At this Polish Chapel, the Walls are Made of Skulls

Atlas Obscura
Your Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders
May 29 2014 11:26 AM

At this Polish Chapel, the Walls are Made of Skulls

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Watched a lot of distracting stuff on YouTube lately? Been walking around unencumbered by the debilitating reality of your own mortality? This'll fix that.

Kapilica Czaszk, or the Chapel of Skulls in Kudowa-Zdrój, Poland, is a beautifully macabre collection of cranial remains. The walls of this tiny church, built in 1776, are lined with the skulls and bones of 3,000 people. In the basement are the mixed-up skeletons of 21,000 more. All died in the 17th and 18th centuries, from causes as varied as the Thirty Years' War, plague, and syphilis.

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Czech priest Vaclav Tomasek and grave digger J. Langer spent 18 years from 1776 collecting, cleaning, and assembling the human remains. After Tomasek himself died in 1804, his skull was placed on an altar in the center of the chapel.

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Venite ad Judicium: come to judgment.

Photo:Mariusz Cieszewski/Creative Commons

Cranial wonders around the world:


View Kaplica czaszek in a larger map
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