La Crypte des Fleurs
Located at an undisclosed place in Belgium
Photo © 2007 Tom Kirsch, opacity.us
La Crypte des Fleurs* History
An old city cemetery lies within tall stone walls, the entrance protected by an imposing black iron gate. When these hinges creak open in the morning, the inside of the cemetery looks quaint and peaceful in contrast to the dark facade - carefully maintained gardens surround peaceful plots, some with benches. A very small chapel-like structure sits in a corner of the cemetery, clean and decorated with flowers, but the tall wooden doors open just a crack to peek inside. One is greeted with a spiral staircase leading to a dank and moldy gallery of tombs that seem to have not been visited for many years.
Three tunnels form this crypt, which follow the cemetery paths above ground - plastic flowers grow thick with cobwebs and cracked portraits of the deceased stare back from moist stone walls. The dates of death range from 1885 to 1978; some were disinterred but most people seem to remain here. In the early days of this crypt the caskets were made of a cheap wood, and they soon liquefied in the damp underground, created a horrendous stench. The city started an ordinance stating that all caskets to be placed here were made of zinc to avoid corrosion. Thanks to forbidden-places for this gem and history.
2016 update: it appears this crypt is being restored, with work completing in 2017.
* Note: the name "La Crypte des Fleurs" is a pseudonym; the real name of this location is currently undisclosed.