Saturday, July 2, 2016

St. James Church Ossuary In Brno - SPOOKY!

This is R-rating entry! Parental advisory is required if you're young child!!!

You may disagree with my notion of Brno but to me Brno is a place to see Mummies in The Capuchin Crypt and "skulls and bones" in St. James Church.

The Church of St. James Church located in current Jakubské náměstí (= James' square) started its history in the beginning of the 13th century. One of the main Brno city cemeteries are founded by the church, which was surrounded by a wall that restricted its expansion. As the city grew the capacity of cemetery soon became insufficient. That's why an exchange burial system was adopted. After a lapse of 10- 12 years from the burial the grave was opened, the remains of the deceased person exhumed and a recently deceased was buried in the same place. The contents of the original graves were then place in the special underground structures - ossuaries.

A three-chamber crypt was established under the paved floor of St. James' Church in the 17th century. At the beginning the crypt was filled up in an stacks made up of remains from disinterred church graves, however, it was quickly filled in the mid 18th century due to plague and cholera epidemics, which literally decimated the inhabitants of the city.

The permanent lack of space for storing bones led to the extension of the ossuary in 1741. The best solution from the construction point of viewa was the expansion of the new ossuary below the cemetery and its connection to the church crypt. The new ossuary was filled within 6 years and the city leadership began negotiation regarding its further extension through connection to the Chapel of the Dead, which stood nearby the church. However, the connecting corridor was prematurely terminated half-way and the plan was never implemented...

When both the crypt and the ossuary under the cemetery were full, the entrance staircase from the main nave of the church was sealed with a Latin-inscribed stone slab, Josephine reforms in 1784 led tot abolishing the church cemetery for hygiene reasons. The remains from the graves were placed in the crypt, the cemetery walls were pulled down, and the area around the church was paved with unnecessary tombstones.

The ossuary in Brno was forgotten for over 200 years until it was stumbled upon in 2001 when reconstruction work was done!!!

An archaeological and underground survey resulted in the finding of the existence of a large burial complex that the individual rooms were piled up with human bones with the estimation of buried people there over 50,000!!! As described earlier, the survey confirmed the bones of the victims of mediaeval plague and cholera epidemics, as well as casualties during the Thirty Years' War, ranking Brno Ossuary in the second largest ossuary in Europe. The biggest one is the Catacombs of Paris, holding the remains of an estimated 6 million people!!!

The accumulated humidity and mould, if left untreated, would cause the gradual decomposition of bones and the collapse of the vault less than two meters under the busy roadway of the Jakubské square. That is why the only way to preserve this unique monument was to renovate the ossuary and open it to the public. 

During the refurbishment, all remains were collected, cleaned and returned to their last resting place. Together with other archaeological finds, the exhibition shows the way of burying in one of the largest city cemeteries in Brno.

Entrance fee: 140 CZK (adult)
Open from 9"30 to 18"00 (closed on Monday)
Of course, taking photographs is allowed.
Detailed info can be found here.

1 comment:

  1. Yoshiさん こんにちは!
     桁違いですね。私がこの中の骨だったら、いらっしゃい~♪ てな感じかな?( ´艸`)



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