Wednesday, March 9, 2011

✈Worldwide Wednesdays: Kaplica Czaszek: The Chapel of Skulls, POLAND

Where shall we travel to today?....

Kaplica Czaszek:  The Chapel of Skulls, POLAND

The walls and ceiling of this Polish church are decorated with thousands of skulls, with another 21,000 skeletons just below.

All Pics by Wiki user Merlin
 Skull Chapel in Czermna is a chapel situated in Kudowa-Zdrój, Lower Silesian Voivodeship, Poland. This unusual chapel was built in 1776 by the local parish priest Wacław Tomaszek. It is the mass grave of people who died during the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648), three Silesian Wars (1740–1763), as well as of people who died because of cholera epidemics and hunger.

Together with J. Schmidt and J. Langer, Tomaszek collected the casualties’ bones and put them in the chapel. Tomasek apparently found the mass graves by watching where local dogs went to dig for bones.   They set aside the more interesting skulls (those will bullet holes or obvious maladies, or those of politicians) and took the rest to the chapel.  It took them some 18 years, from 1776 to 1804, to collect, clean and arrange the as many as 24,000 human skeletons that pack the church. While the majority of the skeletons are stacked in 16 foot deep crypt beneath the church, the rest are beautifully displayed in what Tomasek saw as a "sanctuary of silence."

Walls of this small, baroque church are filled with three thousand skulls, and there are also bones of another 21 thousand people hidden in the basement of it. Every bone in this place is authentic. Some of the skulls displayed include a Tartar warriors skull, the Czermna mayor and his wife, skulls with bullet holes, a skull Swiss-cheesed by syphilis, and even the skull of a giant. Besides these special skulls are those of the priest and the grave digger themselves, who are put in the centre of it and placed on the altar.
It is the only such monument in Poland, and one of three in Europe.

"Can you imagine walking through this? Fascinating!"

Resources:   Wikipedia,, atlasobscura

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