Most Fascinating Tombs In The World !
This article takes a look at ten of the most fascinating final resting places around the world, from the largest prehistoric burial mound in Europe to the the tombs of pharaohs to the most beautiful mausoleum in the world:
Newgrange was originally built between c. 5500 and 2900 BC, which means that it is over 5,000 years old. According to Carbon-14 dates, it is more than 500 years older than the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, and predates Stonehenge by about 1,000 years.
The Newgrange mound is 76m (250ft) across and 12m (40ft) high, and covers 0.4 hectares (one acre). Within the mound, a long passage, stretching approximately one third of the length of the mound, leads to a cruciform (cross-shaped) chamber. The passage itself is over 18m (60ft) long. The burial chamber has a corbelled roof which rises steeply upwards to a height of nearly 6m (20 ft). A tribute to its builders, the roof has remained essentially intact and waterproof for over 5,000 years.
Tana Toraja (Indonesia)
Tana Toraja boundary was determined by the Dutch East Indies government in 1909. In 1926, Tana Toraja was under the administration of Bugis state, Luwu. The regentschap (or regency) status was given on October 8, 1946, the last regency given by the Dutch. Since 1984, Tana Toraja has been named as the second tourist destination after Bali by the Ministry of Tourism, Indonesia. Since then, hundreds of thousands of foreign visitors have visited this regency. In addition, numerous Western anthropologists have come to Tana Toraja to study the indigenous culture and people of Toraja.
Westminster Abbey (United Kingdom)
The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, which is almost always referred to popularly and informally as Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church, in Westminster, London, just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English, later British and later still (and currently) monarchs of the Commonwealth Realms. It briefly held the status of a cathedral from 1546–1556, and is a Royal Peculiar.
Westminster Abbey is governed by the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, as established by Royal Charter of Queen Elizabeth I in 1560, which created it as the Collegiate Church of St Peter Westminster and a Royal Peculiar under the personal jurisdiction of the Sovereign. The members of the Chapter are the Dean and four residentiary Canons, together with the Receiver General and Chapter Clerk. One of the Canons is also Rector of St Margaret’s Church Westminster Abbey (who currently also holds the post of Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons). In addition to the Dean and Canons there are at present two full time minor canons, one precentor the other succentor. The office of Priest Vicar was created in the 1970's for those who assist the minor canons. Together with the Clergy and Receiver General and Chapter Clerk various Lay Officers constitute the College, including the Organist and Master of the Choristers, the Registrar, the Auditor, the Legal Secretary, the Surveyor of the Fabric, the Head Master of the Choir School, the Keeper of the Muniments and the Clerk of the Works, as well as twelve Lay Vicars and ten of the choristers and the High Steward and High Bailiff. There are also forty Queen’s Scholars who are pupils at Westminster School (the School has its own Governing Body). Those most directly concerned with liturgical and ceremonial matters are the two Minor Canons and the Organist and Master of the Choristers ...
Giza Necropolis (Egypt)
The Giza Necropolis stands on the Giza Plateau, on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt. This complex of ancient monuments includes the three pyramids known as the Great Pyramids, along with the massive sculpture known as the Great Sphinx. It is located some 8 km (5 mi) inland into the desert from the old town of Giza on the Nile, some 25 km (15 mi) southwest of Cairo city centre. One of the monuments, the Great Pyramid of Giza, is the only remaining monument of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
The Great Pyramids consist of the Great Pyramid of Giza (known as the Great Pyramid and the Pyramid of Cheops), the somewhat smaller Pyramid of Khafre (or Chephren) a few hundred meters to the south-west, and the relatively modest-sized Pyramid of Menkaure (or Mykerinos) a few hundred meters further south-west. The Great Sphinx lies on the east side of the complex, facing east. Current consensus among Egyptologists is that the head of the Great Sphinx is that of Khafre. Along with these major monuments are a number of smaller satellite edifices, known as "queens" pyramids, causeways and valley pyramids. Also associated with these royal monuments are the tombs of high officials and much later burials and monuments (from the New Kingdom onwards), signifying the reverence to those buried in the necropolis.
Of the four major monuments, only Menkaure's Pyramid is seen today without any of its original polished limestone casing, with Khafre's Pyramid retaining a prominent display of casing stones at its apex, while Khufu's Pyramid maintains a more limited collection at its base. Khafre's Pyramid appears larger than the adjacent Khufu Pyramid by virtue of its more elevated location, and the steeper angle of inclination of its construction – it is, in fact, smaller in both height and volume. The most active phase of construction here was in the 23rd century BC. It was popularised in Hellenistic times when the Great Pyramid was listed by Antipater of Sidon as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Today it is the only one of the ancient Wonders still in existence.
Due largely to 19th-century images, the pyramids of Giza are generally thought of by foreigners as lying in a remote, desert location, even though they are located in what is now part of the most populous city in Africa . In fact, urban development reaches right up to the perimeter of the antiquities site. The ancient sites in the Memphis area, including those at Giza, together with those at Saqqara, Dahshur, Abu Ruwaysh, and Abusir, were collectively declared a World Heritage Site in 1979.
The Giza pyramids have been recorded in the Giza Plateau Mapping Project run by Ancient Egypt Research Associates, directed by Dr. Mark Lehner. In addition, Lehner's team undertook radiocarbon dating on material recovered from the exterior of the Great Pyramid. AERA's 2009 field season was recorded in a blog.
Valley of the Kings (Egypt)
The Valley of the Kings is a valley in Egypt where, for a period of nearly 500 years from the 16th to 11th century BC, tombs were constructed for the kings and powerful nobles of the New Kingdom (the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Dynasties of Ancient Egypt). The valley stands on the west bank of the Nile, opposite Thebes (modern Luxor), within the heart of the Theban Necropolis. The wadi consists of two valleys, East Valley (where the majority of the royal tombs situated) and West Valley.
With the 2006 discovery of a new chamber (KV63), and the 2008 discovery of 2 further tomb entrances, the valley is known to contain 63 tombs and chambers (ranging in size from a simple pit to a complex tomb with over 120 chambers), and was the principal burial place of the major royal figures of the Egyptian New Kingdom, together with those of a number of privileged nobles. The royal tombs are decorated with scenes from Egyptian mythology and give clues to the beliefs and funerary rituals of the period. All of the tombs seem to have been opened and robbed in antiquity, but they still give an idea of the opulence and power of the rulers of this time.
The area has been a focus of concentrated archaeological and egyptological exploration since the end of the eighteenth century, and its tombs and burials continue to stimulate research and interest. In modern times the valley has become famous for the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun (with its rumours of the Curse of the Pharaohs), and is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world. In 1979, it became a World Heritage Site, along with the rest of the Theban Necropolis. Exploration, excavation and conservation continues in the valley, and a new tourist centre has recently been opened.
Catacombs of Paris (France)
The Catacombs of Paris or Catacombes de Paris are a famous underground ossuary in Paris, France. Its entrance is located near the Denfert-Rochereau station of the Paris Métro. Organized in a renovated section of the city's vast network of subterranean tunnels and caverns towards the end of the 18th century, it became a tourist attraction on a small scale from the early 19th century and has been open to the public on a regular basis from 1867. Following an incident of vandalism, they were closed to the public for an indefinite amount of time in September, 2009.
The official name for the catacombs is l'Ossuaire Municipal. This cemetery covers a portion of Paris' former mines near the Left Bank's Place Denfert-Rochereau, in a location that was just outside the city gates before Paris expanded in 1860. Although this cemetery covers only a small section of underground tunnels comprising "les carrières de Paris" ("the quarries of Paris"), Parisians today popularly refer to the entire network as "the catacombs".
Terracotta Army (China)
The Terracotta Army are the Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses of Qin Shi Huang the First Emperor of China. The terracotta figures, dating from 210 BC, were discovered in 1974 by some local farmers near Xi'an, Shaanxi province, China near the Mausouleum of the First Qin Emperor. The figures vary in height (183–195 cm - 6ft–6ft 5in), according to their role, the tallest being the generals. The figures include strong warriors, chariots, horses, officials, acrobats, strongmen, and musicians. Current estimates are that in the three pits containing the Terracotta Army there were over 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses, the majority of which are still buried in the pits.
