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HISTORY TALKS....

Sacred secrets of Slovak sanctuaries

ADMIRERS OF religious architecture will probably be delighted with the richness of Slovakia in this domain. There is no lack of interesting churches. Slovakia’s oldest sacred buildings, few of which have been preserved, were built in Pre-Romanesque style. One of them, a little church near Kopčany in the Záhorie region (see pg 13), is located only a couple of steps from the Czech border. Historians discovered a few years ago that it dates back as far as the Great Moravian period. What is most striking is that it stands alone on the bank of Morava River, very far from the nearest village. But aerial photographs and archaeological findings have shown that it once was in the centre of a settlement. It is thus a good example of how the country was being gradually settled at the time.

ADMIRERS OF religious architecture will probably be delighted with the richness of Slovakia in this domain. There is no lack of interesting churches. Slovakia’s oldest sacred buildings, few of which have been preserved, were built in Pre-Romanesque style. One of them, a little church near Kopčany in the Záhorie region (see pg 13), is located only a couple of steps from the Czech border. Historians discovered a few years ago that it dates back as far as the Great Moravian period. What is most striking is that it stands alone on the bank of Morava River, very far from the nearest village. But aerial photographs and archaeological findings have shown that it once was in the centre of a settlement. It is thus a good example of how the country was being gradually settled at the time.

Romanesque architecture is very well represented by a church situated in Párovce, a suburb of Nitra, which used to be an independent town inhabited by local nobility and a large Jewish community. In the 1960s, Párovce was torn down to make way for a typical socialist-era development.

It now seems like a miracle that the church, today dwarfed by concrete blocks of flats, did not disappear. This postcard from the 1920s shows the interior of a Baroque church in Sološnica with extremely rich decoration. When looking at such splendour, one can hardly wonder that some historians accuse Baroque artists of excessive lavishness.

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