci told the Czech news agency CTK that people are taking inappropriate photos and desecrating the sanctity of the human remains on display, the New Zealand Herald reports.
Selfies with the deceased are not considered to be in good taste.
The small nondescript chapel, around an hour east of Prague attracts more than 200,000 visitors a year.
Sedlec's bizarre ossuary with its assortment of 40,000 human skeletons is a popular tourist attraction. Human remains and skulls are used to create everything from chandeliers to an ornate heraldic Schwarzenberg coat of arms.
It was commissioned in the 1870s as a way to bring some order to the remains and create something of a grizzly tourist attraction.
The artist behind the project, František Rint, even signed his work with a mosaic made of an assortment of bones - including vertebrae and tiny digits from fingers and toes.
However, the current group parishioners would ask you to, kindly, refrain from taking selfies with the skulls.
While the bone collection first gained attention in the late 19th century, there is a new generation of tourists - almost invariably wearing death metal T-shirts - who have begun posing for photos with the piles of bones. Instagram is a testament to this.
The sacred and historically sensitive sites of Europe are getting tougher on tourist behaviour and photo etiquette.
Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum on the site of the Nazi concentration camp in Poland has already had to come up with a policy aimed at selfie-centric tourists visiting the highly sensitive site.
While the museum has outlined that selfies at the Holocaust site are frowned upon, they have to be aware that social norms are changing.
"We have to be careful not to judge good people," Pawel Sawicki said. "For a generation of teenagers, this is the language they use."
Mr Sawicki, a press officer for the museum, said he was hesitant to judge those seen taking selfies at the concentration camp. For a new generation of visitors the selfies are a sign of compassion and the connection they feel towards the site.
"You can see from the caption that people are showing the memorial was important to them," he told Traveller.com.au.
The painted Sistine Chapel ceiling in the Vatican City has banned photography outright, while London's Westminster Abbey has installed signs asking visitors to refrain from taking pictures.
Instead the famous Cathedral asks them to contemplate the building and generations of worship it contains, without the distraction of selfies.
This article originally appeared on the New Zealand Herald and was reproduced with permission