Spectator on facebook

Spectator on facebook

HISTORY TALKS...

The bells of Konrád Gaal

THE SPIŠ region in north-eastern Slovakia contained, along with Bratislava and the Hauerland region in central Slovakia, one of the biggest German settlements on the territory. Germans inhabited mainly towns, as opposed to rural areas, and Spišská Nová Ves was no exception.

THE SPIŠ region in north-eastern Slovakia contained, along with Bratislava and the Hauerland region in central Slovakia, one of the biggest German settlements on the territory. Germans inhabited mainly towns, as opposed to rural areas, and Spišská Nová Ves was no exception.

In this romantic, colourised early 20th-century postcard, one can see the town centre, with an evangelical church dating back to the 1790s. However, a wooden chapel also once stood there, commemorating the arrival of Martin Luther’s Protestant Reformation to Slovak territory. Luther’s movement asserted itself quickly in Spiš, as the Germans living there maintained close ties to their homeland, and some even knew Luther and his collaborator, Philipp Melanchthon, personally.

German settlers influenced life in Spiš even earlier, however. German bellfounder Konrád Gaal was invited to Spiš by King Ľudovít I to craft and hang a big bell for a church in Visegrad, in today’s Hungary. Gaal succeeded and won many privileges for his work: he was elevated to the nobility and was allowed to settle wherever he pleased. Moreover, his home would be exempt from taxes and other fees. That Gaal wound up in Spišská Nová Ves (then called Iglo) was no coincidence, as the bellfounder chose what was by that time already a well-established German environment, but also a place with an abundance of copper and wood - resources necessary for bell production.

Moreover, at that time Spiš was undergoing a construction boom. The first written mention of Konrád Gaal and his bell foundry dates back to 1357. It operated until the 1620s, producing high-quality bells and beautifully decorated baptisteries, and was deemed the best Gothic bell foundry in the country.

The processing of personal data is subject to our Privacy Policy and the Cookie Policy. Before submitting your e-mail address, please make sure to acquaint yourself with these documents.

Top stories

For a Decent Slovakia gatherings return to streets

Protests will be held in Bratislava, Košice, Prievidza, Poprad, and even Brussels.

What we didn't know about our freedom

In 1989, we thought that once the job was done, we would only go out to the squares for Sunday walks.

November 1989 in Bratislava

Bratislava gets a taste of international poetry Video

The international poetry festival Ars Poetica will host poetry readings and other performances at various sites in the city.

Camilla Nelson

UPDATED: Denník N: Danko is a plagiarist

The daily analysed the thesis identical to that of Parliament's Speaker Andrej Danko to find it was copied from textbooks. Danko does not plan to resign, he wants to wait for the stance of a special commission.

Speaker of Parliament Andrej Danko