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SEPTEMBER FESTIVAL FINDS ATTRACTIVE WAYS TO BRING PUBLIC CLOSER TO HERITAGE VALUES

Monuments get nearer

A RECENTLY restored sculpture of Madonna with Child, created by a master sculptor from Hronský Beňadik in the 15th century, should have been one of the highlights of this year's annual European Heritage Days festival, part of which takes place in Slovakia. An exhibition, capturing the work's restoration process, which was planned to travel across the country, had to be postponed indefinately due to a lack of finances.


THE PRIVATELY owned Chateau in Trávniky will be open to the public September 13 and 14.
photo: Achive photo

A RECENTLY restored sculpture of Madonna with Child, created by a master sculptor from Hronský Beňadik in the 15th century, should have been one of the highlights of this year's annual European Heritage Days festival, part of which takes place in Slovakia. An exhibition, capturing the work's restoration process, which was planned to travel across the country, had to be postponed indefinately due to a lack of finances.

"It's a pity that the project will not be presented during the festival," said Eva Gazdíková, director of the Regional Monument Board in Trenčín.

The European Heritage Days festival, held under the auspices of the European Council, runs annually in more than 40 European countries throughout the month of September. It presents a number of activities and projects to a wide public audience exhibiting the values of European heritage. Each year it is organised under a particular theme. The theme of this, 13th, year is called From Individual Collection to National Institutions.

According to the Culture Ministry of the Slovak Republic, Slovakia is one of the oldest participants of the European Heritage Days festival, where the festival enters its 12th year.

Despite the fact that the exhibition of the restored gothic Madonna did not make it to the festival, according to Slovak organisers, the programme promises a satisfactory number of activities across the country. One of the most interesting ones, from a restoration point of view, is the opening of a privately owned baroque Chateau in Továrniky, near Topoľčany, to the public. Visitors can enter it in the afternoon hours on September 13 and 14.

"Slovakia lost many rare architectural buildings after the second world war. It seemed that the same fate also awaited the significant Chateau in Továrniky," said Karol Vlk, the spokesperson for the Monument Board of Slovakia, which is one of the festival's organisers.

The chateau was originally built as a fortified renaissance building surrounded with a water dike some four centuries ago. It received its baroque look in 1750. Since 1996 the chateau is in private hands, serving as a summerhouse for Slovakia's president.

"The public will have chance to explore the object for the first time after a long-lasting reconstruction. The opportunity is even rarer as it is unique object that is usually closed to public," Vlk said.

The European Heritage Days festival in Slovakia opens in the northern-central town of Martin on September 11 at 10:30 with a seminar devoted to this year's festival topic that will be held at the Slovak National Library. The seminar will continue the following day, beginning at 10:00. At 13:00 the official opening ceremony of the festival will take place at the Town Hall. At 15:00 visitors should move to the Ethnography Museum in Martin, where several exhibitions will open.

During the second weekend of September, from the 12 to 14, doors to monuments, museums, and galleries around the country will be open to the public. A series of activities will be held in these institutions between September 11 and 30, some of which will even take place abroad. For example, visitors to the Austrian city of Graz can admire the main altar of Košice's St. Elisabeth Cathedral, which will be displayed at the building of the local monument board.

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