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Revue Pamiatky a múzeá - Summary 1/2006

13. apríla 2012
Civitas munita. The privilege to fortify in medieval towns
Vladimír Rábik
By the 14th century, the construction of fortifications around medieval Hungarian towns had become an important impulse for urban development. At the end of the Middle Ages, bricked city walls were still rare, especially outside the highest category of royal (free) and mining towns (Bratislava’s area under the castle called Podhradie, Banská Štiavnica, Nitra, Trnava, Košice, Levoča and Podolínec).
Fortifications represented a country’s defensive power, and, therefore, Hungarian monarchs, especially from the time of Anjou dynasty, particularly supported their construction. During their reign, construction was begun in nine towns -- Kysucké Nové Mesto, Starý Tekov, Rimavská Sobota, Kežmarok, Bardejov, Prešov and Skalica -- and by 1388, Beckov and Nové Mesto nad Váhom had been added to the list. Not all the towns, though, were given the privilege of building bricked walls.
Sigismund of Luxemburg introduced a system for securing cities with walls in his Smaller Decree of 1405. As a result, Žilina and Sabinov built their fortifications, but many other significant towns hesitated because of the high costs. This all changed when Hussites and later the Bratríci groups began to endanger the towns. Then Krupina and Kremnica, as well as Trenčín, built walls, but only Kremnica made them of brick. Despite the great importance of these fortifications, little specific data on their construction and technical aspects remains.
 
Šintava Castle – Sereď manor house under construction from the 17 – 19th centuries
Rastislav Petrovič
The oldest reference to Šintava Castle comes from the 12th century (1177). A description from 1423 says it was built on a square plane and had a donjon in the middle. The Thurzos clan reconstructed it into a renaissance fortification and the Esterházys first turned it into a Baroque manor house, before remodelling it in a classicist style (1841).
The castle’s oldest known reconstruction plan, from 1667, was developed as part of a strategy by marshal Hannibal Gonzaga, the President of the Courtly Military Council in Vienna, to defend against the Turks. A second plan for its fortification, marked in French and probably from the first half of the 18th century, was created for military purposes and was assumably based on an older model. Between 1760 and 1770, an unknown cartographer drew a map of the Sereď estate, Mappa universalis totius dominii Szerediensis, on the orders ofŠintava estate count František Esterházy (Esterházy Ferenc). A third plan, Plan des zum Gebrauch des Sereder Salzamts im Jahre 1771, Pro Aerario eingelösten Terrains, comes from 1780, and calls for the construction of the Imperial-Royal salt council in Sereď. It also shows a part of the castle, a south-eastern bastion with a water moat.
Especially artistically impressive is the plan of the river Váh’s regulation near Sereď, from 1789, which was devised by the county’s geometer engineer, František Böhm, while serving the Esterházys. An 1809 plan showing Sereď’s and the Váh’s surroundings, Plan der bei Szered an der Waag angelegten Verschanzungen im Jahre 1809, marks the military fortified places that originated during the anti-Napoleon defense strategy. Its unknown author made the plan to protect a specific strategic point – a passage through the river Váh.
The last preserved historical plan is the detailed description of the Váh’s bridgehead near Sereď from 1863-1864 (Plan zur Detailbeschreibung des einfachen Brückenkopfes bei Szered). Alexis Polak created the plan for the general headquarters in Vienna. It captures quite a lot of Sereď’s surroundings and the Váh’s river basin from Šúrovce (Wartasur) up to Váhovce (Vágha).     
Historical plans document the gradual change in an object’s architecture from castle to manor house as it is influenced not only by the need to protect and preserve the territory, but by the societal-political changes.
 
Pezinok’s Renaissance fortification
Petra Pospechová – Július Vavák – Peter Wittgrúber
The construction of stony bastion fortifications in the Small-Carpathian region during the 17th century was a reflection of many societal and political factors. The threat of peasant uprising, Turkish raids, the rapid development of artillery, and especially the economic growth of Pezinok, Modra and Svätý Jur as they were granted status as towns, were the decisive factors in the development of modern fortified systems. 
Two proclamations from the first half of the 17th century gave the right -- or, in fact, the obligation -- for Pezinok’s inhabitants to build a fortification. This was the culmination of the town’s efforts to gain the status of a free royal town. In its final form, the fortification, which was first built as a wall-moat, enclosed its current historical centre in a rectangular shape with two cut corners. It was built of ten polygonal and one semi-circular bastion and three gates interconnected with a high, stone wall with loopholes.
Compared to Modra or Svätý Jur, Pezinok’s fortification was extremely well-designed, which was testimony to the town’s stronger economy. The fortifications in the above-mentioned towns gained their final shapes almost in the same period and bore typical signs (though reduced) of renaissance fortifications enforced in Slovakia in the 16th century.
Research has shown that the Pezinok fortification integrated several elements of modern bastion fortification; many elements, though, had been left out, which severely decreased its chances of serving as long-term protection against a regular army. Therefore, in the end, the fortification probably served to stop smaller divisions and marauders, which were an inseparable part of 17th and 18th century Central European military forces.
 
