Some of the most famous mummies in the world come from Egypt, and if you’ve taken a tour of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, you’ve probably seen quite a few of them. But mummies are not exclusive to ancient Egypt – there are tons of places around the world where it was the norm to mummify the dead. If you are interested in archaeology, anthropology, ancient cultures or simply want to see a very old dessicated corpse, then you can do that in several locations around the globe. Take a peek at what eternity looked like for the ancients, and visit some of the top 5 destinations in the world to see mummies.
Capuchin Catacombs, Palermo, Italy
In 1599, members of the order of the Capuchins discovered that some old catacombs in Palermo were just the thing to preserve the dead, and proceeded to mummify over the time around 6000 corpses. The mummies were dressed in their best clothes and displayed on the dark corridors, and while some of them are not in the best shape anymore, others are uncannily lifelike (like the 90 year old mummy of a little girl who died in 1920).
El Brujo Archaeological Complex, Trujillo, Peru
One of the most important mummy discoveries of the 21st centuries happened in El Brujo archaeological sites, where the preserved body of a member of Moche royal family was found. The mummy, nicknamed the Lady of Cao, is about 1700 years old, and her body is etched with some particularly well preserved and intricate tattoos.
Museo Arqueológico, Azapa Valley, Chile
The mummies found in Azapa Valley are the proof that the Egyptians were not the first people to practice the mummification of their dead. The mummies found in northern Chile (at least two millennia older than Egyptian mummies) belonged to the Chinchorro people, and were the result of a gruesome but efficient method of preparation.
Lenin’s Mausoleum, Red Square, Moscow, Russia
Lenin’s preserved corpse is surrounded by little ironies – he never wanted to have his corpse on display (he wanted to be buried next to his mother in St Petersburg). Stalin put the mummy on display to encourage the people’s devotion to communist ideals, but alas, the mausoleum sheltering Lenin is no longer state owned.
Hunan Provincial Museum, Changsha, China
The best preserved mummy in the world can be currently found in Hunan Provincial Museum, locked in an oxygen-free glass case to prevent further decay. The body of Xin Zhui (nicknamed Lady Dai) was found at the Mawangdui burial site. The mummy is over two thousand years old, but is so well preserved that her skin was supple and her limbs were actually still flexible when she was found.