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Kostoľany pod Tribečom

St George’s Church in Kostoľany pod Tribečom forms an important representative of Central European pre-Romanesque art. The wall paintings in the interior belong not only to the eldest and best preserved in the Slovak Republic, but in the whole of Central Europe.

  • Modern Era – Today

Modern Era – Today

Archaeological Research

The mediaeval wall paintings in the St George’s Church were discovered in 1960, during a systematic survey of wall paintings in Slovakia. Fig. 34 Originally they were dated to the 13th century.42 In the course of the reconstruction of the church in 1964–1965, an archaeological research was conducted, a historical, art-historical and conservation survey as well as a survey of its construction history.43 Fig. 35 The conservation of the wall paintings continued intermittently until 1969.44 The results of the survey moved the dating of the construction of the church and of the wall paintings back into the 11th century. The oldest building phase was characterised as pre-Romanesque with a single-naved church with an irregular, trapezoid presbytery and a graveyard with stone tomb slabs. The 1960s’ research was followed up on only in the years 2000–2001 by a survey of the construction history in connection with the reconstruction of the outer plastering of the church. 45 In 2002–2003, the portal was restored.46

Fig. 34: St George Church, pre-Romanesque part – northern nave wall. ‘Arrival of the Three Magi – Adoration of the Star’ at the time of their discovery in 1960. Credit: The Monuments Board of the Slovak Republic

Fig. 34: St George Church, pre-Romanesque part – northern nave wall. ‘Arrival of the Three Magi – Adoration of the Star’ at the time of their discovery in 1960. Credit: The Monuments Board of the Slovak Republic

Fig. 35: St George Church, cemetery. Archaeological excavation of the Institute of Archaeology of the Slovak Academy of Sciencies in 1965, trench III northern from romanesque nave. Credit: Institute of Archaeology of the Slovak Academy of Sciences

Fig. 35: St George Church, cemetery. Archaeological excavation of the Institute of Archaeology of the Slovak Academy of Sciencies in 1965, trench III northern from romanesque nave. Credit: Institute of Archaeology of the Slovak Academy of Sciences

Between 2005 and 2010, a Czech and Slovak team of specialists from the Institute of Archaeology in Prague, Czech Republic, the Monuments Board of the Slovak Republic in Bratislava and other institutions carried out a re-excavation of the cemetery and the church interior, a survey of its thermal properties and art-historical aspects, as well as a partial conservation survey of the wall paintings.47 Fig. 36 Fig. 37 Fig. 38 Fig. 39 Fig. 40 Fig. 41 The owner of the object himself arranged a supplementary building historical survey of some parts of the church. 48 The excavation was based on the need for conservation work to be done. Based on the results of this research an international architectural competition to renew St George’s Church was initiated in 2010.

Fig. 36: St George Church, geodetic measurements in the interior, 2006. Credit: The Monuments Board of the Slovak Republic

Fig. 36: St George Church, geodetic measurements in the interior, 2006. Credit: The Monuments Board of the Slovak Republic

Fig. 37: St George Church, interior, evaluation of the non-intrusive survey of the wall paintings in 2006. Credit: The Monuments Board of the Slovak Republic

Fig. 37: St George Church, interior, evaluation of the non-intrusive survey of the wall paintings in 2006. Credit: The Monuments Board of the Slovak Republic

Fig. 38: St George Church, interior, evaluation of the non-intrusive survey of the wall paintings in 2006. Credit: The Monuments Board of the Slovak Republic

Fig. 38: St George Church, interior, evaluation of the non-intrusive survey of the wall paintings in 2006. Credit: The Monuments Board of the Slovak Republic

Fig. 39: St George Church, cemetery, re-excavation of trench III in 2006. Credit: The Monuments Board of the Slovak Republic

Fig. 39: St George Church, cemetery, re-excavation of trench III in 2006. Credit: The Monuments Board of the Slovak Republic

Fig. 40: St George Church, interior, re-excavation, recording a posthole (no. 4) of the wooden church in 2010. Credit: The Monuments Board of the Slovak Republic

Fig. 40: St George Church, interior, re-excavation, recording a posthole (no. 4) of the wooden church in 2010. Credit: The Monuments Board of the Slovak Republic

Fig. 41: St George Church, interior, re-excavation in the annex from the mid-13th century in 2010. Credit: The Monuments Board of the Slovak Republic

Fig. 41: St George Church, interior, re-excavation in the annex from the mid-13th century in 2010. Credit: The Monuments Board of the Slovak Republic

An important finding of the revision surveys was the discovery of an older timber construction – a predecessor to the walled church most probably from the second half of the 10th century 49, the specification of the dating of the foundation of the church, an interpretation of the wall paintings, their origin and technological characteristics.50

Surveys at St George’s Church have continued since 2011 and have focused on the subjects of the main exhibition and the Heritage Route ProjectCEC – Francia Media 850–1050’, as a by-product the ‘Kostoľany Educational Trail (Gýmeš – Kostolianske lúky)’ was created in 2013.51

Site today

Today Kostoľany pod Tribečom 52 is a small municipality of 2,212 ha with only 373 inhabitants. It falls within the Nitra Region and Zlaté Moravce District, half-way between the towns of Nitra and Zlaté Moravce. It is situated in the northern part of the Kostoľany Basin, which itself belongs to the Tribeč Mountains. The centre of the village has an altitude of 242 m.a.s.l. The municipality has become a popular resort for the inhabitants of the surrounding towns, who are attracted by the untouched nature and a landscape with many nature reserves and valuable historical monuments (‘Protected Site Kostolianske lúky’, Gaštanica, Gýmeš Castle, mediaeval fortification Studený hrad, St George’s Church, and the prehistoric fortified settlement of Veľký Lysec).

