Lovely Bones Of Hallstatt And Not So Lovely Of San Ángel



Hallstatt, Country Austria, State Upper Austria, District Gmunden, is a very lovely place.

Good things often come in small packages. Hallstatt is really tiny, squeezed between the mountains and the lake. There is very little unused space, if at all. Something has to give.

That is why the Hallstatt’s cemetery is only a temporary resting place for the dead. The dead citizens of Hallstatt occupy the burial place for round about 10 years or so after the funeral.  When their “stay” is over, the skeletons are exhumed and moved into an ossuary, to make room for the “newcomers”.  


Skulls are treated with utmost respect.  Cleaned and bleached, they are elaborately decorated and inscribed with the owners’ names, professions, death dates. A collection of them is on display at the local chapel.

Pictures of skulls made by Austrian photographer Paul Kranzler: 

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This is another lovely place, located in Mexico.

Ex-convent of El Carmen, located in the southwest of the Federal District of Mexico

Ex-convent of El Carmen, located in the southwest of the Federal District of Mexico

In the basement crypt area there are 12 mummies on display, dating from the 17th to the 19th centuries. In those times, El Carmen convent raised funds for its existence by setting aside crypts for donors from the wealthy families. 

The history of the crypt is a complicated yarn of events, most of them unfortunate. A monastery in San Ángel was abandoned in 1861, and the bodies laying  beneath  undiscovered for over 50 years. But when a local friar insisted that they should be reburied, the residents resisted.  Moreover, they declared them citizens, placed the mummies in wooden caskets with glass lids… for another 85 years.


On the closer look, they present a rather macabre sight.



cryptThese days, the museum is a main tourist attraction of San Ángel.

More of the story and images from the crypt can be found here Don’t bury our mummies! How Mexican town adopted forgotten mummified corpses from sealed crypt abandoned 150 years ago.


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