9 Catacombs You Can Really Visit

People celebrate the dead with activities and give thought to the lives of the departed as Halloween and El Dia de los Muertos are approaching. Most individuals would rather keep the deceased out of their minds and sight. But many years ago, things were different. The early uses of catacombs were for Christian and Jewish cemeteries. They wanted to bury their departed loved ones because they disagreed with cremation, which they said burns the dead. Larger shrines and catacomb halls were constructed to honor the lives of martyrs and saints. Chapels and other places of worship can be reached through some of the world’s largest catacomb halls.

Catacombs provided functions other than funerals. On the day of the burial and on its anniversary, families celebrated the dead with feasts. Owing to their fascinating designs, the catacombs served as cover for criminal activity and as hidden routes for citizens throughout towns. There are catacombs in a number of nations, including France, Egypt, Lebanon, Italy, and a few Mediterranean islands.

Catacombs are now visited by tourists and those who wish to honor their departed ancestors. The nine catacombs that you can really visit are covered in this page.

1. Catacombs of Rome

The largest catacombs in the world are generally acknowledged to be the Catacombs of Rome. Three kilometers beyond the city center are the circular catacombs. In the circular, over sixty distinct chambers have been found. Only the public can access five of the catacombs, though. They are close to the major thoroughfares that take one into the city. There are five catacombs:

Catacombs of San Sebastiano:
San Sebastiano is the name of a soldier honored in this catacomb. He is revered as a martyr for becoming a Christian. The catacomb is twelve kilometers long.

Catacombs of Priscilla:
This particular catacomb is well-known for its diverse collection of artwork, which includes the earliest known portrayal of the Virgin Mary.

Catacombs of Domitilla:
The Vespasian’s granddaughter gave name to this fifteen-kilometer-long catacomb.

Catacombs of San Callisto:
Numerous Christian martyrs are interred in this twenty-kilometer-long catacomb.

Catacombs of Sant’Agnese:
Another well-known Christian martyr is honored by the name of this catacomb.

2. Brno Ossuary

Beneath the town of Brno is a Czech Republic catacomb known as the Brno Ossuary. During a pre-construction dig in 2001, archaeologists discovered the catacomb. The walls were well-maintained and the bones were extremely well-organized during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. But years of neglect, dirt, and erosion had rearranged them. The town rearranged and cleaned the catacombs as a result of the finding.

In 2012, the channel was made public by officials in Brno. Numerous bones, including ribs, femurs, and skulls, constitute the walls of the catacomb and occupy its rooms. Different colors are painted on the bones. The yellow bones represent those who died of cholera, while the crimson bones represent those who died from the plague. After this following addition, it is the second-largest catacomb in the world with almost fifty thousand bodies inside.

3. Catacombes De Paris

More than 200 miles of walls filled with bones make up Catacombes De Paris, also known as the Paris Catacombs. “Arrête!” is an etched statement on the walls at the tombs’ entrance. This is the death’s empire, or “Abandon! The Empire of Death is this.

There are more than six million corpses in the underground shelter of Paris Catacombs. In the seventeenth century, the bodies in the big country’s cemeteries—especially the Les Innocents—were stacking up swiftly. A cellar that was next to the cemetery collapsed in the latter part of the seventeenth century, sending the remains cascading into the neighboring property. Louis XVI, the king of France, had to come up with a rapid fix. Following a similar collapse on a famous home, the French authorities had started some underground excavation to investigate the subterranean before to the tragedy. For three years, King Louis XVI closed the cemetery. The catacombs were the outcome of that. The Catacombes De Paris became the new home for the bodies that had fallen out of Les Innocents.

In 1814, the French started allowing people to enter the catacombs. Compared to today’s visitation regulations, visitation was not as common back then. Only with a mine inspector’s permission may people enter the catacombs a few times a year. Afterwards, visits climbed to a few times per month in the latter part of the 1800s. The practice of visiting became regular in the early 1900s. The Paris streets are located beneath the catacombs. Each tunnel can accommodate a maximum of 200 people, and it is open every day.

4. Capuchin Monastery Catacombs

The look of the Capuchin Monastery Catacomb is well-known. Reminding people of the appearance of postmortem decomposition is disliked by many people. Unless, of course, you’re a mortician. Since the late 1500s, the Capuchin monks have kept dead monk members in the Palmero catacomb, nearly mummified and propped up on the walls. The monks’ bodies are mounted on the wall, placed on tables, and shown in glass coffins. “We were what you are. You will become what we are now,” reads an inscription at the catacomb. There are currently around 4,000 monk remains in the catacomb from 1528 to 1870.

5. Stephensdom Crypt

A large portion of Vienna, Austria is shaded by the St. Stephens Cathedral. The Hapsburgs were the first Austrian royal family to reside at St. Stephens Cathedral. They put a sophisticated spin on it. The viscera, or internal organs, would be sealed beneath Stephendom, the bodies would be interred in the Imperial Crypt, and the hearts would be placed in vases in the church.Tours through the catacomb walls and jars filled with guts are available at St. Stephens Cathedral. About 11,000 bodies are stored within the catacomb walls. The coffins belonging to Rudolph IV (1339–1365) and his family are housed in one section of the cathedral. At one point, Rudolph IV was the Duke of Austria. He was a major contributor to the cathedral’s building.

