The remains of the middle-age church are located near a significant archaeological site dating from the Bronze Age in Nižná Myšľa in the district of Košice, an area you can discover more about with our Košice region travel guide.
The church used to belong to an extinct settlement and it is a reminder of the dramatic events in the 15th century connected with the Hussite wars.
The locality at the forest elevation above the river Olšava is called Koscelek, which resembles the Slovak word for church.
It lies in the cadaster of Vyšná Myšľa and those interested can reach it via a cycling route and educative path approaching from several directions.
Nobody knew about it for centuries
The foundations of the church hidden in the ground were discovered in the 1990s. The citizens of the neighbouring villages had no idea it was there.
Ladislav Olexa and Peter Tajkov carried out the archaeological research.
As Tajkov who was an archaeology student at the time recalls, human bones appeared in the locality after the boars dug out the ground.
“We thought there was probably some extinct sacral building, because of the local name Koscelek and also because there was a cross on the old military map,” he said, as quoted by the TASR newswire.
Archaeological research was ongoing between 1996-98, and Tajkov used it for the topic of his diploma thesis.
“Over two seasons, we succeeded in uncovering the foundations of the simple early-Gothic church from the end of 13th century with a right-angled sanctuary and several graves from the cemetery near the church that belonged to the extinct village,” Tajkov, now head of the Department of Theory and History of Art of Faculty of Arts of Technical University in Košice, noted.
Mass every year
The church and fishing settlement near Olšava ceased to exist probably in the 15th century and this was related to the invasion of military units of former Hussite fighters, that plundered monasteries and feudal settlements.Read more
The monastery in neighbouring Nižná Myšľa was plundered, as well as the whole village and church. The ruins of the church remained for several centuries as it was sacred ground and they continued to bury people there. The evangelical cemetery was moved there in the 18th century, so a great many human bones were interred, Tajkov noted.
The church was consecrated to Maria Magdalena, according to a mention from the 18th century. After the remains were found, an information board and cross were put in place.
On the holiday of Maria Magdalena (July 22), there is a pilgrimage every year and an open-air mass is celebrated.
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1. Nov 2020 at 8:34 | Compiled by Spectator staff