THE CALVARY, one of the dominant features of the central-Slovak city of Banská Štiavnica, can now be seen at night. Starting from November 27, 2012, its Horný Kostol / Upper Church has been basking in the glow of floodlights each night, joining Banská Štiavnica’s Old and New Castles, which were already illuminated.
The project is the result of efforts by members of the Calvary Fund civic association and general sponsor Stredoslovenská Energetika, an energy distribution company. The civic association has been working to restore the calvary since 2008, and the electrification project was started two years ago and is expected to last for five years.
The head of the Calvary Fund, Martin Macharik, told the SITA newswire that the Upper Church will be lit nightly from dusk until midnight (and until 1:00 or 2:00 in summer). In the coming years, other buildings of which form the calvary will also be lit. “In 2013, we plan to light five more chapels; in 2014 it will be seven chapels and within the next two years, all 24 calvary structures should be lit,” he added.
The Banská Štiavnica Calvary was built in the mid 18th century, as initiated by the Jesuits and sponsored by local miners, nobles and burghers. This Baroque complex of 19 chapels, three churches and one sculptural group became the mining city’s most dominant structure, and was visited by pilgrims from all around the Hungarian Empire. In 1951, when religious activities were limited by the communist regime, as well as the activity of the then Calvary Fund, the calvary fell into disrepair.
When a market for antiquities and valuables opened after 1989, a wave of theft and plunder ensued, as well as general devastation of the buildings. The architect and conservationist Katarína Vošková from the Calvary Fund found that of the original 69 statues and statuettes only nine are left. This desperate situation prompted locals to renew the Calvary Fund in an attempt to secure the overall renovation of the calvary complex and to gradually revive its religious and cultural importance.
14. Jan 2013 at 0:00 | Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská