??☠️Halloween is fast approaching, you may have seen some carving pumpkins and Halloween skulls decorations and props of late. Not only is skulls the symbol of Halloween, but it’s decorative elements for some unusual churches.
Located in the small Polish town of Czermna, the Skull Chapel (Polish: Kaplica Czaszek) is a small and unassuming chapel. But you would be shocked by what’s hidden behind the wooden door. The skulls and bones of over 3,000 victims of wars and plagues cover the walls and ceiling, with another 21,000 skeletons fillings the church crypt below.
The chapel was built in 1776 by Bohemian local parish priest Vaclav Tomasek, who was inspired by Rome’s Capuchin Crypt. Served as a mass grave for local people who died from war and disease during that period of time, the chapel was intended as a shrine for the dead, as well as a “memento mori” for the living. After Tomasek died, his skull was placed on the altar as well as the bones of important figures. Additionally, there are a crucifix and two carvings of angels inside, one with a Latin inscription that reads ‘Arise from the Dead’.
The Skull Chapel is the only such monument in Poland, and one of six in Europe. It may leave people feeling a little bit creepy, but it is well worth a visit!
Photo: Mariusz Cieszewski