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MUMMIES and
MUMMIFIED REMAINS

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Capuchin Monastery, Brno
Vamberk Mummies
Jesuit Catacomb, Klatovy


Capuchin Monastery Crypt, Brno

The following images and information have been taken from the website "Kapucinska hrobka v Brne"

Probably the best known collection of mummies in the Czechlands is that in the Crypt of the Capuchin Monastery in Brno. The monastery dates from 1648, when Count Frantz Magnis gave the Capuchins a number of houses on the Coal Market square. These houses were demolished and the monastery was erected on the property, being completed in 1651. The crypt was founded in the middle of the 18th century and was most likely created by joining the cellars of the houses which had formerly stood on the area of the monastery. Differing floor levels in various sections of the crypt testify to this theory.
The Capuchin monks interred their dead in the crypt directly below the main altar. This was a common trait of all Capuchins, but in the Brno monastery, the geological composition of the soil, together with a unique system of ventilation, allowed the bodies of the deceased to mummify by natural processes. Thus the bodies of most of the deceased, as well as much of their original clothing, has remained preserved to today.
The burials reperesent a broad cross section of all levels of society, not only monks. In fact, according to monastery records, of 150 original burials, only about 24 were Capuchin monks. The deceased were carried to the crypt in a ceremonial coffin, and then laid out on the bare ground with a brick or two under the head. No distinction was made regarding hierarchy, the bodies were simply laid out in rows, and clothed in a simple monastery cloak. Each has a rosary wrapped around one wrist, and one monk still carries a wooden cross in his arms. The bodies were interred in the crypt until 1787, when the Emperor Joseph II passed a law forbidding burials within city limits.
The most important secular burial was the Baron Frantz Trenck, an adventurer and sometime officer in the Austrian Imperial Army. Born in 1711, he was indicted for treason while fighting the Prussians and died in prison in 1749. But because of his generous contributions to the Capuchins in Brno, he was given his own room in the crypt where he reposes in a glass coffin.

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Vamberk Mummies, Benedictine Monastery, Broumov

The following information has been taken from the website "Vamberecke Mumie"
Images are copyright Jan Cerny jr. of Jaromer.

In the mid 1980s, sewer renovations near the Church of St. Prokop in the town of Vamberk uncovered an abandoned crypt, where 34 mummies, dating from the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th centuries, were discovered. Humidity and mold began to have an effect on the mummies, and so a more suitable resting place was sought for them. This resting place turned out to be the crypt of the Benedictine Monastery in Broumov. The mummies' accommodation in Broumov is only temporary, until a more permanent home can be found for them. As my information is a few years old, I'm afraid I can't say where the mummies are today.

The mummies were laid in open coffins, with two small coffins testifying to the fact that children were also interred there. Among the coffins, one contained a wooden chalice placed by the deceased's head, and a document stating that the deceased was the Vamberk priest, Father Adalbert Damian Rozvoda, who died Aug. 24th, 1774. The document gives information on others resting in the crypt, but due to its age, not a lot of it is readable.

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Klatovy

The following image and information has been taken from the website "Klatovy - Historie, pamatky"
In 1636, a group of Jesuit monks arrived in Klatovy with the intention of converting the Protestant population to Catholocism. They built an impressive cathedral near the town square, below which lies a catacomb similar to the Capuchin crypt in Brno. Like the Capuchin crypt, the Klatovy catacomb has a unique system of air channels running through the walls (some of them even reaching the roof of the cathedral), which dries the air and allows the bodies to mummify by natural processes.
The catacomb contained a number of mummies of Jesuit brothers and aristocrats who sympathized with them, the brothers dressed in their traditional black cloaks, the aristocrats dressed in magnificient, richly decorated clothing of the period. The bodies were interred in the catacomb from 1674 to 1783, when the order from Joseph II forbade burials within city limits.
Of some 200 bodies originally interred in the catacomb, about 160 were damaged and destroyed by carelessness during repairs to the building in the 1930s. Today, the remaining 40 mummies can be viewed in individual coffins with glass covers.
Many thanks to Jaroslav Houdek for the pictures of the mummies below.

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