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The shroud of Turin

The shroud of Turin is probably the most controversial piece of fabric in the world. One version claims that after Jesus died on the cross, his castigated body was wrapped in this shroud. Scientists do agree that this is not the original cloth; however, the story behind the shroud continues to be remarkable and thought-provoking. In the Museo della Sindone, the shroud is presented as a fascinating mystery.

The museum in the crypt of the Santo Sudario Church sheds a light on the centuries-old discussion over the authenticity of the fabric. The exhibited shroud on display is actually a copy. The 'original' is kept in the Turin cathedral and rarely shown. Whether this original really is the shroud of Christ or not, the ancient cloth remains of large (art) historical value.

A copy of the shroud
A copy of the shroud

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A valuable forgery

Carbon dating confirms that the shroud is between 6 and 7 centuries old. A respectable age, but it doesn’t match the time of Christ’s death. Thanks to technological progress, researchers are able to indicate the origin of the cloth more accurately than ever. The discussion around the shroud first flared up at the end of the 19th century, when more precise photography techniques were introduced. The shroud appeared to show the imprint of a man with injuries consistent with what we know about crucifixions. It is still not clear how the imprint was created.

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The 'real’ shroud is kept at the Dom

View on the map

Via San Domenico 28, Turin (with walking route to the Dom)

A close-up of the shroud

“The museum in the Santo Sudario Church sheds light on the mystery of the shroud”

Wild theories

One of the most fascinating explanations for the imprint on the canvas is that Leonardo da Vinci created it. The 15th-century genius would have used a camera obscura and silver phosphate to produce a negative, using himself as a model. According to another theory, the canvas was not the shroud of Jesus but that of Jacques de Molay, the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar. He also met with a miserable death, at a time that was consistent with the carbon dating. Both theories remain nothing but speculation.

Photo credits

  • A close-up of the shroud: Diego Barbieri, Shutterstock