Travel Like a Gypsy

Meet the world’s most devoted wanderers. From carnival workers to ancient tribes, these groups give new meaning to the phrase: Home is where the heart is.

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Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo
Capuchin Catacombs

Capuchin Catacombs

Down in the cold, dry basement of the Capuchin Monastery, on the outskirts of Palermo, Italy, are the remains of 8,000 people. When the monastery outgrew its original cemetery in 1599, catacombs were excavated beneath the building. In addition to friars interred here, well-known locals chose the crypts as their final resting place. The catacombs are open to the public; iron grills prevent visitors from touching or posing with those laid to rest here. 960 1280

Reuters  

Catacombs of Paris

Catacombs of Paris

A series of manholes and ladders lead visitors to the creepy catacombs of Paris. In 1786, the cemeteries of Paris churches were filled to overflowing. The government saw a solution in long-abandoned stone quarries in and around the capital. The resulting catacombs eventually became the final resting place of some 6 million people. Following a vandalism incident, the catacombs were closed to the public in September 2009, but reopened a few months later. 960 1280

Dave Shea, flickr  

Brno Ossuary

Brno Ossuary

The Brno Ossuary in the Czech Republic is estimated to hold the remains of more than 50,000 people, making it the second-largest site of its kind in Europe (behind the Paris Catacombs). The ossuary was established in the 17th century, partially under the Church of St. James. The ossuary was later forgotten, until its rediscovery in 2001. It has been open to public tours since June 2012. 960 1280

Kirk, Wikimedia Commons  

Monastery of San Francisco

Monastery of San Francisco

Below the monastery of San Francisco, in the historic center of Lima, Peru, creepy catacombs are filled with skulls and bones. The catacombs were established following the monastery’s construction (in 1774), and remained in use until 1808, when a city cemetery was founded outside of Lima. The catacombs were soon forgotten, until their discovery in 1943. An estimated 70,000 individuals’ remains fill the catacombs' narrow hallways and deep holes. 960 1280

Ray_from_LA, flickr  

St. Stephen’s Cathedral

St. Stephen’s Cathedral

Light peeks through the darkness at St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna. Following its consecration in 1147 A.D., the cathedral's grounds gave way to cemeteries – a result of the high honor that believers placed on being buried near a church. Interments began in 1735 and continued until 1783, when a new law forbade most burials within the city. Today, the cathedral’s catacombs house the remains of more than 11,000 persons. 960 1280

Neil Girling, flickr  

St. Paul’s Catacombs

St. Paul’s Catacombs

St. Paul’s Catacombs, outside of Mdina, Malta, are a series of underground galleries and tombs that date from the fourth to the ninth centuries A.D. Intriguingly, the 24 catacombs, which cradle the tombs of more than 1,000 dead, show evidence of pagan, Jewish and Christian burials side-by-side, with no clear divisions. The excavation of the catacombs began in the late 1800s, under the guidance of a Maltese archaeologist and author. The site is now managed by a national agency, with 2 catacombs open to the public. 960 1280

Ian Lloyd, flickr   

Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa

Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa

The Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa (“Mound of Shards”) are a series of tombs in Alexandria, Egypt, that reach a depth of 100 feet. In the 2nd century A.D., they were built for a wealthy family … then forgotten until 1900, when a donkey fell into the access shaft. Human and animal remains have since been found, along with 3 sarcophagi. The catacombs’ name derives from visitors who used to visit the tombs and bring food in terra cotta jars to eat while there. They didn’t wish to bring the containers back home from this place of death, so they would break them … leaving shards behind. 960 1280

thecrawfordsphotos, flickr  

Sedlec Ossuary

Sedlec Ossuary

The Sedlec Ossuary is a small chapel in the Czech Republic that happens to have a whole lot of skeletons -- between 40,000 and 70,000, in fact. Some bones are arranged to form decorations in the chapel, including this chandelier of bones. The ghoulish designs are the handiwork of a 19th-century woodcarver who had been hired by an aristocratic family to arrange the bones, which had been interred in the ossuary since 1511. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Hallstatt Bone House

Hallstatt Bone House

Some visitors find the Bone House in Hallstatt, Austria, unexpectedly beautiful. We just find it creepy. The small chapel is home to a ghoulish display of 1,200 skulls. It came about in the 12th century, when the neighboring cemetery became filled to capacity. Cremation was forbidden, so bodies would be buried for about 15 years, then exhumed and placed in the chapel. Here, skulls are painted with a floral crown – a practice that began around 1720, in a gesture akin to placing flowers on a grave. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Skull Chapel

