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Catacombs of Rome were many ancient underground burial locations that were located near the city of Rome in Italy. They are interesting burial places in Italy with some of the best in terms of art work are in Rome. Some of them have been discovered in recent years. Networks of underground tunnels were used to bury bodies of the departed and some of the tombs are open to the public and is a major tourist attraction in Rome. The catacombs date back in the 2nd century, where they were famous for Christian burials where they were developed as a response to the problem of overcrowding and shortage of land. There have been several myths too which have been developed to justify the creation of the catacombs. Some scholars and writers assert that they catacombs came in order to aid persecuted Christians to bury their dead secretly, a myth that has always been discredited. The catacombs of Rome are made up of underground passages or tunnels out of whose walls graves were inscribed. These graves generally lay out vertically to which it could contain one or several bodies. Arcosolium is another form of burial typical of the Catacombs of Rome which consists of a curved slot enclosed under a engraved horizontal marble block. Burial rooms that contain graves for one family known as cubicula and cryptae which is a chapel decorated with frescoes are both commonly found in catacomb tunnels. The art of constructing catacombs was favored by the soft volcanic tuff rock that forms most of the land under Rome thereby making it highly suitable for tunneling. The rock when exposed to air is soft, and hardens afterwards. This enabled the creation of tunnels of which are of many kilometers and up to four layers that form the catacombs.
Looking at the locations of the catacombs, starting by Rome’s catacombs via Appia Antica where outside the walls of Rome were used as burial places by early Christians as well as non Christians. This is because burials inside the walls of Rome were forbidden as early as the 5th century BC. Miles of passages were cut into the soft volcanic tuff rock that formed the layers of land below Rome in order to be used as burial chambers. Catacombs of St. Callixtus are the biggest and most popular in Italy thereby becoming the most visited. It has a network of galleries of about 20 kilometers in length and 20 meters in depth. Highlights of the St. Callixtus include early Christian frescoes, crypt of the nine popes, sculptures and paintings. Catacombs of St. Domitilla whose entrance is through a fourth century church has the oldest catacombs in Italy. One of Its highlights is the 2nd century fresco of the Last Supper. Catacombs of St. Sebastian have about 11 kilometers of underground tunnels though its tour is restricted to a small area. Its highlight includes early Christian mosaics and graffiti.
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Monastery of Saint Catherine is located on the Sinai Peninsula, at the mouth of a gorge at the foot of Mt. Sinai in the Egyptian city of Saint Catherine. The monastery is orthodox and is one of the oldest Christian monasteries in the world and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Monastery of Saint Catherine incorporates the burning bush seen by Moses in the Bible and contains many important icons. Mount Sinai is located above the monastery, where it is believed that Moses received the Ten Commandments from God. This region is considered to be sacred by many world religions because God spoke to Moses in this place. They include Christianity, Judaism and Islam. The Monastery of St. Catherine comprises the whole Orthodox Church of Mount Sinai, an independent Orthodox Christian church which is headed by an archbishop to whom he is also the abbot of the monastery. The large living shrub is considered the to be the holiest part of the monastery, as it is believed to be a direct descendant of the exact burning bush that Moses saw in the Bible. The Basilica of the Transfiguration is the main church of the monastery, built of granite. The Church structure, the engraved cedar doors and the roof all date back as long as 527 AD. In its interior, the church has a broad main nave, two side passageways, a narthex and an apse. The floor is made of marble, and the church has elaborate iconostasis which date back to the eighteenth century. The iconic structures, finishing, mosaics and the art of work that decorate the interior of the church date back to many centuries. The doors of the narthex for instance were constructed by crusaders in the 11th century.
The Arch of Titus and the Pantheon are two ancient structures in Rome that has great historical significance. The Arch of Titus is known to be one of two remaining arches on the forum Romanum which was built to commemorate the capture of Jerusalem over the Jewish believers. The arch is 15m high and stands in a slightly raised position on a spur of the Palestinian Hill at the entry to the Forum Romanum in Rome. The arch has its religious significance lying in its representation of the 70 AD sacking of Jerusalem and its sacred temple by the Romans. It is the longest existing example of a Roman arch. The Pantheon is a superb ancient temple in Rome that was transformed into the church of Santa Maria ad Martyres. The Pantheon date back from 125 AD and is the most complete ancient structure in Rome and one of the city’s most magnificent sights. The building has great significance as it was dedicated to pan Theos meaning all the gods. It was also dedicated to the Virgin Mary and all martyrs when it became a church. It is also a burial place for several Italian dignitaries and remains as an active church. It is an important tourist attraction and a popular destination of holiday makers and weddings.
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