The crypt at St Leonard’s is a very mysterious place, over 2,000 skulls on display either shelved or as part of a giant pile of skulls and thigh bones. No-one has been able to confirm exactly when the bones were first displayed in this manner of even why. However, what is known from recorded history is that the skulls have been on show for at least the last 400 years!
A bird nesting in one of the skulls. Luckily after death!
This pile is made up of around 1,000 skulls and 8,000 thigh bones. Theory suggests that the bones were put on display to travelling Pilgrims from the close proximity to the port town of Dover. A macabre shrine / tourist attraction on the way to Cantebury.
This poor fellow died of a sword wound; interestingly you can see how the skull has tried to heal leading to the growth in the around the wound.
Some of these skulls are over 700 years old. It has been assumed that these were mostly found in unmarked graves from the church graveyard, which due to space restrictions did not have gravestones. It was a common occurrence to find skeletons whilst digging a new grave. Why not put it on display?!
A example of a bone tumour – not necessarily the cause of death.
It’s a good job the rest of the church isn’t so dreary!
Credit to Jack F Barker for producing a guidebook explaining the small amount that is actually known about the crypt.
As one of only two ossuaries in the UK I highly recommend a visit: http://www.stleonardschurchhythekent.org/thecrypt.html.
The ruins of this temple in the Amman citadel complex once held a statute of the hero of Greek mythology, Hercules. Built between 162-166 CE scientists have not been able to accurately determine how tall he actually was!
The road to Umayyad Palace
Name drop ‘Alexander the great’ founded this place; as an ancient greek city you’d think you were in Athens rather than 30 miles north of the modern day capital of Jordan.
Jerash thrived during the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods which is evidenced by the expansive ruins which remain. Despite the 749 Galilee earthquake destroying large parts of Jerash a significant portion of the site remains.
What remains of the old market place.
The Jerash nymphaeum.
The temple of Artemis
Artemis is known as the hellenic goddess of the hunt, wild animals, wilderness, childbirth, virginity and protector of young girls, bringing and relieving disease in women! Built in CE 150 this was once the most important temple of Jerash but was later turned into a fortress and mostly destroyed by a great fire.
Petra has to be visited to be truly appreciated. One of the new seven wonders of the world and it really deserves its place. The complex named Petra is vast and has so much to explore; after spending over 6 hours and walking somewhere in the region of 30km there was still so much to see.
Al Khazneh or The Treasury
Originally built as a mausoleum and crypt at the beginning of the 1st century AD. Its Arabic name Treasury derives from one legend that bandits or pirates hid their loot in a stone urn high on the second level.
Visiting the Treasury at night is a captivating experience; a candle lit walk through the Siq leads you to the base of the structure softly illuminated by hundreds of small candle lit lamps. This is the only time I saw more than a handful of tourists in one place!
The Royal Tombs (incl The Palace Tomb)
A stretch of tombs and burial chambers line the North eastern edge of Petra.
Hopefully this may give an impression of the scale of the city of Petra; this is just one small part.
Ad Deir or The Monastery
Built by the Nabataeans in the 1st century and measuring 50 metres (160 ft) wide by approximately 45 metres (148 ft) high.
The climb to reach this ruin snakes up the mountainside covering somewhere close to 900 steps. After avoiding the numerous Bedouins trying to rip-off the tourists selling trinkets and donkey rides you turn a corner to witness this tremendous site.