Looking to add a something a little mysterious to your trip to Poland? Be sure to visit some of these haunted places during your travels.
1. Totenburg Mausoleum
As usual, I’m beginning with a spooky spot located in my hometown of Wałbrzych in Lower Silesia because this area is home to some truly scary stories. The first on our list is Totenburg Mausoleum. It is located on the side of Niedźwiadki Mountain and was built between the years of 1935 and 1938. The construction was completed just prior to the start of World War II.
The mausoleum is a monument to the “Pride, Glory and Strength” of the German soldiers who died during WWI. (Remember, this area of Poland was still part of Germany at the time.) This stone structure was one of the largest in all of Germany and has a panoramic view over the land below. Because of this, a candle was placed at the center of the mausoleum so it was visible to most of the city. The building was made entirely of stone and designed by Robert Tischler, a master of cemetery art in Germany at the time.
Today, the mausoleum is severely destroyed, unstable and dangerous. Due to the difficult history, local authorities are not interested in making an attempt to restore this structure to its former appearance. There have been talks of restoring the area and turning it into a memorial of those who were victims of Nazi Germany. Only time will tell…
2. Skull Chapel in Czermna
Skull Chapel is another haunt located in Lower Silesia (which seems to be the capital of strange places in Poland…). In a small town near Kudowa Zdrój, you will find a chapel where the interior is covered with over 3,000 human skulls. If that isn’t enough, you will also find tens of thousands of human bones in the underground of the building.
The chapel is a tomb for the victims of the Thirty Years War from the 17th century and the Silesian Wars from the 18th century as well as for victims of cholera. A local priest collected the bones from many graves found around the area for almost 20 years, which were then cleaned and preserved. “Decorating” the interior of the chapel took several years.
Today the chapel is open to visitors but there is a no photo policy. One should also remember to wear appropriate clothing as well as to use polite behavior while visiting the chapel.
3. Ogrodzieniec Castle
Medieval castles are structures that have always been associated with legends and scary stories. It is no different in the case of Ogrodzieniec Castle, which recently gained world fame as a location from the tv series “The Witcher,” produced by Netflix.
The fortress, built in the 15th century, has many legends that locals don’t like to joke about. One of the stories tells about a terrible black dog that appears after sunset in the courtyard. It is said to wear a thick chain, which makes a loud clinking sound that echos throughout the castle.
One local who didn’t believe this story, decided to spend the night at the castle. During the night, he heard loud sounds of growling and a clinking metal chain. Panicked, he decided to leave the castle as soon as possible, but still had the feeling he was being followed. On his way out, he jumped into a pond he found along the way and saw a huge black head staring at him from the water. Luckily, sunrise came and the sun rays chased the creature away and the man survived. Who’s up for a night at the castle?
Learn more about the castle here.
4. Grabarka Mountain
The Podlasie region is the meeting point for many different language, cultures and religions. Grabarka is a scared place for pilgrims of the Orthodox Church, similar to Jasna Góra in Częstochowa for Christians.
In the 18th century, the area was diseased by a plague epidemic (or cholera according to other sources). A local man, experienced a vision that is said to have saved the community from a tragic fate. A voice told him that faithful community members must carry crosses to Grabarka Mountain and place them in the ground. It is believed that more than 10,000 pilgrims gathered on the mountain to place the crosses.
The area also has a freshwater spring. Many believe that this water is sacred and has properties to heal disease.
More: Mountain Grabarka
5. Riese Complex in the Owl Mountains
The Riese Complex is another place that is full of history and legends, yet remains mostly undiscovered. This project was created by the Nazis in an attempt to create an enormous underground city with an incredible system of tunnels, halls and passageways. It is hard to fathom how large this structure actually is.
The complex connects the widespread surrounding areas above ground including, Książ Castle, Jugowice, Walim, Wlodarz, Gluszyca, Osowka and Wielka Sowa. Work began during WWII and the purpose of the project was to protect Nazis from possible bombings. There is also reason to believe that secret projects, including nuclear weapons, were underway here.
The underground area beneath the town of Walbrzych, still conceals a huge amount of secrets. Due to the coming defeat, Nazi soldiers not only burned all of the documents related to their projects, but killed all of the prisoners who worked on them.
6. Stone Circles at Odry
Everyone has heard about Stonehenge, but did you know that Poland has the second largest stone circle in all of Europe? The circles are located in the town of Czersk in the Pomeranian Voivodeship.
Archaeological studies indicate that this place served as the family tombs to the Goths who stayed in the area around the 1st century AD for almost 150 years. During excavations, many treasures were found including Roman ceramics, gothic ornaments and tools. It is believed that tribal elders met here because according to their beliefs, the place was free from evil.
According to the proponents of esotericism, this location created a beneficial energy that is said to have healing properties for both the mind and body. Today, the area is protected and recognized as a reserve, but is still open to visitors.
7. Miedzianka - The Town That Disappeared
Miedzianka is a village in Lower Silesia that was left completely intact after WWII but came to a quick end after uranium was discovered in the area by the Soviets. The Soviets began aggressive excavations, which, in less than ten years, created enormous mining damage. There was no chance left for the town to exist.
The town of Miedzianka had survived for 7 centuries but after the mining, all of the people were moved to nearby Jelenia Gora. The church in Miedzianka was destroyed and most of the town completely demolished. In recent years, the town has gained more popularity and attention in Poland. Today, you will find the Miedzianka Brewery where visitors can taste local beer, delicious food and discuss the unusual history of the town.
Miedzianka 1915-1925. Credit: oto: Wratislaviae Amici / dolny-slask.org.pl
8. Ślęża Mountain
One of the most famous mountains in Poland is called Ślęża and located near the town of Sobótka in Lower Silesia. The mountain is a popular hiking destination as it boasts beautiful panoramic views. In addition to nature, there are stories hidden in the forests around the area.
During a hike, you will encounter numerous stone circles and religious sculptures, which are remnants of pagans, for whom the mountain was the center of their faith. The most famous of the pagan sculptures are “Monk,” “Lady With Fish,” “Mushroom,” and “Bear,” which stand at the top of the mountain. Legend says that one day the mountain will “wake up” with lava flowing from it and the end of the world will begin. Geologists do not confirm this theory.
Photo credit and more: https://dolnyslask.travel/tajemnicza-sleza/
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