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.
Famous for the Itsukushima Shrine and it’s cheeky deer who love to eat your map/guide right out of your back pocket!
Spotted the next targets:
Purify your hands and mind before entering.
Wrath-filled and muscular guardian of the Buddha. Religion can be terrifying sometimes.
Visiting the island at dusk created an almost magical atmosphere:
Even monks make sake:
The main attraction: