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Sanatorium Polonia
Sanatorium Polonia
Flag of Kudowa-Zdrój
Coat of arms of Kudowa-Zdrój
Kudowa-Zdrój is located in Poland
Kudowa-Zdrój is located in Lower Silesian Voivodeship
Coordinates: 50°26′18″N 16°14′22″E / 50.43833°N 16.23944°E / 50.43833; 16.23944Coordinates: 50°26′18″N 16°14′22″E / 50.43833°N 16.23944°E / 50.43833; 16.23944
Country Poland
Voivodeship Lower Silesian
GminaKudowa-Zdrój (urban gmina)
Town rights1945
 • Total33.90 km2 (13.09 sq mi)
Highest elevation
420 m (1,380 ft)
Lowest elevation
370 m (1,210 ft)
 • Total9,892
 • Density290/km2 (760/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
57-350, 57-351
Area code(s)(+48) 74
Vehicle registrationDKL

Kudowa-Zdrój [kuˈdɔva ˈzdrui̯] (German: Bad Kudowa, Czech: Chudoba), or simply Kudowa, is a town located below the Table Mountains in Kłodzko County, Lower Silesian Voivodeship, in the southwestern part of Poland. It has a population of around 10,000 and is located at the Polish-Czech border, just across from the Czech town of Náchod, some 40 km (25 mi) west of Polish Kłodzko and 140 km (87 mi) from Prague.

Kudowa-Zdrój is one of the oldest European spa towns where heart and circulatory system diseases were cured. The downtown area features a park styled on 17th century revival, with exotic plants and a mineral water pump room. Due to its location, the town is famous for tourism, hiking and as the departure point for trips.

The town has several historical and heritage sites such as the Chapel of Skulls within the Czermna district of Kudowa, an ossuary containing the bones or skeletal remains of thousands. It is one of six of its kind in Europe. Another site is the Basilica of Wambierzyce, nicknamed "Silesian Jerusalem", and one of the most popular Catholic pilgrimage destinations in Poland.


Zameczek – a palace-styled sanatorium and park

Kudowa-Zdrój is one of the oldest spa resorts in Poland and Europe.[2] It is first mentioned in a document by Henry the Elder (1448-1498), son of the Hussite Czech king George of Podebrady.[2] The original name of the village was Lipolitov but in the mid-16th century it was changed to Chudoba, later on Kudoba (Cudoba in the 19th century), Bad Kudowa and into Kudowa-Zdrój in 1945.[2]

The oldest part of Kudowa is Czermna, dating back to the 16th century. The first record of a mineral waters in the area comes from 1580 from the chronicles of Louis of Náchod, under the name Cermenske Lazne. In 1625 (or, as some sources say, as early as 1621), G. Aelurius, a Protestant Lutheran monk, wrote in his work "Glaciografia" about the great taste of the mineral waters from Kudowa.[2]

In 1847, Kudowa was visited by 300 patients. In 1850, Adolf Duflos made a chemical analysis of the local waters and claimed they have healing traits. Local doctor J. Jacob helped to establish the notion that Kudowa is a spa that helps heart related diseases, which had a significant impact on the number of people visiting the town. In 1900, the number of people who visited was 4,150.[2]

Owing to the development of business and industry, a railway line to Kłodzko (then under the name Glatz) and a local power plant grew in importance.[2]

In 1891, German-American editor Hermann Raster visited Kudowa-Zdrój due to failing health. He died there in July of that same year.[3]

In 1920, the Gebrüder Martin und Paul Polka O.H.G. company bought the largest spa resort of the town. Famous visitors included Winston Churchill and Helmut von Moltke.[2] From 1911 to 1931, Raphael Friedeberg worked as a physician in the Spa.[4]

Kudowa was part of Bohemia until 1742 when, together with the rest of the county of Kladsko, it passed to Prussia. From 1818 until 1945, it was known as Bad Kudowa, and was part of the Prussian province of Lower Silesia. Between 1871 and 1945 it was part of Germany. In the interbellum, the German administration renamed most district names to erase traces of Slavic origin, only the district of Zakrze (then under the Germanized name Sackisch) retained its name, despite also being of Slavic origin.