Capuchin catacombs of Palermo (Italy)
Palermo's Capuchin monastery outgrew its original cemetery in the 16th century and monks begun to excavate crypts below it. In 1599 they mummified one of their number, recently-dead brother Silvestro of Gubbio, and placed him into the catacombs.
The bodies were dehydrated on the racks of ceramic pipes in the catacombs and sometimes later washed with vinegar. Some of the bodies were embalmed and others enclosed in sealed glass cabinets. Monks were preserved with their everyday clothing and sometimes with ropes they had worn as a penance.
Originally the catacombs were intended only for the dead friars. However, in the following centuries it became a status symbol to be entombed into the capuchin catacombs. In their wills, local luminaries would ask to be preserved in certain clothes, or even to have their clothes changed at regular intervals. Priests wore their clerical vestments, others were clothed according to the contemporary fashion. Relatives would visit to pray for the deceased and also to maintain the body in presentable condition. The catacombs were maintained through the donations of the relatives of the deceased. Each new body was placed in a temporary niche and later placed into a more permanent place. As long as the contributions continued, the body remained in its proper place but when the relatives did not send money any more, the body was put aside on a shelf until they continued to pay.
Sedlec Ossuary (Czech Republic)
The Sedlec Ossuary is a small Roman Catholic chapel, located beneath the Cemetery Church of All Saints in Sedlec, a suburb of Kutná Hora in the Czech Republic. The ossuary is estimated to contain the skeletons of between 40,000 and 70,000 people, many of whom have had their bones artistically arranged to form decorations and furnishings for the chapel.
Henry, the abbot of the Cistercian monastery in Sedlec, was sent to the Holy Land by King Otakar II of Bohemia in 1278. When he returned, he brought with him a small amount of earth he had removed from Golgotha and sprinkled it over the abbey cemetery. The word of this pious act soon spread and the cemetery in Sedlec became a desirable burial site throughout Central Europe. During the Black Death in the mid 14th century, and after the Hussite Wars in the early 15th century, many thousands of people were buried there and the cemetery had to be greatly enlarged.
Around 1400 a Gothic church was built in the center of the cemetery with a vaulted upper level and a lower chapel to be used as an ossuary for the mass graves unearthed during construction, or simply slated for demolition to make room for new burials. After 1511 the task of exhuming skeletons and stacking their bones in the chapel was, according to legend, given to a half-blind monk of the order.
Between 1703 and 1710 a new entrance was constructed to support the front wall, which was leaning outward, and the upper chapel was rebuilt. This work, in the Czech Baroque style, was designed by Jan Santini Aichel.
In 1870, František Rint, a woodcarver, was employed by the Schwarzenberg family to put the bone heaps into order. The macabre result of his effort speaks for itself. Four enormous bell-shaped mounds occupy the corners of the chapel. An enormous chandelier of bones, which contains at least one of every bone in the human body, hangs from the center of the nave with garlands of skulls draping the vaults. Other works include piers and monstrances flanking the altar, a large Schwarzenberg coat-of-arms, and the signature of Rint, also executed in bone, on the wall near the entrance.
Taj Mahal (India)
The Taj Mahal (also "the Taj") is considered the finest example of Mughal architecture, a style that combines elements from Persian, Indian, and Islamic architectural styles. In 1983, the Taj Mahal became a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was cited as "the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage."
While the white domed marble mausoleum is its most familiar component, the Taj Mahal is actually an integrated complex of structures. Building began around 1632 and was completed around 1653, and employed thousands of artisans and craftsmen. The construction of the Taj Mahal was entrusted to a board of architects under imperial supervision including Abd ul-Karim Ma'mur Khan, Makramat Khan, and Ustad Ahmad Lahauri. Lahauri is generally considered to be the principal designer.
Last Updated (Sunday, 08 May 2011 18:10)