The Guardian

'We revived an ancient tradition': Israel's new subterranean city of the dead

Catacombs are Israel’s most high-profile attempt yet to solve an unusual problem: the shortage of places to bury its dead
A picture taken on November 21, 2017, shows a worker standing next to burial holes bored into the wall in the underground burial site dug below Jerusalems Har Hamenuhot Jewish cemetery. A shortage of burial space in Jerusalem along with the requirements of Jewish law have brought together religious undertakers and a tunnelling expert to create the new underground complex. / AFP PHOTO / MENAHEM KAHANA / Getty Images

Beneath Jerusalem’s main cemetery at Givat Shaul, one of several huge new tunnels disappears into the hillside.

Inside the hill, the tunnels branch into a grid of three “avenues” and seven “streets”. Looking up from the centre of the grid, an imposing shaft rises dozens of metres to the cemetery garden above.

In places the concrete-lined walls of the cavernous interior are perforated with neat lines of tubular holes. A construction worker is lifted

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