The Catacombs of Paris is a network of underground tunnels 1.5 km long on the site of ancient Roman quarries near Paris  . In the period from the end of the XVIII to the middle of the XIX century, the remains of about six million people were brought here  . The total area of the underground cemetery is 11,000 m 2 . Today, the catacombs are part of the Carnival Museum and are open to the public  .
|Catacombs of Paris|
Most of the stone workings of Paris were on the left bank of the Seine , but in the X century the population moved to the right bank , not far from the old city of the Merovingian period. At first, stone was mined in an open way, but by the end of the 10th century its reserves were not enough.
The first underground mining of limestone was under the territory of the modern Luxembourg Garden , when Louis XI donated the land of Wovert Castle for cutting down limestone . New mines begin to open farther and farther from the city center - these are the areas of the current Val-de-Grasse hospital , Gobelin, Saint-Jacques, Vaugirard, Saint-Germain-des-Prés . In 1259, the monks of the nearby monastery adapted the caves to wine cellars and continued underground mining.
The expansion of the residential part of Paris during the Renaissance and later, under Louis XIV , led to the fact that by the 17th century the lands above the quarries were already within the city limits, and a significant part of the residential areas actually “hung” over the abyss. The most dangerous places were the "suburb of Saint Victor" (from the eastern edge of the Rue des Hécols to the south to Geoffrey Saint-Hilaire), Saint-Jacques street, and finally, the suburb (then a small town near the castle) of Saint-Germain-des-Prés .
In April 1777, King Louis XVI issued a decree establishing the General Inspection of Quarries, which still exists today. For more than a 200-year period, the employees of this inspection carried out tremendous work to create fortifications that could delay or even completely prevent the gradual destruction of the dungeon. The problem of strengthening the areas of the underground network that are causing concern is solved in one way that does not require significant funding - the entire underground space is filled with concrete. As a result of concreting, such historical monuments as gypsum quarries in the north of Paris disappeared. Yet concreting is a temporary measure, because the underground waters of the Seine sooner or later will find a way out in other places.
The history of the ossuary
According to the established Christian tradition, they tried to bury the deceased on land adjacent to the church. At the beginning of the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church in every way encouraged burial near churches, receiving considerable profits for the funeral of the dead and for places in the cemetery . Therefore, Christian cemeteries were located in the center of settlements not only in Paris, but throughout Europe.
For example, on 7,000 square meters of the cemetery of the Innocent , functioning since the 11th century , parishioners from 19 churches were buried, as well as unidentified corpses. In 1418  the Black Death or Bubonic Plague Epidemic added about 50,000 more corpses. In 1572, the cemetery housed thousands of victims of Bartholomew’s Night . Since by the middle of the 18th century the cemetery had become the burial place of two million bodies, the burial layer sometimes went down to a depth of 10 meters, and the ground level rose by more than two meters. Up to 1,500 remains of a different period could be in one grave at different levels. The cemetery became a hotbed of infection, it emitted a stench, because of which, as they said, sour milk and wine. However, priests opposed the closure of city cemeteries. But, despite the resistance of church representatives, in 1763, the Paris Parliament issued a decree banning burials inside the city walls.
In 1780, the wall separating the innocent cemetery from the houses on the neighboring Rue de la Langri street collapsed. The basements of nearby houses were filled with the remains of the dead and a huge amount of dirt and sewage. The cemetery was closed completely and banned in Paris. For 15 months, convoys in black took out bones every night to disinfect, process and put them into abandoned quarries of Tomb Isoire at a depth of 17.5 meters. Later it was decided to clear another 17 cemeteries and 300 places of worship of the city.
The famous Russian historian and publicist V. M. Stroyev in his book “Paris in 1838 and 1839” wrote:
|Here there were first quarries that delivered material for the construction of Parisian houses. A void formed under the whole block; residents were frightened, and the government detached engineers who built underground galleries and vaults. Galleries run parallel to the streets; Each house has its own number underground, so that in the event of an incident above, protective measures can be taken below. Police Chief Lenoir proposed turning the underground galleries into catacombs, clearing the bones of cemeteries and placing them underground. His plan is accepted and executed. More than five million skeletons were transferred under the gloomy arches of the catacombs and are arranged in a symmetrical order.|
Going down a hundred feet along a narrow staircase, you enter the vestibule, which says:Stop, here is the kingdom of death ...
