The Oświęcim Chapel, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Stanislaus of Szczepanów, is an extension to the Gothic Franciscan Church in Krosno. Founded in 1647–1648 by a prominent representative of the Oświęcim family, it is also commonly known as the 'Chapel of Love'. Associated with the romantic legend of Stanisław Oświęcim's love for his sister Anna, the building is one of the finest artistic achievements of its era. It represents a type of early Baroque burial chapel built on a square plan, with a dome topped by a lantern inspired by the early Renaissance Sigismund's Chapel.
The designer of the chapel was Vincenzo Petroni from Milan. The rich stucco decoration was the work of the most outstanding stucco decorator of 17th-century Poland, Govanni Battista Falconi. The chapel was built on a square plan, with a dome topped by a lantern. At the entrance, there is a richly carved marble portal and a decorative grille.
The elaborate floral designs are enriched with winged putti. The decoration of the interior is not typically religious as it glorifies the founding family. The coat of arms and military insignia invoke the Oświęcims' noble traditions.
The main furnishing is the altar from 1890 (a faithful copy of a mid-17th century original) with ornaments, woodcuts and paintings dating from the chapel's foundation. The central painting depicts St. Stanislaus resurrecting the deceased knight Piotr with Stanisław and Anna in the background.
The entrance to the crypt beneath the chapel is covered with large boards. The two coffins along the wall contain the remains of Stanisław's father and uncle. Four others were placed in small niches, the smallest coffin indicating the deceased was a child. The centre of the crypt houses the coffins of Anna and Stanisław.References:
The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.
In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.
The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.
The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.