Much like the famous (or perhaps, infamous) catacombs of Paris, Rome’s catacombs have been a big lure for international tourist. The catacombs contain millions of buried Christian remains in the narrow tunnels built beneath the city. However the most striking aspect of the burial process is that these bodies were not simply put in coffins and placed into these tunnels. Quite the contrary, the bones of all the deceased were in fact used to create masterpieces of art into macabre sculptures deep within the chambers. Skulls were placed atop each other to create columns while leg bones were used to create the archways you pass under throughout the catacombs. With millions of people visiting Roman catacombs every year, the local authorities began to realize that tourists were not just taking photos, they were also stealing every kind of bone imaginable as souvenirs.  With some actually taking home pieces of the mummified bodies. As they did so the catacombs began show signs over the years of the desecration occuring the tourist industry. Although there are pieces of some of the mummified bodies  remaining. It’s not like they will ever be replaced. Local citizens for years have reported seeing odd lights and hearing strange whispering sounds emerge from deep within the tunnels. With the intensified paranormal activity occuring around the areas most vandalized, lacking the number bodies that used to be there, certain that desecration has  angered the souls of those violated and displaced. The Catacombs of the early Roman Christian underground fountains and crypts are literally filled with millions of bones. And are just one of a few wonders awaiting you should you have a chance to visit and partake in the incredible experience. As it will make the Roman Catacombs one of the most interesting and mystifying sites Rome has to offer. The center of most ancient Roman catacombs date back to late second century. Previously Christians were buried together with the pagans, and when the community became more numerous, it was necessary to create collective cemeteries. To resolve the problem of space and thanks to the ease of excavation in soft tufa bench below the city, they were built with underground galleries on several floors. At the catacombs were used exclusively for funerary purposes and for the worship of martyrs buried there. The common opinion that he wants them were used as hiding places by Christians persecuted is probably unfounded. Moreover persecution characterized only a few periods of the Roman Empire, at the time of Nero (between 64 and 67), Domitian (only 96), Decius (249-251), Valerian (253-260) and Diocletian (303 -305). In the third century, already in Rome alone, there were 25 cemeteries taking names by the Popes who were buried. In 313, Christianity became the religion legitimate and at least in the beginning were many want to be buried close to the martyrs. But since the fifth century began to abandon the use of burial in the catacombs, which nevertheless continued to be a destination for pilgrims for purposes of devotion. In 380, Christianity became a state religion. At first many still desired to be buried in chambers alongside martyrs. However, the practice of catacomb burial declined slowly, and the dead were increasingly buried in church cemeteries. In the 6th century catacombs were used only for martyrs’ memorial services. Apparently Ostrogoths, Vandals and Lombards that sacked Rome also violated the catacombs, possibly looking for valuables. By the 10th century catacombs were practically abandoned, and holy relics were transferred to above-ground basilicas. In the intervening centuries they remained forgotten until they were accidentally rediscovered in 1578, after which Antonio Bosio spent decades exploring and researching them for his volume, Roma Sotterranea (1632). Between the eighth and ninth century, following the looting of the barbarians, the shrines were gradually abandoned and the sacred relics were transferred in churches. In modern times were accidentally rediscovered in the sixteenth century and began to be explored first with Antonio Bosio (1575-1629 with his book posthumously Rome underground (1634) and especially with the research of John the Baptist De Rossi (1822-1894). In the fifties of the twentieth century were found around many catacombs of Rome. There are forty known subterranean burial chambers in Rome. They were built along Roman roads, like the Via Appia, the Via Ostiense, the Via Labicana, the Via Tiburtina, and the Via Nomentana. Names of the catacombs – like St Calixtus and St Sebastian alongside Via Appia – refer to martyrs that might be buried there. Going down into the crypts and catacombs of Rome can be qutie intimidating. After all, they are very old, dark, cold, damp and creepy. But when on thinks about it, it’s nothing more than an underground cemetery, nearly two centuries old. Once entered, it may at first seem odd and disrespectful, especially with how they were decorated. In the early days of Rome, you should understand that throughout history it was an acceptable practice to use secondary burials to create archways of human leg bones, or displays of fully clothed skeletons set against a wall of skulls. It is believed that the paranormal events that occur within the catacombs is due to the fact that the remains were taken from their final resting places as decorative accents, no matter decorative they may have seemed to those that did it. Whether it is psychosomatic or the catacombs are actually haunted, is difficult to say. To date, most of the information coming out Rome regarding the catacombs is marketing for tourism. There appear to be no documented cases of a bona-fide hauntings within the mass Roman tomb, other than in the mind of the beholder. There have been cases of intense panic and extreme claustrophobia, which can sometimes be expected, that occurs when one enters the catacombs. But with all the living people you’ll also find through the catacombs, it is possible to have to deal with possible poltergeist activity, which many tourist claim to have seen. In addition to seeing spectres and apparitions hovering within the corridors of the catacombs. However, it’s not unheard to hear a disembodied voice whispering restlessly inside the tunnels and through the empty burial niches. Or can than also be due to imagination?
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