The Catacombs of Paris is an ossuary that developed at the end of the 18th century with the remains of as many as 6 million people. It contains the remains of all the cemeteries of Paris until 1860. It is one of the most interesting places in the world. Read on to know some awesome facts about the Catacombs of Paris.
Prepared to make space for burying dead bodies
In the mid-18th century, Paris was one of the most prosperous cities in the world. Immense population of people lived in it but at the same time large number of people died everyday. Paris lacked the space to bury the huge number of people dying. The Catacombs of Paris is a marvel that then saved Paris from the stinking bodies.
Due to lack of space, Paris had begun to stink
The largest cemetery of Paris, Les Innocents had about 2 million bodies and the total bodies in all the cemeteries of Paris added to 6 million. The amount of dead bodies in Paris made it difficult to breathe.
The plan to build bury dead bodies in the quarries underneath Paris
The city of Paris stood above 200 miles of limestone quarries which gave the limestone for making buildings in Paris. The large area of mines was used to bury as many as 6 million dead bodies. It was the King’s architect, Guillaumont, who gave the idea of using the old mines as ossuaries.
It took nearly a year to move the bodies to the ossuaries
It took approximately a year to finish moving the bodies to their final resting place. The movement of the bodies used to take place at night. The project was finally finished in 1780.
Bones are arranged decoratively
The bones were at first simply placed in the tunnels in the 1780s. The workers in the catacombs eventually started to place bones decoratively in different shapes.
One of the most famous displays is in the shape of a barrel made of skulls and tibias.
In the 1800s, two farmers saw mushrooms sprouting in the catacombs and that’s when they started mushroom farming there. The mushroom came to be known as “the Paris Mushroom”.
The Catacombs were also used during the second world war
The catacombs were an excellent place to hide. They were used by the French Resistance to hide and ambush against the Germans.
Only a limited area is open to public
The catacombs of Paris are spread across hundreds of miles, but the public has access to only about 1 mile. The rest of the area is declared unsafe for exploration by public.
Some people know the way around in the massive labyrinth
It is said that several manholes in the city lead to the Catacombs and there have been some rumors of illegal theatre performances taking place inside the Catacombs. Some people also say that one can find ancient artifacts and even villages underneath Paris, in the Catacombs.