Since 2010, St George’s Church has been closed to the public and is not being used for liturgical purposes, as long as conservation work takes place Fig. 32 Fig. 33. The administrator of the church, the parish office of Ladice allows visitation of the church’s interior for specialists.53

Fig. 32: Reconstruction of the 1960’s annex according to the winning project of an international architectural competition. Credit: Architects BKPŠ Kusý – Paňák, Bratislava

Fig. 32: Reconstruction of the 1960’s annex according to the winning project of an international architectural competition. Credit: Architects BKPŠ Kusý – Paňák, Bratislava

Fig. 33: St George Church, last alteration of the new cast floor in the gallery annex, 2010. Credit: The Monuments Board of the Slovak Republic

Fig. 33: St George Church, last alteration of the new cast floor in the gallery annex, 2010. Credit: The Monuments Board of the Slovak Republic

After the restoration of the interior is finished, the church will be accessible again for the public.

References

42 Dvořáková, Vlasta and Krása, Josef, ‘Zpráva o průzkumu slovenských středověkých nástěnných maleb konaném v září 1960′, in Umění IX, 1961, pp. 197 ff.

43 Fodor, Pavol, ‘Nástenné maľby v Kostoľanoch pod Tribečom z hľadiska techniky maľby’, in: Monumentorum Tutela 2, 1968, pp. 97–114;
Habovštiak, Alojz, ‘Archeologický výskum v Kostoľanoch pod Tribečom’, in Monumentorum Tutela 2, 1968, pp. 43–77;
Jankovič, Vendelín, ‘Kostoľany pod Tribečom (historický prehľad)’, in Monumentorum tutela 2, 1968, pp. 5–42;
Krása, Josef, ‘Nástěnné malby v kostele sv. Jiří v Kostoľanoch pod Tribečom’, in Monumentorum tutela 2, 1968, pp. 115–128;
Šášky, Ladislav, ‘Predrománsky kostol v Kostoľanoch pod Tribečom’, in Monumentorum tutela 2, 1968, pp. 79–95

44 Valeková, Anna, ‘K pamiatkovej obnove kostola sv. Juraja’, in Monumentorum Tutela 21, 2009, pp. 183–198

45 Bóna, Martin and Ilievová, Danica, ‘Obnova fasád r. k. Kostola sv. Juraja v Kostoľanoch pod Tribečom’, in Cirkevné pamiatky – pramene kultúry a vzdelanosti. Prednášky z odborného kolokvia, Nitra, 2002, pp. 185–203

46 Valeková, Anna, ‘K pamiatkovej obnove kostola sv. Juraja’, in Monumentorum Tutela 21, 2009, pp. 190–194

47 Maříková-Kubková, Jana and Baxa, Peter (eds.), Monumentorum tutela. Kostoľany pod Tribečom, história, archeológia, pamiatková obnova, vol. 21, 2009

48 The excavation was carried out by Bóna, Martin,; its results have not yet been published in scientific literature.

49 Baxa, Peter and Maříková-Kubková, Jana, ‘Die älteste Phase der Kirche St. Georg in Kostolany pod Tribečom. Frühmittelalterliche Kirchen als archäologische und historische Quelle’, in Poláček, Lumír and Maříková-Kubková, Jana (Hrsg.), Internationale Tagungen in Mikulčice VIII, Brno 2010, pp. 149–160

50 Maříková-Kubková, Jana, ‘De Costelan est terminus vallis; de suburb(anis Costelan) est terminus fluvius nomine Dreuenizza’, in: Antiqua Cuthna, sborník z konference Vlastnické kostely, dvorce, sídla a vývoj raných elit ve střední Evropě (26.–28. května 2010 v Kutné Hoře), in press

51 Guide, Baxa, Peter - Borzová, Zuzana and Bisták, Peter (eds.), The Kostoľany Educational Trail (Gýmeš–Kostolianske lúky)., Bratislava, Pamiatkový úrad Slovenskej republiky, 2014

52 www.e-obce.sk/obec/kostolanypodtribecom/kostolany-pod-tribecom.html‎

53 Contact: Farský úrad Ladice, 95177 Ladice No. 204, Slovakia. Administrator: Mgr. Igor Písečný, tel. 00-421-376-317-129, e-mail: rkcfladice [at] centrum.sk

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