Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Catacombes de Paris

I thought I'd round out Halloween week with some more creepy catacomb photos. Here's a little history of this not-to-be-missed attraction:

The Catacombs in Paris consist of a network of subterranean tunnels and rooms located in what were Roman-era limestone quarries. The portion of the catacombs open to the public is only a small part of an extensive network of underground tunnels, which spans more than 300km. 

These quarries were converted into a mass tomb near the end of the 18th century. At the time, parts of Paris were suffering from disease, which was due to contamination caused by improper burials and mass graves in church graveyards.  So it was decided to remove the bones discreetly and place them in the abandoned quarries. The process was conducted with reverence and discretion – the quarry space was blessed before any bones were moved there, bones were always moved in a quiet parade of carts accompanied by priests, and these movements always took place at night.  

The Catacombs of Paris now contain the bodies of roughly 6-7 million Parisians.

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