Growing Graves: Israel To Open Massive Catacombs In Jerusalem Soon

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Israel might be a powerful country but it is quickly running out of space for the graveyard on the ground.To counter the problem it is now looking underground.

Written By Divyam Jain | Mumbai | Updated On:
Massive modern catacombs

Under a mountain on the edges of Jerusalem, laborers are finishing three years of work on an enormous underground necropolis involved a mile (1.5 kilometers) of passages with mausoleums for entombing the dead. Up over, the Har Hamenuchot Burial ground overwhelms the slope sitting above the fundamental expressway driving into Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. Be that as it may, in October, the burial ground's administration intends to open the main segment of a rambling tomb complex which, when finished, will give 23,000 gravesites to an inexorably transcontinental nation.

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Israel looks for space underground 

“People will die probably forever,” said Arik Glazer, chief executive of Rolzur Tunneling, the company building the tunnel tombs, “so you have to get space for that.”

The land is hard to come by in Israel, and Jewish and Muslim entombment traditions require burying the dead in the ground and preclude incineration. The hilltop graveyard is nearly at the limit, with almost a quarter-million graves. The principal underground area opening in October will have a limit with regards to 8,000. The rest of the areas are scheduled to open in the coming years. Like other progressively jam-packed cities, Tel Aviv has grasped vertical graveyard structures to suit developing interest, however now Israel is searching for arrangements subterranean. Indeed, even in the bursting summer heat, the confounded vaults keep up their relentless all year temperature of 23 degrees Celsius (73 degrees Fahrenheit).

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Topography, Architecture, and cost of building catacombs

The limestone dividers are fixed four-high with tombs that take after little Japanese case inns. Mammoth fire shaded polyhedron light installations planned by German craftsman Yvelle Gabriel dangle at crossing points between the roads and avenues somewhere down in the mountain. The whole venture cost an expected $50 million and took a little more than three years to finish. The passages take up only 5% of the all-out underground zone of the mountain accessible for future tombs, Glazer said. Some portion of the motivation behind this task was the antiquated Jewish custom of cavern internments found at destinations around the Heavenly Land, from the UNESCO legacy site of Beit Shearim close Haifa to rough slopes around Jerusalem. "The fundamental outlines for this venture were the burial ground at Beit Shearim," said Adi Alphandary, leader of Rolzur's business improvement. Those tombs, dynamic between the second and fourth hundreds of years, were perceived by the Assembled Countries as a World Legacy Site in 2015.

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The new Burial process in these catacombs

Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist Amit Reem said that families would inter the deceased’s remains in the catacombs, then seal the door with a rock for eight months. “When they opened the door of the cave, inside the cave was only the skeleton with no flesh,” Reem said. The bones were then collected and often placed in stone boxes, known as ossuaries, inside the cave chamber. While the modern-day burial chambers will simply be sealed with a grave marker, Hananya Shahor, executive director of the Jewish burial association in Jerusalem, said that Orthodox rabbis they consulted said the sprawling site is “100% acceptable according to Jewish tradition.” “We are almost sure that people will like this way much, much more than the old systems of burial,” he said.

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(With inputs from AP)

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