Artfully arranged bones of 5,800 Austrians.
Eggenburg Charnel dates back to the early 14th century, and is a frighteningly beautiful sight. It’s frightening in its medium of human remains, and beautiful in its detail as every bone is perfectly set to give the pit-like skull cavern a symmetrical and haunting brilliance.
Swirling down in a wide, round cylinder, the Eggenburg Charnel holds the remains of 5,800 people. While mentions of the site are as early as 1299, the majority of the charnel was constructed in 1405. The central focal point of the charnel is a small pile of skulls, closed off with longer bones from the legs and arms forming a semi-circle around them.
Today, the site sits behind a protective window and cannot be viewed up close as the remains are too fragile. Considering the charnel is at the bottom of a pit, the Eggenburg authorities likely thought few tourists would want to explore the bones in great depth anyway.
For more information on amazing ossuaries, charnels and skeletal remains around the world, visit Paul Koudounaris’ website Empire de la Mort, or purchase his definitive book The Empire of Death: A Cultural History of Ossuaries and Charnel Houses.
Know Before You Go
Close to Parish Curch St. Stephan
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