News Article

News Article

Italian Monastery Hides Terrifying Catacombs Filled with Thousands of Corpses

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In Palermo, Sicily, you can visit one of the most macabre tourist attractions in all of Europe: the Catacombe dei Cappuccini, a chamber beneath the Capuchin Monastery, which was established in the 16th century after the monks ran out of traditional crypts to house their dead. 
 
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Photo: Reuters/Tony Gentile
 
The residents resorted to storing remains in these catacombs after drying and preserving the bodies in various ways (including pickling some of them in vinegar), and arranging them in nooks and crannies throughout the tunnels, usually in the same clothes they wore in life. 
 
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Photo: Sibeaster/Wikimedia Commons
 
Later, wealthy nobles of Palermo paid the monks to inter deceased family members in the catacombs as well, paid for the upkeep of the bodies, and arranged for some more elaborate burial chambers (including coffins of glass and precious metals). Those who paid for the service were allowed to come pay their respects any time they wished.
 
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Photo: Reuters/Tony Gentile
 
Some of the later embalming techniques are shockingly effective, with one of the last bodies to be mummified there – a young girl who died in 1920 – almost perfectly preserved.
 
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Photo: Wikimedia Commons
 
The bodies number over 8000 today, and after being locked down for centuries, the the monastery is now open to the public for tours.
 
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Photo: Sibeaster/Wikimedia Commons
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