The mummies of Vác – a fantastic exhibition about life and death in the 18th century
Vác is a cute little town on the left bank of the Danube, it’s some 25 minutes drive from Budapest. The visit of Vác can be included in a customised Danube Bend day trip. It’s such a beautiful Baroque jewellery box, I strongly recommend a short visit. We had been fortunate to tour Vác with my travellers before the borders of Hungary got closed again on the 1st of September.
The mummified remains of 265 people were found in 1994 in the crypt of the Dominican church, they had been laid to rest in hand painted, wooden coffins in the 18th and 19th centuries. The bodies didn’t decompose but were mummified naturally because of the favourable air conditions and dry settings.
The findings were extraordinary and not only because it’s a veritable gold mine for ethnographers about 18th century Hungarian everyday life and funeral traditions. It’s also a fantastic source for medical researches, a large number of tests have been performed by scientists on the mummified remains related to tuberculosis, HIV researches and they could also confirm C section had been performed as early as in the 18th century in Hungary.
The coffins are simply beautiful, all colourful, all hand-painted, all prepared with a lot of care, it’s very much like the fascinating celebration of life and death in a small Vác museum.