Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thanks be to Google! The Catacombs come alive

Have you ever wanted to visit the ancient Roman catacombs? Well, if a trip to Rome isn't in your immediate future, you can still get an up-close look at one of the largest system of catacombs in the Eternal City.

Thanks to an agreement between the Holy See and Google announced this week, the Catacombs of Priscilla can now be visited online via Google Maps. These catacombs were just reopened to the public after an extensive five-year restoration which has brought new vitality to the ancient inscriptions and artwork that cover the labyrinth of underground tombs and chapels.

The Catacombs of Priscilla were dug in a what was a quarry in Roman times. They were used for Christian burials between roughly 175-320 AD, and they contain a stunning array of very early Christian frescoes. Among the images are funerary images, biblical scenes and what one particularly cool image that most experts consider to be the earliest-known depiction of the Virgin Mary, holding the Christ Child in her lap (pictured above).

So, relax and, from the comfort of your own home, take a gander and the splendor of this ancient Catholic treasure! You can access the Google Maps page for the Catacombs of Priscilla by clicking the image below: