Catacombs and churches of bones


If you find yourself more intrigued by a place’s cemeteries than by its museums, here are a few ghastly destinations around Europe that you might want to check out:

Paris Catacombs – Deep below the city of Paris visitors can wander the old cramped city quarries lined from floor to ceiling with human bones. The walls are packed with skulls and bones in various decorative shapes and patterns.
With the removal of the Saints-Innocents Cemetery in the late 1800s, the remains were transferred to a section of the Quarries of Paris creating Municipal Ossuary or, as it is referred to today, The Catacombs.
Entrance is 8€, with reduced ticket prices available to seniors and students.

Sedlec Ossuary – The Sedlec Ossuary is a small chapel in the suburbs of Kutna Hora in the Czech Republic. With the expansion of the surrounding cemetery in the 14th and 15th centuries, older graves were exhumed and the bones went on to create this grim chapel.
The Sedlec Ossuary is ornamented everywhere in human bones. A large chandelier of skulls and bones hangs from the ceiling, while a multitude of other skeletal embellishments line the stairs, ceiling, and walls.
Admission: 30CZK, and 20CZK for students.

Capela dos Ossos – This Chapel of Bones, built in the 16th century, is located in Evora, Portugal. Here skulls and bones are set into cement, while perfect human skeletons are recreated in several corners.
Admission: 2€.

Hallstatt Ossuary – The Austrian city of Hallstatt, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is home to the Hallstatt Beinhaus, also called the Charnel House. This ossuary was established in the 1700s in order to make room for more graves. This small Beinhaus is crammed with some 1200 exhumed human skulls that have been bleached in the sun and painted with the names of the deceased, colorful flowers, or personally symbolic images.
Admission: 1€.

Capuchini Bone Chapel – The Capuchini Crypt is located beneath the Our Lady of the Conception of the Capuchins in Rome, Italy. Five of the six rooms of this are decorated with the bones of Capuchin friars, with some rooms dedicated to specific bones of the body. Working chandeliers of bone throw light on the skeletal designs of this crypt.
Entrance is by donation

Posted by | Comments (2)  | February 22, 2010
Category: Destinations, Europe

2 Responses to “Catacombs and churches of bones”

  1. Rebecca Travel-Writers-Exchange Says:

    The Paris Catacombs are a very popular tourist destination. They’ve been showcased on The History Channel & the Travel Channel. If you travel to Paris during Halloween, you may want to visit the Paris Catacombs for a “spooky” time.

  2. niamh Says:

    Sounds gruesome – good antidote to all the beauty of Paris if you’re so inclined! Can I add that Dublin is another great place to look at bones: St Valentine is buried there, and St Michan’s Church has mummies dating back to Crusader times in the crypt.