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ARCHAEOLOGY > Ottoman tower tops list of buildings made with bones

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A tower built by an Ottoman general from the skulls of his enemies in Serbia has topped the list of “World’s Greatest Osteological Marvels,” according to U.S. website MentalFloss.com.

Here is the full list published by Mental Floss's popular blog:

1. The Skull Tower of Niš

Using the skulls of your enemies to build a tower sends one powerful message—even if the structure winds up measuring a scant 15 feet in height. In 1809, midway through the first Serbian uprising against the Ottoman Empire, Turkish general Hurshid Pasha gathered 952 rebel skulls for this grisly project near the city of Niš. All but 58 were later removed and given dignified funerals, but thanks to the Serbian government’s preservation efforts, you can still see the building today. 



2. The Czermna Skull Chapel

This unique temple is adorned with some 3000 skulls and countless shin bones. Vaclav Tomaszek, a priest residing in the small Polish villiage, collected and assembled the necessary skeletal remains from 1776 to 1804. Where did he find so many bodies? A combination of recent disease victims and mass graves hastily left behind by the Thirty Years’ War gave him more than enough.



3. The Seldec Ossuary


Also known as “the Kutna Hora bone church,” this Czech building looks like an unassuming monastery on the outside. But venture indoors and you’ll see a bony chandelier, a bony candelabrum, and strings of assorted bones dangling from the ceiling.




4. The Capela Dos Ossos

Evora, Portugal is home to yet another worship center built with human remains. Local history maintains that, during the 16th century, a few nearby cemeteries were destroyed, unearthing some 5000 corpses. The cathedral’s resident monks began putting them on display and utilizing them in the structure’s very framework, where they came to serve as a glaring reminder of death’s inevitability. Above the chapel’s doors is this haunting message: “We bones that are here, for your bones we wait.”



5. The Eggenburg Charnel


The remains of 5800 Austrians were utilized in this marvel of ghoulish beauty, which was largely constructed in 1405.




6. Dinosaur Bone Cabin

It isn't just the bones of Homo sapiens that have been converted into building materials. Wyomingite and gas station owner Thomas Boylan finished assembling this piece of prehistoric real estate in 1933.



7. Our Lady of the Conception of the Capuchins

Beneath this Roman church lie the meticulously-arranged bones of some 4000 friars laid out to form a myriad of gorgeous designs (including stars and flowers). A few have even been posed like ghostly mannequins under drooping robes. 



8. Cattle Bone House

Dan Phillips of Texas has been building houses with recycled materials for over 15 years, and cites cattle bones as one of his favorite materials. One particular home he oversaw in the eastern part of the state used bovine skeletons to forge countertops, door handles, floor tiles, and patio furniture.




9. Mammoth Bone Huts

Some of the oldest man-made dwellings in recorded history were primitive huts made with these ice age giants’ remains. The best-known examples hail from an archaeological site near the Ukrainian village of Mezhyrich.



10. Church of San Francisco

The cellar of this Peruvian church features femurs, skulls, and other bones gingerly laid out in ornate circular patterns, which attract tourists to this day.





February/27/2014

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