How dirty and smelly were medieval cities?
Why were the Middle Ages so filthy?
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Streets littered with human feces and animal entrails, rivers awash with bloated corpses, putrefied air alive with deadly microbes, and the nauseating stench of death and decay. Welcome to your average medieval city. Urban life in the Middle Ages was unbelievably dirty and smelly. Overcrowding and a near-total lack of public services compounded an already unhealthy environment made worse by spreading disease. But why exactly was living in a city during this era such an horrendous and frankly dangerous experience?
Take a deep breath, tread carefully, and click through this foul and disgusting list of excuses.
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