Skull Chapel

The Skull Chapel in Czerma, Poland, was built in 1776 by a local priest. The chapel serves as the mass grave for nearly 25,000 people who died during the Thirty Years War, 3 Silesian Wars (between Prussia and Austria), as well as from cholera outbreaks and hunger. The priest led the effort to collect the remains and put them in the chapel. The walls and basement are filled with skulls and bones; the remains of those who built the chapel are placed in the center of the church and on the altar. 960 1280

Merlin, Wikimedia Commons  

Capela dos Ossos

Capela dos Ossos

The Capela dos Ossos, or Chapel of Bones, in Évora, Portugal, gets its name from the human skulls and bones that cover its interior walls. The chapel was built in the 1500s by a Franciscan monk, who wanted his fellow monks to meditate hard on life’s transient nature. That message is driven home by some 5,000 skeletons, collected from nearby churches, as well as the words by the chapel’s entrance: “We, the bones that are here, await yours.” 960 1280

ceg, flickr  

Skull Tower

Skull Tower

In the early 1800s, Serbian rebels stood up to the Ottoman Empire. The Skull Tower was later built using the skulls of Serbs killed during a battle in 1809. In all, 952 skulls were collected and mounted on a tower as a warning to whoever opposed the empire. The tower stood in the open air until liberation of the area in southern Serbia in 1878. By then, much of the tower had eroded. In 1892, donations from all over Serbia led to the construction of a chapel, built around 58 skulls that still remained. 960 1280

Magalie L'Abbe, flickr  

San Francisco Solano
Founded on July 4, 1823, by Father Jose Altimira, this historic mission was the site of the Bear Flag Revolt that led to the establishment of the California Republic in 1846.
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/edbierman  

San Rafael Arcangel
This mission is located 20 miles north of San Francisco at the foot of Mount Tamalpais. It was established as a sanitarium and hospital for San Francisco neophytes suffering from depression and disease.
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/edbierman  

San Francisco de Asis (Mission Dolores)
On a site selected by Juan Bautista de Anza, the first mission church was a 50-foot-long log and mud structure. It was eventually moved to higher ground, adjacent to Lake Dolores. The mission was dedicated to Saint Francis by Father Serra in 1776.
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Robert A. Estremo, Wikimedia Creative Commons  

San Jose
The most recent mission to have its church restored, the work truly captures the look and feel of 1830s prosperity. Founded in 1797 by Father Lasuen, the fertile site was chosen because of its view of Mission Dolores and Yerba Buena Island.
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Sanfranman59, Wikimedia Creative Commons  

Santa Clara de Asis
Located on the Guadeloupe River, the log chapel was founded in 1777 by Father Serra in honor of St. Clare. In 1851, work began which ultimately produced Santa Clara University as we know it today.
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Jaga, Wikimedia Creative Commons  

Santa Cruz
Although the soil was excellent and the location ideal, this mission never reached its potential. The dedication of Mission la Exaltacion de la Santa Cruz was made in 1791 by Father Lasuen, but the site was unfortunately located next to Branciforte pueblo, a community of ex-convicts and thieves.
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/pocait  

San Juan Bautista
Founded by Father Lasuen in 1797, this mission was unwittingly located directly above the San Andreas fault. Much of the original structure remains and has been restored. It's considered the largest California mission church and the only one with 3 aisles. It was named for John the Baptist.
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/harshlight  

San Carlos Boorromeo de Carmelo
Founded by Father Serra in 1770 on Pentecost Sunday, this mission was considered to be his favorite. Both he and Father Lasuen are buried here. It served as the ecclesiastical capital of California, as well as Father Serra's headquarters for administrative duties as president of the missions.
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Didier B, Wikimedia Creative Commons  

Nuestra Senora de la Soledad
The padres named this mission for Our Lady of Solitude in 1791, which fits its isolated location. The rich soil and plentiful water helped the mission produce more than 100,000 bushels of wheat per year and raise nearly 17,000 head of livestock.
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/pocait  

