Medieval murals found in several churches in the Gemer and Malohont regions have obtained the European Heritage Label.
It is the first time that Slovak sites are being celebrated in this way, enjoying the prestigious award that the Acropolis in Athens and Poland’s Gdańsk Shipyardwas were given in 2014.
“Cultural heritage is Europe’s soul,” said Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth. The European Heritage label sites are amongst the greatest gifts Europe has to offer, she added.
The recognition awarded by the European Commission honours places that symbolise common European history and values. In addition to the old Slovak murals, the Commission has recently announced 11 other places in Europe that can now boast the same heritage label, including Belgium’s MigratieMuseumMigration and Italy’s Ventotene.
To date, the Commission has labelled 60 places in 22 European countries as places that have played an important role in European history and culture.
Influenced by Italian art
The recognised wall paintings in Gemer and Malohont were created in the 14th century, at a time when iron ore mining was booming in Gemer.
“With their intactness and concentration in a small area, the murals, which were created under the proven influence of Italian art, represent an exceptional artistic phenomenon in the European context,” the Monuments Board wrote on its website.
Because of their extraordinary diversity of visual language and their high artistic quality, the Monuments Board continued, they convey a complex picture of one branch of the development of European art in a perfect way.
The 14th century paintings are part of three different circuits in the two regions.
The Rimava Circuit involves four Lutheran churches in Rimavská Baňa, Rimavské Brezovo, Kyjatice and Kraskovo. Another four Lutheran churches are part of the Štítnik Circuit, which runs through the villages of Štítnik, Plešivec, Ochtiná and Koceľovce.
On the last loop, Jelšava Circuit, tourists can find the European Heritage Label paintings in three churches, which are located in Chyžné, Kameňany and Rákoš, and one rotunda in Šivetice.
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