The catacombs are ancient cemeteries, which were built underground. There were several Mediterranean civilizations that used this method of burial, creating authentic labyrinths with kilometer lengths Amazing!
In the world there are really impressive catacombs. In some cases by their length, in others by the stories they contain and in some more because they can still be seen in them human remains. Let’s get to know them. For lovers of history will be a journey certainly very interesting and for the less brave, a chilling journey.
1. Catacombs of San Calixto, Rome (Italy)
These catacombs were discovered, after remaining a thousand years hidden, by Giovanni Battista de Rossi. This man managed to persuade Pope Pius IX to perform the pertinent excavations. This incredible place was discovered, a network of galleries that exceeds 20 kilometers in several levels.
In them was found the Crypt of the Popes, where 16 pontiffs were buried. His tombstones were placed there in the fourth century by order of St. Damasus. A place where many martyrs of Christianity were also buried.
Within these catacombs is also the famous Crypt of Santa Cecilia. In it you can see a stunning sculpture of this saint, created by Maderno. In addition, the crypt is surrounded by relics.
These catacombs shelter the very history of Christendom and all its archives. The name of San Calixto alludes to the person in charge of this cemetery, later chosen pope. This was the first cemetery of the Christian community.
2. Catacombs of Kom ash-Shuqqafa, Alexandria (Egypt)
These catacombs were built by Romans in the second century BC and combine various architectural styles such as Greek, Roman and Egyptian. It has three levels and the entrance is adorned with several purple granite sarcophagi. When descending to the first level you can admire the central opening where they descended to the dead through ropes.
On the first level of the catacombs is also a kind of room where the relatives performed a kind of funeral. In fact, it is said that they even prepared a banquet to say goodbye to the deceased. The second level features unrivaled Egyptian decorations, accompanied by sealed sarcophagi.
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The third level of these catacombs is completely inaccessible, because it was completely flooded. The catacombs of Kom ash-Shuqqafa, in Alexandria, are open to the public every day from 9 am to 4 pm.
3. Catacombs of Paris (France)
Only the figures are creepy. In these catacombs lie the remains of six million people. Unbelievable! And its length is no less daunting, the crypts extend along 300 kilometers of tunnels.
In the middle of the year 1786, and due to the plagues and epidemics of the time, the decision was taken to move the bodies of the cemeteries of Paris to these catacombs. For months the streets of the French capital witnessed the dismal parades of carriages full of bones, which were on their way to deposit their cargo in this place.
Although at first the remains were deposited without any criteria or order, today you can see the bones and skulls stacked, forming a kind of columns. It is chilling to visit this place but, without a doubt, it is a very interesting and full of history. However, only a small part of the 300 kilometers that make up these catacombs can be visited.
A curiosity, before being catacombs were quarries of limestone, already exploited during Roman times. The material that came out of here helped to build the whole city, especially the monuments that today can be appreciated. In fact, the tunnels of the Paris catacombs call themselves Les Carrières de Paris (the quarries of Paris).