Kościół w Kartuzach: the coffin-shaped church in Poland where monks once slept in coffins
Despite It’s hard to tell from the ground, if you take to the skies you’ll see that this 14th-century Gothic church is shaped like a coffin. Yes, really a coffin. And, interestingly, it isn’t its only coffin connection, either.
The church, located in Kartuzy, in nothern Poland (about 32 kilometres west of Gdańsk), was part of a monastery built in 1380 by a group of Carthusian monks from Bohemia. However, the small brotherhood was rather eccentric and had the macabre custom of sleeping in coffins.
Also the building’s inside has a somber atmosphere, with rows of carved wooden seats that cover the floor and religious artwork lines the walls. The clock its is particularly macabre: an angel clutching the Grim Reaper’s scythe hangs from its pendulum, which is inscribed with the foreboding message “each passing second brings you closer to your death.”
In addition, there is a rich collection of Baroque altars, 29 elaborately carved wooden seats for the monks and a large collection of 17th-century religious paintings.
The church, considered by many to be one of the most interesting religious buildings in Europe and an absolute must-see, is the largest surviving old Carthusian monastery, and it’s also the best-preserved Carthusian church in Poland. It has changed a bit throughout the years and Its lead sheet iron roof, which adds to its distinct coffin shape, is an 18th-century addition.
Author’s notes: If you pop into the church’s cafe, you’ll be able to snack on tasty treats and watch a short, informational film about the village. The only real way to appreciate its coffin shape is with view from above.
Images from web – Google Research