Skull Chapel, Czermna

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Exterior of the chapel

The Skull Chapel (Kaplica Czaszek) or St. Bartholomew's Church[1] in Czermna is a chapel located in Kudowa-Zdrój, part of the Czech Corner in Lower Silesian Voivodeship, Poland.


The chapel was built in 1776 by the Czech 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, plague, syphilis and hunger.[2]

Together with J. Schmidt and grave digger J. Langer, father Tomaszek who was inspired by the Capuchin cemetery while on a pilgrimage to Rome, collected the casualties’ bones, cleaned and put them in the chapel within 18 years (from 1776 to 1794).[3] 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 father Tomaszek, were placed in the center of the building and on the altar in 1804. Inside are a crucifix and two carvings of angels, one with a Latin inscription that reads "Arise from the Dead" are among the bones.[4] A recording inside the church available in three languages (Polish, Czech and German) explains the history of the Chapel.[1]

It is the only such monument in Poland, and one of six in Europe.[5] It is situated in one of the oldest villages in Kłodzko County, near Kudowa Zdrój, in the Lower Silesia, Poland.


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Coordinates: 50°27′05″N 16°14′31″E / 50.4515°N 16.2419°E / 50.4515; 16.2419