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 to one of the holes in a cherry picker. He hauls out dirt with his bare hands and then crawls inside the tube, leaving only his boot soles visible.
Two metres deep, the holes are burial niches, punched into the limestone and dolomite bedrock with a nine-tonne bore. Soon they will serve as graves in Israel’s giant new catacombs.
FULL STORY ‘We revived an ancient tradition’: Israel’s new subterranean city of the dead (Guardian)
Photo: A worker uses a cherrypicker to access one of the burial niches. Photograph: Peter Beaumont (Guardian)