City of the dead

Har HaMenu­chot, Jerusalem

BBC Earth (Asia) - - Snapshot - PHOTO: Shut­ter­stock

With burial space run­ning out, Jerusalem’s largest ceme­tery is ex­pand­ing be­neath the soil. Each of these holes will pro­vide a fi­nal rest­ing place for one of the city’s dead, with some 22,000 graves in to­tal in the 1.5km-long tun­nel sys­tem.

A short­age of burial space is an is­sue in crowded cities and in re­gions where religion dis­cour­ages cre­ma­tion. This means that en­gi­neers are hav­ing to come up with in­no­va­tive so­lu­tions.

These hive-like crypts were bored into the rock, 50 me­tres below the orig­i­nal ceme­tery. “The de­ceased will be buried in­side the rock, just as they were in Bib­li­cal times,” says Arik Glazer, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Rolzur Tun­nelling, the com­pany be­hind the project’s con­struc­tion. Visi­tors will en­ter the tun­nels via el­e­va­tors, with floors at dif­fer­ent lev­els pro­vid­ing ac­cess to the stacked graves, while golf carts will be on hand to trans­port peo­ple around. The com­pany plans to start buri­als by the end of 2018.

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