Catacombs of Paris

1 Avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, 75014 Paris, France

Famous catacombs of Paris - a network of winding underground tunnels and caves that stretch beneath the city. The official name of the catacombs - " Municipal ossuaries." Their length on different data ranges from 187 to 300 kilometers. Here lie the remains of nearly six million people. This network of tunnels appeared in 1180 under King Philip Augustus. There were ancient quarries where locals mined materials to build the city. In the XVIII century catacombs turned into a huge underground cemetery. Then the ground were left with several million skeletons Innocents cemetery, located in the city center, near the church of Saint- Eustache. Since the middle of the XVIII century the cemetery became the burial place of two million bodies, leaving a layer of burial depth sometimes 10 meters, and the ground level was raised by more than two meters. In one grave at different levels could be up to 1500 remains. Cemetery became a hotbed of infection, and emitting a stench because of which, it was said, to turn sour milk and wine. In 1780, the wall separating the cemetery of the Innocents houses on the next street, collapsed and basements of nearby houses were filled with the remains of the dead. Paris authorities decided to close the cemetery. Within 15 months, every night convoys took out bones from the cemetery, then to disinfect them, process and put in an abandoned quarry at a depth of 20 meters. Later it was decided to clear another 17 300 cemeteries and places of worship of the city. Unidentified remains were buried together, workers stacked them in the form of walls and the former dungeons become a local landmark. Skull and large bones formed a decor that accompanies the visitor all the way through this burial. Catacomb walls are covered with various patterns and inscriptions dating back to the XVIII century and later centuries. In the catacombs were buried many famous French : Danton, Colbert, Marat, Robespierre, Nicolas Fouquet, Lavoisier, Pascal Perrault, Rabelais, Racine. Entrance to the famous Parisian catacombs through a small pavilion, located near the entrance to the metro station Denfert Rochereau.

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