Chapel of Skulls Made of Human Bones in Poland

The Chapel of Skulls in Poland is adorned with the bones of 3,000 people who died from war, disease, and starvation.
The Chapel of Skulls in Czermna, Poland
The Chapel of Skulls in Poland

Inspired by the Capuchin crypt in Rome, Father Vaclav Tomaszek began building St. Bartholomew’s Church, or Kaplica Czaszek, in Czermna in 1776. He spent the next 18 years exhuming bones from mass graves left over from years of war, disease and famine. Skulls and bones of 3,000 people were meticulously cleaned and arranged in the chapel as memorial and memento mori to visitors.

A trap door opens to the basement where bone fragments of another 21,000 have been interred.

When Father Tomaszek died, his skull was placed on the altar beside a syphilis skull, a skull said to have belonged to a giant, and others he had found interesting.

Skulls on the altar of the Czermna chapel

An angel among the bones

Skulls and crossbones on the chapel's ceiling

A trap door into the basement of the chapel
Images: Wikimedia Commons