Death is a sad but natural phenomenon as life. However, practices emerging in some societies can turn death into an extremely interesting phenomenon. The Capuchin Catacombs in Italy are also places where death turns into something very interesting and even scary! The priests of a church in Palermo, Italy, had a very interesting tradition in the 16th century. Priests living at that time were burying their dead in the tombs under the church! In fact, it would be more accurate to say that they were exhibiting rather than burying them! Because the corpses were embalmed and dressed in clothes. They were then placed in specially prepared compartments or hung on the walls.
It is estimated that there are more than 8,000 mummified corpses in the Capuchin Catacombs. Some of the bodies are in skeletal form. Some are mummy-shaped and very well preserved! What’s more interesting is that the Capuchin Catacombs have become a showpiece over time. Because the rich and famous people living in the region wanted to be buried here in their will! Families of the wealthy who were placed in the tombs made regular donations to the church. Thus, the priests took care of the corpses. Even the clothes of some corpses were changed at regular intervals. This interesting and frightening tradition continued into the early 20th century. Here’s what you need to know about the Capuchin Catacombs, an extremely interesting and frightening place…
It was noticed that the corpses buried in the Capuchin Catacombs in the 16th century were remarkably well preserved.
Thereupon, the priests of the Capuchin Monastery began to be buried here. Then the tradition of embalming bodies and placing them in catacombs began. This tradition soon turned into a very popular practice. Many people, especially the rich and famous, were competing to be a part of the exhibition in the Capuchin Catacombs.
As the number of mummies increased, the Capuchin Catacombs became an institutional structure.
Special recesses were made in the walls for the mummies. Special mechanisms were prepared for hanging mummies on the ceilings. Some mummies were placed behind glass partitions. Over time, the tunnels of the Capuchin Catacombs were lengthened, their size expanded. In fact, mummies began to be classified according to their occupation and gender. For example, female mummies are in the “women’s corridor” and men are in the “male corridor”.
The body of a priest named Silvestro da Gubbio is the oldest body in the Capuchin Catacombs
The date of placing the body in the grave is 1599! Moreover, Gubbio’s body is in extremely good condition despite hundreds of years! The last inhabitant of the Capuchin Catacombs is a little girl named Rosalia Lombardo! Lombardo, who was the daughter of a wealthy family and died due to an illness he caught, was placed in the tomb in 1920.
Mummies from wealthy families are much better off
Because at that time, the mummification process was difficult and costly. However, wealthy families who wanted their relatives to always look “alive” spared no expense. This allowed doctors and chemists to use methods that would make corpses always look alive. In fact, Rosalia Lombardo, the daughter of a wealthy family, is so well embalmed that she almost looks alive. For this reason, Lombardo is also referred to as “the most beautiful mummy in the world”!
The Capuchin Catacombs are an important tourism center visited by many people today.
Catacombs are interesting enough already. In addition, the well-preserved mummies cause the tombs to become an important center of attraction. In addition, the mummies placed here for centuries continue to wear the clothes of the period. In this sense, the catacombs are a remarkable place not only for horror and mummy enthusiasts, but also for history buffs.