Find information about Vatican Necropolis
The Necropolis of the Vatican, or the Vatican Necropolis, is a large underground burial complex located beneath St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City. It is believed to have been in use since the early days of Christianity, although its exact history is unclear.
The earliest known use of the Necropolis dates back to the 4th century AD when the emperor Constantine I ordered the construction of a church (the original St. Peter’s Basilica) to house the remains of St. Peter. This structure was built over the site of a previous necropolis, which is believed to have contained the remains of early Christians.
Throughout the centuries, the Necropolis became the preferred burial place for many of the popes, including Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II. In addition to the tombs of the popes, the Necropolis also holds the tombs of several saints and martyrs, as well as the burials of many of the members of the Roman aristocracy, including those of the emperor Nero and his wife Poppaea.
In the 16th century, the Vatican Necropolis was opened to the public, allowing visitors to view the tombs and monuments of the popes and other important figures. It remained open to the public until the 19th century when it was closed by order of Pope Pius IX.
The Necropolis was reopened in the 1950s and has since been the subject of extensive research and restoration. In 2006, the Vatican Necropolis was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today, the Necropolis is open to visitors who wish to pay their respects to the past, although access is limited.
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