There is a small pavilion near the entrance to the Danfer-Rochereau metro station ( French: Denfert-Rochereau ) (a landmark is the famous lion by sculptor Bartholdy , the author of the Statue of Liberty ). This is the entrance to the famous Paris catacombs.
The catacombs are patrolled by a special sports police brigade, created in 1980 to comply with the law of November 2, 1955, which prohibits all outsiders from being in the underground quarries of Paris outside tourist areas. The minimum penalty for violation is 60 euros.
Buried in the catacombs
- Danton, Georges Jacques
- Colbert, Jean Baptiste
- Robespierre, Maximilian
- Fouquet, Nicolas
- Saint-Just, Louis Antoine
- Lavoisier, Antoine Laurent
- Pascal, Blaise
- Perrault, Charles
- Rabelais, Francois
- Guillaume, Charles Axel
- De Thuri, Eric
- Underground galleries had electricity. Emperor Napoleon III loved to receive important guests here.
- Today, about 2 km of underground passages are equipped for tourists to visit. When visiting the catacombs, you can not refuse to visit the ossuary itself. More than 200 people are not allowed into the tourist area at the same time, so the line sometimes stretches. The catacombs close at 5 pm, the last tourist reception at 4 (in the summer at 20.00 and 19.00, respectively).
- The watchman of the church of Val de Grace Philibert Asper, in search of wine cellars, tried to explore the tunnels of quarries, stretching hundreds of kilometers. In 1793, he got lost in this maze, and his skeleton was found only after 11 years, identified by the keys and clothes.
- During the Paris World Exhibition of 1889, in the underground galleries of Chaillot , opposite the Eiffel Tower , which was specially built for this exhibition, a cafe called "Catacombs" was opened.
- The existence of the catacombs of Paris is in jeopardy. The main reason is groundwater , eroding the base and mounts of the catacombs. In early 1980, the groundwater level in some places began to rise, as a result of which some galleries were flooded.
- During World War II, on the left bank of the Seine , a top-secret bunker of the German army was equipped in one of the quarries. Just 500 meters from it, in August 1944 , the headquarters of the leaders of the Resistance movement was located .
- During the Cold War, bomb shelters were equipped in the underground galleries of Paris in the event of a nuclear war .
Mention in art and popular culture
- Detective Father Brown
- Gaspars, or Rats of Paris (1974)
- Catacombs (2007)
- Paris (film) (2008)
- Paris: City of the Dead (2014)
- Boris Akunin ( Grigory Chkhartishvili ) “ Cemetery stories ”, AST Astrel, 2005
- Rick Riordan "The Labyrinth of Bones "
- James Rollins "The Skeleton Key" ("bone key")
- Barbara Hambley "Those Who Hunt in the Night"
- Ulrike Schweikert “Heirs of the Night”
- Victor Hugo "Les Miserables"
- Andrey Valentinov " Deserter "
- Bernard Werber "The Mirror of Cassandra" (Bernard Werber Le miroir de Cassandre / The mirror of Cassandra).
- Ulrike Schweikert “Heirs of the Night. The Power of Darkness ” 
- Deus ex
- The saboteur
- Nancy Drew: Danger by Design
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
- Medal of Honor: Underground
- Midnight Club II
- Assassin's Creed Unity
- Wolfenstein: Youngblood
Modest Mussorgsky - “ Pictures from the Exhibition ”. One of the parts of the piano “suite” is called “Catacombs”.
- Paris underground quarries
- Gutters of Paris
- France. Linguistic and Regional Dictionary / Ed. L. G. Vedenina. - M .: Interdialect +: AMT, 1997 .-- S. 156. - ISBN 5-89520-003-6 .
- Fire Plague. Filippov B., Yastrebitskaya A. European world of the X-XV centuries. foreandming.tumblr.com. The appeal date is March 28, 2016.
- Schweikert, Ulrike (Russian) // Wikipedia. - 2016-04-24.
- (Fr.) Gerard, Emil. South of Paris. - Sides, 1908. - ISBN ISBN 2-84022-002-4 .