Wolhusen Mortuary Chapel (Lucerne, Switzerland)
“If you wander the streets of Lucerne, you’ll doubtlessly cross the Spreuer Bridge at some point. It’s probably one of Switzerland’s most notable series of Totentanz (Dance of Death) paintings with 45 of the original 67 panels still intact. However, 20 kilometers outside the city, in the quiet suburb of Wolhusen, one of the most unique Dance Of Death paintings is housed in an unassuming mortuary chapel. What makes it so special is that there are actual human skulls set into the plaster of the large mural that circles around the ceiling.” (Thanks to Howard for the tip.)
Cemetery of the Capuchins (Rome, Italy)
Chris wrote to recommend this unbelievably beautiful chapel which is decorated with the bones of Capuchin Monks. As described in the website linked to the left: “The crypt is located just under Santa Maria della Concezione, a church commissioned by Pope Urban XIII in 1626. The pope’s brother, Cardinal Antonio Barberini, who was of the Capuchin order, in 1631 ordered the remains of thousands of Capuchin monks exhumed and transferred from the friary Via dei Lucchesi to the crypt. The crypt now contains the remains of 4,000 monks buried between 1500-1870, during which time the Papal States permitted burial in and under churches. The underground crypt is divided into five chapels lit only by dim natural light seeping in through cracks, and small fluorescent lamps which cast strange shadows.” Definitely a must-see when in Rome!
Notre Dame Cathedral (Paris, France)
The gargoyles of Notre Dame are, of course, something special to see! Not that I’ve seen them, of course, since I’m quite a homebody, but I’ve heard it on good faith that it’s “worth the hike up the tower” to see them. And besides that – maybe you’ll run into the Hunchback, and you know that can’t be bad! If you don’t believe me, believe Merrie: “One of the most beautiful gothic cathedrals around. Gargoyles garlore! The setting for Victor Hugo’s ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame‘.” (Special thanks to Nancy for the suggestion.)
Ossuary at Sedlec (Sedlec, Czech Republic)
A special thank you to Elizabeth for pointing this bone-filled church out to me. Looks like one of the greatest morbid sites in the world – no bones about it! <boo, hiss!> Incidentally, I’m hoping to be able to visit this spot next year. Phalanges crossed!