Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa

Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa is located in Alexandria, Egypt.

Alexandria was having different blends of culture in the late first century. It was having Roman and Greek traditions and Christianity was also flourishing despite from all that changes in culture ancient Egypt’s great kingdoms were still not forgotten. This place was having unique impact that people combine their talents rather than destroying cultures.

The evocative reminders of a culture that existed 1,900 years: Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa, “ Mounds of Shards”. Three levels burrow into the ground its carved out of solid rock near the sites of the ancient stadium and the long vanished temple of Serapis, a Greek and Egyptian god. Many such catacombs once filigreed Alexandria’s underground but earthquakes and construction projects destroyed them.

Kom el Shoqafa was not find out by any human that’s interesting also in 1900 when it was re discovered after centuries that was by a donkey which accidentally fell through a hole in the ground, and that time it was seen the animal had made an extraordinary archeological find.

Kom el Shoqafa was an active burial site in the late second century. There is ancient circular staircase leads down into the catacombs. The bodies were lowered by rope down the well formed by the spiraling stairs. At the end of the staircase there are two benches are carved into wall inches overhead by the cockleshell motif found in classical designs.

A circular building through a six-pillared central shaft opens off the vestibule. On the left there is triclinium, that’s the funeral banquet hall where friends and family gather on stone couches covered with cushions. It is believed by the scholars that the catacombs at 1st may be were only for one family but latterly they were expanded into a mass burial site, and its assumed that was administrated by a corporation with dues paying members.

Down through staircase to second level there is an area eerily alive with sculpture. In the lobby of the building two pillars are topped by the papyrus, lotus, and acanthus leaves of ancient Egypt, two falcons flanking a winged sun decorate the frieze. In the walls there are carved figures of man and a woman probably can be figures of the tomb’s original occupants. The man’s body in figure is having stiff hieratic pose as its found in ancient Egyptian sculpture while his head is in the lifelike manner of the classic Hellenes and the woman’s figure is also rigid but it sports the Roman hairstyle.

Three huge stone coffins with non-removable covers along the sides of the chamber. It’s assumed that bodies were inserted in them from behind using a passageway that runs around the outside of the funeral chamber. There is a hallway with 91 wall inches in the central tomb chamber and each one providing burial space for three mummies.

The visitors can reach the first level through a breach in the rotunda wall that way probably was not used by the original builders. This way leads to the Hall of Caracalla, in this hall the bones of horses and humans were found. The hall name is on the name of Emperor Caracalla who massacred the Alexandrian youth in 215 AD.


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