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Catacomb facts for kids

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A procession in the San Callistus catacombs in Rome.

A catacomb is an underground tunnel that is used to hold and bury dead bodies. Many of them were made in the Roman Empire.

Around the world

Rom, Domitilla-Katakomben 2
Grave niches in the Catacombs of Domitilla, Rome.
Paris catacombes
Paris Catacombs.
Rom, Domitilla-Katakomben, Fresko "Christus und die 12 Apostel" und Christussymbol "Chi Rho" 1
Jesus and his twelve apostles, fresco with the Chi-Rho symbol , Catacombs of Domitilla, Rome.
Rom, Domitilla-Katakomben, Steintafel mit Inschrift, Alpha und Omega und Christussymbol Chi Rho
The Chi-Rho symbol with Alpha and Omega, Catacombs of Domitilla, Rome.

Catacombs around the world include:

  • Australia – Catacombs of Trinity College, Melbourne
  • Austria – Catacombs of St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna
  • Czech Republic – Catacombs of Znojmo
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina – Catacombs of Jajce
  • Egypt – Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa (or Kom al Sukkfa, Shuqafa, etc.) in Alexandria
  • England – Catacombs of London and others
  • Finland – Catacombs of the Helsinki Orthodox cemetery at Hietaniemi cemetery
  • France – Catacombs of Paris. Mine workings were used at end of the 18th century and had no religious purpose other than as an ossuary for storing the bones of cleared graveyards.
  • Greece – Catacombs of Milos
  • Italy – Catacombs of Rome; Catacombs of Naples; Capuchin catacombs of Palermo and others
  • Malta – Catacombs of Malta
  • Peru – Catacombs of the Convento de San Francisco, Lima
  • Philippines - Catacomb of Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery
  • Spain – Catacombs of Sacromonte in Granada
  • Serbia - Petrovaradin Fortress catacombs
  • Ukraine – Odessa Catacombs
  • United States - Old St. Patrick's Cathedral

There are also catacomb-like burial chambers in Anatolia, Turkey; in Sousse, North Africa; in Syracuse, Italy; Trier, Germany; Kiev, Ukraine. Capuchin catacombs of Palermo, Sicily were used as late as the 1920s. Catacombs were available in some of the grander English cemeteries founded in the 19th Century, such as Sheffield General Cemetery (above ground) and West Norwood Cemetery (below ground). There are catacombs in Bulgaria near Aladzha Monastery and in Romania as medieval underground galleries in Bucharest. In Ukraine and Russia, catacomb (used in the local languages' plural katakomby) also refers to the network of abandoned caves and tunnels earlier used to mine stone, especially limestone.

In Italy very suggestive Catacombs are also located in Alezio, beside the Sanctuary of Santa Maria dell'Assunta , as well known with the name of Santa Maria della Lizza Sanctuary [it], basement.

Use in music

The Catacombs is the eighth movement from Pictures at an Exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky. It describes of loud and soft sounds of echoes in catacombs.

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