As much as you can see above ground in Brno, like the Spilberk castle and the Villa Tugendhat, there is also a lot to see underground. Right underneath the Zelný trh (the vegetable market) Brno has a labyrinth of tunnels. These tunnels, some of them from medieval times, were mostly cellars. Today you can see an exhibition on food storage, how the tunnels were illuminated, alchemists, famous doctors who lived in Brno, and all kinds of stuff which was found in the tunnels. It’s a bit of a mix, but quite interesting. The tour is in Czech, international visitors get an audio guide.
At the end of the tour was a white stone which resembled a butt. Touching it would mean eternal youth. Of course, I couldn’t resist.
Right around the corner from the Zelný trh is the Capuchin crypt, another underground highlight in Brno. The crypt from the 17th century was the final resting place for the Capuchin friars. Instead of getting buried they were laid to rest in the crypt, out in the open (or rather underground in the crypt) where they dried up and shriveled. A special ventilation system and the lack of humidity in these cellars helped to conserve the bodies and transform them into mummies.
But also some supporters of the Capuchin friars were honored with a burial in the crypt. Like the Baron Franz von der Trenck, the leader of Pandurs, Austrian paramilitary troops, in the 18th century. He ended up being court-martialed and spent his last years in the Spilberk castle in prison. Maybe to atone for sins von der Trenck left a large sum to the Capuchin friars upon his death. His mummy is therefore also on display in the crypt.
Last but not least we walked to the Ossuary at the Church of St. James. Next to the church were a couple of stairs leading down into another cellar. This one didn’t contain any mummies, but as the name implies, lots of bones. And when I say lots, I mean it. This places comes right behind the catacombs in Paris. The bones were stacked in such a way that they looked like a wall. Even though this might sound weird, there was beauty in that kind of display.
The ossuary was started probably in the 17th century. It holds now only 10%-15% of all the bones found here, with the rest being buried at the cemetery. The stacking though was done later, after it was found. I wonder who signed up for this job. But there is one original stacking still from the 17th century. It is the only one now placed behind glass. Yours, Pollybert