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Catacombs of Kom el-Shoqafa

Alexandria , Egypt

What Lies Beneath: Three levels of burial chambers dating back to the 2nd century A.D. An impressive architectural achievement, its three levels of tombs reach a depth of 100 feet. The décor is an unusual combination of ancient Egyptian iconography with Greco-Roman motifs: one relief wall carving shows the jackal-headed Egyptian god Anubis wearing the uniform of Roman soldiers.

How Did It Get There: Alexandria’s catacombs were modeled after those in Rome and were first built for a single wealthy family.

Cool Bonus: Picnics among the dead were a tradition (and it’s still common for families to lunch while visiting dead relatives). And “carry in, carry out” did not apply—it was thought to be bad luck to bring the plates and cups used back into the life of the living. A chamber on the second level of the catacombs was found full of broken shards of pottery used in these morbid meals.

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