An Unromantic Look at 10 Preserved, Disembodied Hearts - Atlas Obscura Lists

An Unromantic Look at 10 Preserved, Disembodied Hearts

Where to find the heart relics of popes, princes, and at least one racehorse.

 There just might be a disembodied heart mummified in a glass jar or leaden case somewhere near you.

In the Middle Ages it was common to distribute the relics of kings throughout their domain. That way, peasants could pay their respects to their sovereign’s guts, appendages, body, or, if they were really lucky, their heart.

This practice may have trickled down to lower-ranking nobility, as evidenced by the heart recently discovered in a noblewoman’s casket believed to be not her own, but her husband’s. 

The heart was of particular interest as a religious relic because of its connections to the human soul. For the devout, being in the presence of a heart relic can give the feeling of being closer the the saint. The same goes for a king’s subjects, or a musician’s fans.

Many of the hearts preserved over the centuries are still on display today. Here are 10 places where you can bask in the presence of a VIP’s most intimate organ.