San Antonio de Padua
Located 40 miles north of Paso Robles, this picturesque mission is nestled in the grasslands and oak trees of the San Antonio Valley. Named for a saint known as the "miracle worker," it was dedicated in 1771 by Father Serra. The church is known for its campanario and archway bells.
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/edbierman  

San Miguel Arcangel
This mission was founded in 1797 by Father Lasuen. It completed the mission chain from San Luis Obispo to Mission Dolores in San Francisco. Located in the Salinas Valley, it was the mid point between the San Luis Obispo and San Antonio Missions. Under the direction of Esteban Munros, the Indians painted the walls and ceilings with ornate designs; the original murals are the best preserved in California today.
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Elf, Wikimedia Creative Commons  

San Luis Obispo de Tolosa
This humble chapel, built of logs, was dedicated to St. Louis, Bishop of Tolosa in 1772. It was the first mission to use tiles extensively on the roof due to repeated attacks by Indians who used flaming arrows to ignite the original thatched roof.
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/edbierman  

La Purísima Concepción
Founded in 1787 by Father Lasuen, this mission is located 50 miles west of Santa Barbara. Considered to be the best example of mission architecture, it has 37 rooms that have been completely restored and furnished.
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/alanvernon  

Santa Ines
This mission was named for a 13-year-old Roman martyr, St. Agnes, who refused to sacrifice to the pagan gods in 304 AD. Santa Ines was dedicated in 1804 by Father Estevan Tapis. The museum contains a notable collection of vestments, church records and missals.
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/pfly  

Santa Barbara
Founded in 1786, the "Queen of the Missions" was the first to be christened by Father Lasuen and has continuously served as a parish church for the local population.
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/kenlund  

San Buenaventura
The ninth mission in the chain was founded on Easter Sunday in 1782 by Father Serra and dedicated to St. Bonaventure. It was the last mission the humble priest would christen. Restored in 1957, the facade exhibits an unusual triangular design which opens onto the gardens.
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/kenlund  

San Fernando Rey de Espana
Father Lasuen named this mission in honor of King Ferdinand III of Spain in 1797. Located 25 miles north of Los Angeles in the San Fernando Valley, the convent is the largest freestanding adobe in California and was originally used as a hospice for travelers.
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Geographer, Wikimedia Creative Commons  

San Gabriel Arcangel
Founded in 1771 by Junipero Serra, this fortress-like structure with 5-foot thick walls and narrow windows is a design not found in any other mission. One-fourth of the wealth of the California missions' in stock and grain was credited to San Gabriel.
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Wikimedia Creative Commons  

San Juan Capistrano
Named for Crusader Saint John of Capistrano and designed in the shape of a cross, this great stone church once consisted of 7 domes and a bell tower so tall it could be seen from 10 miles away.
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Ken Lund http://www.flickr.com/photos/kenlund  

San Luis Rey de Francia
Known as the "King of the Missions," San Luis Rey de Francia lies in a sheltered valley just east of Oceanside on State Highway 76. Named for Louis IX, the crusading King of France, the cross-shaped church was dedicated on the Feast of St. Anthony in 1798 by Father Lasuen.
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Geographer Wikimedia Creative Commons  

San Diego de Alcala
The mission trail in California began here on July 16, 1769, when Fathers Serra, Palou and Parron planted a large cross in the beachhead near the mouth of the San Diego River. A bell was suspended from a nearby tree, and the site was dedicated to St. Didacus.
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/tomsaint  

Map of all 21 missions along the coast of California, from San Francisco to San Diego. 960 1280

© 2011 Pentacle Press, www.missionscalifornia.com  

Photos

Wrigley Field’s 100th

Wrigley Field’s 100th

Before it was ever known as Wrigley Field, Chicago’s famed baseball venue went by 2 previous names. Built in 1914 for the Chicago Federal League baseball team, the stadium was first known as Weeghman Park, and later, as Cubs Park. In April 2014, Wrigley Field’s 100th birthday bash will showcase 10 decade-themed home stands as the stadium hosts the Arizona Diamondbacks. 960 1280

iStock  

St. Louis Turns 250

St. Louis Turns 250

The Gateway City marks its 250th anniversary this year. In 1764, French fur trader Pierre Laclede set out to construct a trading post near the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. Laclede eventually settled on a site 18 miles downriver. Today, St. Louis’s riverfront area is named Laclede’s Landing in his honor. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Berlin Wall’s Fall, 25 Years Later

