Top 3 Historically Relevant And Super Creepy Places To See In Europe

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CULTURE | 4 minute read

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Architectural structures lined with skulls and desiccated bodies on display is shocking for most of us but for some locals, this is completely normal sight, especially if you live in Europe.

Although there is no rational explanation for our allure for horror, the truth is we love to be frightened. Why else would horror themed games, films and tourist attractions be so popular? 

We bring to you the top three horrifying yet interesting historical sites in Europe that are worth visiting, at least once.

Catacombs in Palmero

Funerary art in Sicily

Palmero in Southern Italy makes an idyllic spot for beach holidays but it is also hosts one of the world’s most morbid attractions. Remember Stephen Sommers film, The Mummy. If you thought only the Egyptians were into that sort of stuff then walking through the doors of the Capuchin Monastery will be a sight to remember, for better or for worse.

Priests dressed in robes and an army of undead children, looks like a scene from Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s Preacher series, but this isn’t fiction. The Capuchin catacombs are real and gruesomely display over four centuries of death.

The sight of over 8000 putrid bodies, falling apart, on display in the corridors, is exactly what nightmares are made of.  There is no other vault in the world that provides a long-lasting sense of dread which worsens with every step.

Skeleton of a child Portugal

Bone chapel of Portugal

Imagine setting food into a gregarious chapel, handcrafted with intricate designs made of real skulls and bones from human beings. The stuff you see in the Chapel of Bones in Portugal is spookily real. Creepy designs made with skeletons, not to mention the sight of a shrivelled corpse of a child hanging from the ceiling, adds to the grisliness of this place.

Built by Franscian monks in the late 16th century, the dead were assembled into a design to instil a profound message of life and death on the people of Evora and the rest of the world.

The Black Death led to formation of a large number of graveyards. As the boneyards were taking up a lot of land, instead of ridding leftovers of the dead, the noble priests decided to give them a resting place in the chapel by relocating and putting around 5000 corpses on display.

Built in a time when Europe saw a spiritual resurgence, Capela dos Ossos aimed to nudge people to contemplate about life and existence.

The chapel was constructed to help the public contemplate on the brevity of materialism in the irrefutable presence of death. The stark message, “We bones, are here, waiting for yours", above the chapel door makes this abundantly clear.

Bone design Czech

Bones of fine art in Czech

The Gothic Church of All Saints in the district of Sedlec houses graves of over 60000 people. Their leftovers grace the walls, ceilings and floors in a stunning interpretation of hair-raising décor.

Over 13000 died during the black plague and for centuries these bones were piled up until František Rint, a wood carver turned these into art.

The pyramid of bones are compiled together, without any construction or support. The ghoulish interior design dates back to 1870 and is an example of gothic art. The chandelier which is part of the decoration is made up of skulls and bones of the human body. The bowls under the skulls are made up of pelvic bones and the extensions are made of vertebrae.

The most famous piece on is the raven piercing the eye of a Turk, a gentle reminder of the battle of Raab against Hungary. Although these eerily look like gory scenes from Hell Raiser and Tales from the Crypt, they're characteristic features of an ossuary, which has now become a world attraction for its history and remembrance of the dead.

These structures are naked reminders of the transient nature of life, but we wonder if the dead had a choice would they prefer to be stripped apart and exhibited for the world to see?

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