The Penis Tombstone Cemetery
Thousands of tourists come to visit Khalid Nabi cemetery in Tehran, Iran every year. It is a historic cemetery over a thousand years old. The reason tourism is so high at this cemetery is because people simply want to see and get there picture taken next to a stone penis.
The tombstones are symbolic representations of male and female genitals. The symbolism could come from the phallic religion practiced in India and central Asia, but few know for sure the meaning behind the designs.
More than 600 head stones make up the bizarre cemetery in northeastern Iran. Despite its long history, the site was only added to Iran’s national heritage list a decade ago due to the unique “shape” of the grave markers.
Ancient Wari Mummy
Archeologists working at Peru’s Huaca Pucllana ruins pulled a mummy from a tomb in 2008, thought to be from the ancient Wari culture that flourished before the Incas. Besides the female mummy, the tomb contained the remains of two other adults and a child.
It is the first intact Wari burial site discovered at Huaca Pucllana in the capital Lima, and researchers believe it dates from about 700 AD. The Wari people lived and ruled in what is now Peru for some 500 years, between 600 AD and 1100 AD. Their capital was near modern-day Ayacucho, in the Andes, but they traveled widely and are known for their extensive network of roads.
The Imperial Crypt
Also known as Capuchins’ Crypt, the Imperial Crypt in Vienna, Austria lies below the Capuchin Church and monastery founded in 1618 and dedicated in 1632. The bodies of 145 Habsburg royalty, plus urns containing the hearts or cremated remains of four others, are deposited here, including 12 emperors and 18 empresses.
The most recent entombment was in 2011. The visible 107 metal sarcophagi and 5 heart urns range in style from puritan plain to exuberant rococo. The Imperial Crypt is one of the top tourist attractions in Vienna. To this day, some of the dozen resident Caphuchin friars continue their customary role as the guardians and caretakers of the crypt along with their other pastoral work in Vienna.
World’s Oldest Socks
These odd, ancient socks are the earliest knitted items in the Victoria & Albert Museum’s collection and quite possibly the oldest socks in the world. Made in 300-499 AD, these Egyptian socks were excavated in the burial grounds of ancient Oxyrhynchus, a Greek colony on the Nile in central Egypt at the end of the 19th century. They have a divided toe and are designed to be worn with sandals.
Particularly intriguing is the technique used to construct these red wool socks. Called nålbindning, or single-needle knitting, this time-consuming process required only a single thread. The technique was frequently used for close-fitting garments for the head, feet and hands because of its elastic qualities. Primarily from prehistoric times, nålbindning came before the two-needle knitting that’s standard today; each needle was crafted from wood or bone that was “flat, blunt and between 6 -10 cm long, relatively large-eyed at one end or the eye is near the middle.”
Curious History: Hallstatt Charnel House or House of Painted Skulls
Behind the Hallstatt Catholic Church in Austria, near the 12th-century St. Micheal’s Chapel, in a small and lovingly cared for cemetery is the Hallstatt Beinhaus (bone house), also known as the Charnel House. A small building, it is tightly stacked with over 1200 skulls. Because Hallstatt finds itself in such a lovely location, it also finds itself in very short supply of burial grounds.
In the 1700s, the Church began digging up corpses to make way for the newly dead. The bodies which had been buried for only 10 to 15 years were then stacked inside the charnel house. Once the skeletons were exhumed and properly bleached in the sun, the family members would stack the bones next to their nearest kin.
In 1720, a tradition began of painting the skulls with symbolic decorations as well as dates of birth and death so that the dead would be remembered, even if they no longer had a grave. Of the 1,200 skulls, some 610 of them were lovingly painted, with an assortment of symbols, laurels for valor, roses for love, and so on. The ones from the 1700s are painted with thick dark garlands, while the newer ones from the 1800s on, bear brighter floral styles.