15 Strangest Places: Ossuaries and Catacombs

Ossuaries, catacombs, bone chapels… Call them whatever you want but those places are actually superb constructions of bones.

There was a time when the use of bones of a deceased person was a legitimate way for religious institutions to honor the dead. Thus the catacombs and ossuaries in churches were built. These places were especially helpful when the plague raged in Europe to store the bones while the place was rare in cemeteries.

In the pictures below, you will see that these bones were used for practical and artistic way. Walls, pillars, towers, altars and even chandeliers were indeed built using bones and skulls. These came monks, nobles, common people victims of disease and even children. However, the body part that was mostly preserved skull was much more solid.

Many people find odd visit ossuaries while visiting a museum or any building but exploring the catacombs is not necessarily morbid. This can indeed give goosebumps but it is also a fascinating way to learn about the history of the city and the place in question.

Chapel of Skulls in Kudowa Zdroj, Czermna, Poland

Chapel of Skulls in Kudowa Zdroj, Czermna, Poland

Capela Dos Ossos, Évora, Portugal

Capela Dos Ossos, Evora, Portugal

Sedlec Ossuary, Kutna Hora, Czech Republic

Sedlec Ossuary, Kutna Hora, Czech Republic

Catacombs of the Basilica of San Francisco, Lima, Peru

Catacombs of the Basilica of San Francisco, Lima, Peru

Santiago Apostle Church, Peru

Santiago Apostle Church, Peru

The Ossuary Municipal, Paris, France

The ossuary Municipal, Paris, France

Ossuary of St. Jacques Church, Brno, Czech Republic

Ossuary of St. Jacques church, Brno, Czech Republic

Santa Maria Della Concezione Dei Cappuccini, Rome, Italy

Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini, Rome, Italy

Bone Chamber of Hallstatt (Beinhaus), Austria

Bone Chamber of Hallstatt (Beinhaus), Austria

Nossa Senhora Do Monte Do Carmo, Faro, Portugal

Nossa Senhora Do Monte Do Carmo, Faro, Portugal

Martyrs of Otranto, Italy

Martyrs of Otranto, Italy

Ossuary of Eggenburg, Austria

Ossuary of Eggenburg, Austria

Basilica of St. Ursula, Cologne, Germany

Basilica of St. Ursula, Cologne, Germany

Ćele Kula (Tower of Skulls), Niš, Serbia

Cele kula (Tower of Skulls), Nis, Serbia

Church of Santa María de Wamba, Valladolid, Spain

Church of Santa Maria de Wamba, Valladolid, Spain