The tour also includes a tour of the cathedral’s more recent additions. The more recent sections were an extension of the catacomb, which in the middle of the 1800s extended beyond outside the cathedral overhead. There are scattered bones throughout various rooms. There is a gravemark for those who perished from the plague in the apartments. Either an exhilarating tour or an adventure thriller like to Goosebumps awaits, wherein people turn to glance over their shoulders. Just watch out that during the tour, you don’t end up last in line.

6. Catacombs Of Kom El-Shoqafa

In Arabic, “Kom El-Shoqafa” means mounds of shards. In the Middle Ages, the catacombs were considered the seventh wonder of the world. A journeyman’s donkey fell through the ground and into the area in 1900, leading to its discovery. German archaeologists proceeded to study the site after the discovery and discovered a rotunda. The dining room, where the departed’s relatives would gather for dinner, was accessible from the rotunda. Since it was improper procedure to carry dishes from the room above ground, they broke them; this is how “Kom El-Shoqafa,” or mounds of shards, got its name.

The various sections of the catacombs are open for exploration by guests today. It is submerged more than a hundred feet below the surface. There are three sarcophagi in the main burial tomb. Garlands, gorgon heads, and an ox skull are used to adorn them. Numerous reliefs depicting significant Egyptian figures encircling the main tomb may be found in that chamber.

7. Odessa Catacombs

Odessa is essentially located beneath Odessa, Ukraine. There are more than a thousand access points to the catacombs, but guests must be escorted by an authorized tour guide in order to navigate them. It’s among the world’s longest subterranean routes. It’s ironic that the Odessa catacombs were never intended to be utilized as a place of entombment. The catacombs’ primary function was as subterranean tunnels. Mummified corpses are occasionally discovered, despite the fact that they were never intended to be used as graves.

In addition, the catacombs are a bomb bunker. The narrow passageways of the catacombs serve as the foundation for a Cold War nuclear bomb bunker. Inscriptions beneath numerous coal paintings that are etched on the walls can also be found there. A thrilling experience can be had when exploring the catacombs. Travelers have claimed to have seen the decomposing body of what seemed to be a soldier from World War II. A Soviet secret police agency was the subject of another sighting. 32 members were detained in the catacombs in 1941 in order to undermine the German Nazis’ allies in Romania. The Ukraine was a part of the Soviet Union at the time. Only one of them managed to escape the catacombs, despite the fact that their whereabouts remained unknown for a long time, according to historical records.

It’s a well-known underground maze city that astounds people all over the world, including citizens of Ukraine.

8. Hal Saflieni Hypogeum

The Hal Saflieni Hypogeum is believed by many historians to be an underground complex that once housed a vanished civilization. It sits atop Paola’s hill and has an impressive 500 square meters. A stonemason stumbled upon it in 1902 while creating the foundation for several homes. Beneath a central channel, the top levels of the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum are made up of burial chambers. There are limestone passageways, rooms, and halls on the middle and lower floors. The catacombs were built by the Maltese people approximately 4,000 B.C.E. Sections known as the Holy of Holies and the Snake Pit are among its archaeological wonders.

9. St. Michan’s Church

This is an Irish catacomb located in Dublin. Though it might seem like an odd area to find bodies, you never know. Strangely enough, a gap in the church allows people to see the bodies beneath it. The church began serving numerous shunned Vikings in 1095, marking the start of its fascinating history. The activities that took place below ground were restored along with the church.

The catacomb has been kept for this long for a number of reasons. One is that the chapel was constructed on top of a former wetland. Some people might believe that the bodies’ preservation effect comes from the gases in the swamp. The limestone construction of the basement is another. A dry environment is maintained by limestone, which facilitates mummification. There are other interpretations regarding the church structure and whether or not someone continued to work on the catacomb. The church claims it is improper to break the coffins in order to find the bodies, which is the previously acknowledged loophole. As a result, the mummies occasionally fall out of the wooden coffins as they decay.

“The Big Four”

The “big four” are the main draws of St. Michan’s catacombs. There are four mummies on display with accessible coffins. One is “The Thief,” which is missing a hand and a portion of both feet. The hand was allegedly severed as a form of punishment. However, the thief is said to have become a priest. The thief was interred in the church as a result. “The Unknown” is an additional one. There are no particularly noteworthy aspects or backstories associated with The Unknown. The third is a diminutive woman known as “The Nun.”

“The Crusader,” an eight hundred-year-old corpse, is the final figure. He was thought by many to have been a crusader who either passed away in combat or soon afterward. At the time, many considered him to be a giant because of his six and a half foot height. In order to make his body fit into the casket, his legs were broken. It used to be encouraged for people to shake his hand as it lies out of the coffin. Notable mathematicians, rebels, and the numerous Earls of Kenmare are also housed in the catacomb.