HISTORY TALKS...

The organ makers of Raje

THE SMALL town of Rajec lies close to Žilina in northern Slovakia. Its oldest and most valued attraction is the Roman Catholic church dedicated to St Ladislaus. The original Gothic building is first mentioned in 1368 and one of the church’s walls has a sundial dating from 1770 with the Latin inscription: “If it were not for the Sun, a clock would not show digits.”

THE SMALL town of Rajec lies close to Žilina in northern Slovakia. Its oldest and most valued attraction is the Roman Catholic church dedicated to St Ladislaus. The original Gothic building is first mentioned in 1368 and one of the church’s walls has a sundial dating from 1770 with the Latin inscription: “If it were not for the Sun, a clock would not show digits.”

Rajec was also famed for its craftsmen, its most renowned artisans probably being the Pažický family of organ makers. The founder of the organ-making tradition, Ondrej Pažický, built his first big organ in St Ladislaus’ and he was followed by three generations who constructed 200 organs of different sizes.

Other successful Rajec craftsmen were wood carvers, usually referred to by the Latin term “sculptor” in historical documents. The intricate work of these carvers was well used by other craftsmen such as the Pažický family. The most beautiful works by the Rajec carvers that are preserved to this day include splendid carved double-winged doors made by the Igonda brothers.

Carvers are still hard at work in Rajec today. It is no coincidence that the famous Slovak Bethlehem in Rajecká Lesná was carved by Rajec master-carver Juraj Pekara.


This postcard shows the church of St Ladislaus in 1939.


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