Imagine a chapel built of skulls. The skull chapel really exists and is located in Poland. It’s a big sight and if you pass the town of Kłodzko, this is a must-see.

skull-chapel-czermna-poland-10I think this is the only building of this type in Poland, but there are at least five similar constructions in Europe.


The real graveyard.

From outside, the chapel looks pretty regular. But when you come inside, bones from 3000 people will meet you. They cover the walls, the ceiling and in the middle of the front is an altar, of course, made of bones too.skull-chapel-czermna-poland-3

The chapel is a part of the Batholomew’s Church which is also called Kaplica Czaszek.skull-chapel-czermna-poland-8

Why a chapel of skulls?

The beginning of this project is dated back to the year 1776, when the Czech priest Vaclav Tomasek and his companion, a local gravedigger, started to collect bones from the dead. The cleaned the bones and after 18 years, the had collected around 24.000 skeletons from humans. As mentioned before, only 3000 of these were used in the chapel.skull-chapel-czermna-poland-4

The rest of them is stored in the basement under the chapel. It is said that Vaclav got his idea from visiting the catacombs under Paris.skull-chapel-czermna-poland-9

Where did the skulls come from?

During that time in Europe, dead bodies were no shortage of. Between the years 1776-1794 (or 1804 in some sources) when they collected the bones, two major wars occurred: The Thirty Years War and the Seven Years War. Also, epidemics contributed to the number of bodies.


Entrance to the church.

The priest and his companion the gravedigger collected the skeletons from mass graves they discovered nearby.skull-chapel-czermna-poland-2

The noblest skulls and bones they found, were reserved a place in the chapel. Among these skulls are the former major of Czermna, a Tartar warrior and in the end, the priest’s and the gravedigger’s skulls and bones were placed here as a final rest.skull-chapel-czermna-poland-7

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