During World War II, the Germans established and operated a subcamp of the Gross-Rosen concentration camp for Jewish women in the Zakrze district, as well as other forced labour camps,[5] among the prisoners of which were also Italian prisoners of war.[6]

The story of Italian soldier Luigi Baldan [it] is known. Despite risk Baldan was able to help Jewish women by giving them food, which he in turn received from Poles and Czechs, and he also escaped the camp and hid from Germans with the help of the Czechs.[6]

After Nazi Germany's defeat in World War II in 1945, most German inhabitants were expelled and Kudowa was repopulated with Polish settlers, most of whom were themselves expelled from former Eastern Poland, annexed by the Soviet Union. After becoming part of Poland it received municipal rights for the first time in its history.[2]

As the area was a part of the Czech Corner of Kłodzko Land, a population of ethnic Czechs lived in Kudowa-Zdrój (then Bad Kudowa) before 1945. Small groups of Germans and Czechs continued to live in Kudowa until 1960. A German-speaking school was used from 1951 to 1960, and a Czech-speaking school was used from 1947 to 1955 by these small groups. Refugees of the Greek Civil War also settled in the town, as they found employment in the Zakrze textile factory.[7]

Since 1962, Kudowa-Zdrój hosts the annual International Moniuszko Festival, dedicated to the "father of Polish national opera" Stanisław Moniuszko.[8]


The Czermna Skull Chapel, an ossuary holding thousands of skulls and skeletal remains

(with German names)

  • Brzozowie (Brzesowie, 1924–45: Birkhagen)
  • Bukowina Kłodzka (Bukowine, 1937–45: Tannhübel)
  • Czermna (Tscherbeney, 1937–45: Grenzeck)
  • Jakubowice (Jakobowitz, 1937–45: Wachtgrund)
  • Pstrążna (Straußeney, 1937–45: Straußdörfel)
  • Słone (Schlaney, 1937–45: Schnellau)
  • Zakrze (Sackisch)


The local football club is Włókniarz Kudowa-Zdrój.[9] It competes in the lower leagues.

Twin towns – sister cities[edit]

Kudowa-Zdrój is twinned with:[10]



  1. ^ "Population. Size and structure and vital statistics in Poland by territorial division in 2019. As of 30th June". stat.gov.pl. Statistics Poland. 2019-10-15. Retrieved 2020-02-14.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Historia i Położenie" (in Polish). Urzędu Miasta Kudowa Zdrój. Archived from the original on 2 October 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
  3. ^ Illinois Staats-Zeitung, 25 July 1891.
  4. ^ Biography Archived 2011-07-19 at the Wayback Machine at SPD-Berlin.de (in German)
  5. ^ "Subcamps of KL Gross- Rosen". Gross-Rosen Museum in Rogoźnica. Retrieved 10 September 2020.
  6. ^ a b Dorota Sula, Jeńcy włoscy na Dolnym Śląsku w czasie II wojny światowej, "Łambinowicki rocznik muzealny" Tom 33, Opole, 2010, p. 68 (in Polish)
  7. ^ Mieczysław Wojecki, Ludność grecko-macedońska na Dolnym Śląsku, "Śląski Kwartalnik Historyczny Sobótka", No. 1/1980, p. 92 (in Polish).
  8. ^ "Historia". Festiwal Moniuszkowski (in Polish). Retrieved August 23, 2019.
  9. ^ "Strona internetowa klubu Włókniarz Kudowa Zdrój" (in Polish). Retrieved 10 September 2020.
  10. ^ "Miasta partnerskie". kudowa.pl (in Polish). Kudowa-Zdrój. Retrieved 2020-03-05.

External links[edit]