Kaplica Czaszek w Kudowie-Zdroju

( Skull Chapel )

The Skull Chapel (Polish: Kaplica Czaszek) or St. Bartholomew's Church, is an ossuary chapel located in the Czermna district of Kudowa-Zdrój, Poland. Built in Baroque style in the last quarter of the 18th century, the temple serves as a mass grave with thousands of skulls and skeletal remains adorning its interior walls, floor, ceiling, and foundations. The Skull Chapel is the only such monument in Poland, and one of five in Europe.

The chapel was built in 1776 by Bohemian local parish priest Václav Tomášek. It is the mass grave of people who died during the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648), three Silesian Wars (1740–1763), and people who died because of cholera epidemics, plague, syphilis, and hunger.[1][2]

Together with sacristan J. Schmidt and grave digger J. Langer, father Tomášek who was inspired by the Capuchin cemetery while on a pilgrimage to Rome,[3] collected the casualties’ bones, cleaned and put them in the chapel within 18 years (from 1776 to 1794). Walls of this small, baroque church are filled with three thousand skulls, and there are also bones of another 21 thousand people interred in the basement. The skulls of people who built the chapel, including Tomášek, were placed in the center of the building and on the altar in 1804. Inside are a crucifix and two carvings of angels with Latin inscriptions that read "arise from the dead" and "come to judgment".[4] A recording inside the church available in three languages (Polish, Czech and German) explains the history of the chapel.[5]

After World War II ended in 1945, a group of volunteers dedicated themselves to restoring the chapel to its former glory. Their efforts paid off, and the Skull Chapel was soon successfully restored.[6]

^ Perrin Doniger. "This Creepily Beautiful Chapel in Czermna, Poland, Is Constructed Out of Thousands of Human Bones". Smithsonian. Retrieved 14 October 2015. ^ Koźmiński, Andrzej (August 18, 1973). "Duszniki Zdrój, Kudowa Zdrój, Polanica Zdrój, Zieleniec i okolice". Sport i Turystyka – via Google Books. ^ S.A., Wirtualna Polska Media (17 December 2015). "Kaplica Czaszek - najbardziej niezwykłe miejsce Polsce". Retrieved 27 October 2018. ^ "Eerie Skull Chapel in Poland Made of 3,000 Bones (PHOTOS)". The Weather Channel. 4 November 2013. Retrieved 14 October 2015. ^ Cite error: The named reference autogenerated1 was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ "Czermna's Skull Chapel: The Fascinating Exhibit of 3000 Skulls and Countless Bones". ULUKAYIN English. 2023-04-18. Retrieved 2023-04-21.
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