Berlin Wall’s Fall, 25 Years Later

Germany marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in November. The anniversary joins 2 other big events this year: 100 years since the outbreak of WWI and 75 years since the start of the second, earning 2014 the nickname in Germany of Super-Gedenkjahr, or the “super-year of commemoration.” 960 1280

Reuters   

WWI Turns 100

WWI Turns 100

In July 2014, the world marks the 100th anniversary of the Great War. In July 1914, Austro-Hungarian Empire formally declared war on Serbia, setting off World War I. Learn the story at the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, MO. The 32,000-square-foot facility consists of 2 theaters, exhibitions of period artifacts and replica trenches. 960 1280

National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial   

50th Anniversary of the Ford Mustang

50th Anniversary of the Ford Mustang

On April 17, 1964, Ford Motor Company unveiled the Mustang, and the smooth, 2-door beaut quickly became a fixture of American muscle car culture. (Who could forget the 7-minute chase scene in 1968’s Bullitt, when a Ford Mustang GT 390 rips through the streets of San Francisco?) Grab your shades, and celebrate the Mustang’s 50th with a ride in a sixth-generation Mustang this year. 960 1280

Getty Images   

D-Day 70th Anniversary

D-Day 70th Anniversary

This year marks the 70th anniversary of D-Day, when the coast of Normandy, code-named Omaha Beach, saw the Allied invasion against German-occupied France. Commemorations will unfold everywhere from Bedford, VA, to the Norman coast, where Queen Elizabeth will be guest of honor. Meanwhile, Holland America is offering a 12-day D-Day tour, and a plethora of Normandy tours will recall the June 6 landings. 960 1280

Getty Images   

Japan’s Bullet Train (Shinkansen): 50th Anniversary

Japan’s Bullet Train (Shinkansen): 50th Anniversary

Japan’s high-speed railway turns 50 this year. In October 1964, the Tōkaidō Shinkansen opened between Tokyo and the Shin-Ōsaka Station 320 miles away, for a total trip time of 4 hours. Today, the journey takes about 3 hours. Spring 2014 will see test runs of the new Series E7 bullet train, with a top speed of 160 mph. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Sundance Film Festival's 30th

Sundance Film Festival's 30th

America’s top independent film festival sees its 30th anniversary this year. Founded by Robert Redford in 1981, Sundance Film Festival has gone on to showcase such groundbreaking films as Little Miss Sunshine and Beasts of the Southern Wild. This year’s festival will be held in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance Resort. 960 1280

Getty Images   

The Beatles: 50th Anniversary of US Debut

The Beatles: 50th Anniversary of US Debut

In early 1964, the Beatles kicked off their first official US tour with an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. Months later, with Beatlemania at its height, the Beatles performed at the Hollywood Bowl (pictured). Relive the 50th anniversary of the Fab Four’s US invasion with a Magical History Tour and a Beatles Walking Tour in NYC. 960 1280

david_hwang, flickr  

Shackleton’s Antarctic Expedition: 100th Anniversary

Shackleton’s Antarctic Expedition: 100th Anniversary

Just as WWI broke out, Sir Ernest Shackleton embarked on the first land crossing of the Antarctic continent. Then his ship, Endurance, became trapped in ice. This year marks the 100th anniversary of Shackleton’s heroic journey. Relive one of the greatest survival stories of all time on an Antarctica cruise, the last frontier for cruise travelers. 960 1280

Thinkstock   

South Africa: 20 Years of Freedom

South Africa: 20 Years of Freedom

This year South Africa celebrates 20 years of freedom and general elections. In 1994, on the heels of decades of struggle led by Nelson Mandela, South Africa transitioned from apartheid to a government of majority rule. Take a South Africa tour, and see where history was made. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Yosemite’s 150th Anniversary

Yosemite’s 150th Anniversary

This year marks Yosemite’s 150th anniversary. In June 1864, Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Grant Act, the first land grant in the nation to protect wild lands for the enjoyment of future generations. This year, more than 150 events are planned at Yosemite to mark the historic milestone. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

New Jersey Turns 350

New Jersey Turns 350

The Garden State celebrates its 350th birthday in 2014. In 1664 Charles II of England granted a chunk of land on the East Coast to his brother, James. James then gave 2 friends part of the land; it was soon named New Jersey. It’s all just one more reason to celebrate the land of bikinis and boardwalks. 960 1280

iStock   

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