5. Huda Jama, Slovenia
The 20th century had an outbreak of mass killings throughout Eastern Europe. Whether by the Nazis, the Communists, or any number of political factions that resulted from the crumbling of the iron curtain, mass graves litter the countryside. Many have yet to be identified, but some have been including the one in Huda Jama, Slovenia. This small town was embroiled in intrigue during the Second World War. Mines still exist where the Yugoslav Partisans (a communist anti-German fighting force) would take cover from attacks. After the war ended, the resulting reversal of power led to mass killings in the mine called the Barbara Pit. Over 700 bodies have been removed from the sight since it was thoroughly explored starting in 2009. It is thought that the Axis powers that be found themselves suddenly playing the role of the victims, and were subsequently stripped and gassed. Needless to say, this site isn’t very tourist friendly at this point.
4. Sacromonte Abbey, Spain
The Abbey of Sacromonte, built circa 1600, is a hillside monument surrounded by a small town. Although aged in their own right, the structures of the abbey were built atop Roman-era Catacombs. The history of these catacombs is blurred, but legend has it that it was within these very hallways that Saint Caecilius was burned alive during the age of the lunatic Roman Emperor Nero. The abbey protects what they believe are the remains of Caecilius and other saints. A festival is held annually at the abbey honoring Saint Caecilius for his martyrdom.
3. St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Austria
Austria is a great place to visit for good beer and other characteristics of Germanic culture. Like many places, Austria also has its fair share of Roman relics. One of the more well known of these is St. Stephen’s Cathedral, a monumental construction from the middle of the 14th century. The cathedral was commissioned by Rudolf IV and erected on the same spot previously inhabited by two lesser chapels. Bodies of famous and common people alike inhabit the inside and outside of the cathedral, including the massive catacombs below. One notable corpse is that of Prince Eugene of Savoy, considered by Napoleon himself to be one of the sharpest military minds in history. Also present is Frederick the Peaceful who reigned over Germany and the surrounding areas, eventually being crowned the Holy Roman Emperor in 1492. Those entombed in the cathedral went unmolested even though the roof to the cathedral was severely damaged during World War II. The Cathedral has since been restored and stands as a prime sight to be seen when visiting Vienna.
2. Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa, Egypt
Perhaps it is a mistake not to place Egypt as being the premier place in the world to gawk at entombed corpses. Feel free to read both descriptions and let us know what you think. This is the one location on the list that is considered a necropolis, or a compound of ancient burial grounds often littered with tombs and passages. Furthermore, a necropolis is largely untouched or unused by the modern world. The Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa are often considered conjointly as a wonder of the ancient world. To travel across these grounds is to experience an evolution of culture from ancient Greek times, to the Hellenistic era heralded by Alexander the Great, and ultimately through Roman imperialism. Among the stories haunting this area is that of the Halls of Caracalla. It is said that the mix of horse and human bones found in this chamber were those of Christians that were massacred by the Roman Emperor Caracalla sometime around 200 AD.
1. Catacombs of Rome, Italy
There is a vast variety of hidden niches in Italy for both professional and novice tomb explorers. Naples and Rome headline these possibilities. Rome, in particular, is home to vast networks of underground tunnels and catacombs, many of which line the famous Appian Way. From Jewish catacombs to early Christian martyrs, many catacombs are present from before and after Jesus walked the planet. The Roman catacombs exist as one of the best testaments to this time period. Such is the worth of the Catacombs of Commodilla that claims one of the oldest depictions of Christ wearing a beard. It is thought that many of the catacombs lining Rome are the result of secret Christian burials during times of persecution. Due to the discretionary nature of these burials, many of these passages have gone unnoted until recently and many more may yet be undiscovered.