The crypt of Brno’s Capuchin Church contains the mummified remains of scores of priests, despite the building’s rosy pink exterior
Before reaching the main vault, the visitor must traverse claustrophobic passageways that feature masonry and the corpses of dignitaries. One woman’s body is preserved in a distressed position, and a label informs visitors that she was inadvertently interred alive. During a time when paralysis and coma were poorly understood, such errors were common, and more than one unfortunate in the crypt met this fate.
However, it is predominantly the final resting place of the Capuchin monks, who for 300 years buried their deceased brothers beneath the church. Hygiene regulations prohibited this practice near the end of the 18th century.
The intention was never to mummify. In accordance with their pledge of frugality, the monks repeatedly reused the same sarcophagus. After the funeral rites, the deceased would be moved into the crypt and laid to rest on a marble pallet. The dry air currents and composition of the subsoil preserved the carcasses in place over time.