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Over the last 50 years, Greece's urban population has exploded. More than half the country's people are now concentrated in the two biggest cities, Athens and Thessaloniki. Urban development has left cemeteries encircled, with no room to expand.
That's why graves are now usually rented on a three-year lease with an escalating price scale for any additional years....
Petros Bakirtzis, one of the cemetery's gravediggers, currently averages 15 exhumations a week. Each is started off by a mechanical digger, then Bakirtzis jumps into the hole and finishes the job with his spade.
Sometimes no relatives come to watch. He talks as he exhumes another body.
"It is lucky this one has fully decomposed. I was a bit worried you might have to see something nasty," he says as he begins gathering up the human remains.
A long black sock with a shoe on the end is removed from the earth with the shin bone still inside and the suit jacket is shaken for the bones to fall out. The remains are piled up on a simple white sheet and the clothes tossed into a large green wheelie bin next to the mound of rubble and earth by the grave.
Greek Orthodox Church opposed to cremations.
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Join date : 2015-05-29