Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Skeletons of Waldsassen Basilica, Bavaria, Germany

Morbid Anatomy reader Malvina Panagiotidi of Athens, Greece, recently informed me of a fantastic phenomenon that I had never heard of: The Skeletons of Waldsassen Basilica. Here is what she had to say about them:
Waldsassen, a town in Bavaria in Germany, is famous for its Papal basilica in baroque style. The halls of the church have an unusual decoration. The skeletons of Christian martyrs, who were exhumed from the catacombs of Rome between 1688-1765, are situated in glass vitrines and embedded in the rest interior decoration of the church. They are also known as the ''Holy Bodies." What differentiates these skeletons from the standard skeletal relics is that they are dressed in extravagant 1700s royal costumes and covered in jewels. Each year the church celebrates these martyrs at the Holy Bodies Fest.
All images were sourced by Malivina from the wonderful Atlas Obscura, which also severed as her main bibliographic source; you can visit that original post by clicking here. You can find additional images on these Flickr accounts: 1, 2.

Thanks so much, Malvina, for sending this along!


Jana Miller said...

WOW, I really hope more people post photos of this fantastic sight at Flickr. I want more!

Melissa said...

My husband's mother (and ancestors) are from Tirchenreuth which is a town nearby - and has seen these bones many times as a boy so I have heard LOTS about them! I can see now why they left such an impression on him!

Anonymous said...

I went to the town of Tirchenreuth in 1970 when I was 16 to stay with a 'pen pal' and his family. They took me to see the Waldsassen Basilica and I can still remember just how awesome the experience was. I still have some amazing post cards from the Basilica.