Towns from the Pohronie region on Johan Adam Artner’s map
Pavol Maliniak
The State Central Mining Archive in Banská Štiavnica contains a map showing the flow of the river Hron between Banská Bystrica and Bzenica entitled Grund Riß deß Gran Fluß Von Neusohl an biß Bszeniz Sambt allen darumb Ligenden Dorffschafften Und darein Fallenden Bächen. The map was drawn by Johan Adam Artner on June 17, 1734, and is one of the oldest visual displays of the Hron’s area (Pohronie) in a large scale. Its detailed tracing of a large territory enabled the cartographer to include a lot of information on it, which was significant at a time when the mapping process was undergoing significant changes and society was experiencing a real need for quality maps.
Artner’s map captures the territory in a unique way. In the second half of the 17th century, countries were usually portrayed on maps through a system of signs. Significant rivers created the map’s scheme, to which towns and castles were then added. This technique was also used in maps of smaller scales, including the Pohronie area, such as the Hungarian maps created by Jacob von Sandrart (1664), Nicolas Sanson (ca. 1689) and Hubert Jaillot (1696).
But Artner’s map presents Pohronie in an extended diameter. Its central motif is the flow of the Hron, which forms the region’s main axis. Its direct line leads from the left edge of the map to the right and results in the river’s only north-south direction. To portray the river sufficiently, the map’s length had to be extended by three metres. Artner then adjusted the network of settlements, assigning them alphabetical letters in the map’s legend.
The long, rugged part of the Hron between Banská Bystrica and Bzenica required change in the river’s flow, and mainly in the settlements’ locations. The map’s compass rose shows that the cardinal points were reverted in directions north - south and east - west. Individual parts of the map were shifted in various angles. For instance, Banská Bystrica is moved approximately 135 degrees to the west. The captured view, therefore, shows it as if from its southern side. The part of the Hron that flows from Radvaň to Zvolen is shifted by 90 degrees to the west.  
Artner captured mainly the most significant settlements of the mapped territory in detail. His map features views of Banská Bystrica and Zvolen and important objects in the towns of Radvaň and Svätý Kríž (today’s Žiar nad Hronom). Apart from the historical German names of the towns, castle and settlements, Artner also translated the names of other settlements into his mother language, German, even though cartographer Samuel Mikovíni had already used Slovak names in his records of the Pohronie settlements.
 
Pálffy’s reconstruction of Orava Castle
Michal Čajka
The owners of Orava Castle were heirs of the Thurzas’ property. The so-called Orava “komposesorát”, which was led by one of its shareholders, managed the castle, as well as other buildings and vast lands in the region. Wood trade was the main economy activity. In 1896, when Count Jozef Pálffy (1853 – 1919) became the komposesorát’s 14th director, the castle received its final arrangement in a romantic style. The late-gothic Korvín Palace, which had been built in the second half of the 15th century, was reconstructed and two terraces in the upper part of the courtyard were adjusted. The reconstruction was aimed at making the entire castle complex more accessible and giving the area a representative character. Pálffy could draw on his family’s experience with reconstructing the castle in Austrian Kreuzensteine. The count himself decided on the definite image of the castle as a whole, as well as the details. Only the knight’s hall received a painting. Its painter, Maximilian Mann from Munich, was inspired by a late-gothic painting from the time of Matej Korvín (Mathias Corvin), which hung in the residential tower.   
This romantic reconstruction gave Orava Castle the look it has today. However, we do not talk of a complex reconstruction that took place, for instance, in Bojnice or Smolenice. The absence of an architect was partially compensated by the cooperation between Orava “komposesorát” officer František Fertsek, who designed the projects, and Count Jozef Pállfy, who selected the final plans or reworked the individual designs. 
The intention to also reconstruct the upper castle in the same style never happened. According to its maximalist conception, it would affect the entire citadel, which was supposed to stand out more thanks to the dominant stair tower, half-cylindrical tower with a courtyard gallery, and the so-called chapel. The object, situated highest on the castle rock and traditionally, but unreasonably, considered a chapel, was to be made accessible by an effective staircase.
 
Bratislava gunsmiths in city’s society
Zuzana Nemcová
Gun-makers were specialised craftsmen at the beginning of the 15th century. They not only produced guns but also verified their quality and efficiency. In most European towns, they produced guns in their own workshops and employed workers. There were several such centres in Slovakia, for example in Košice, Spišská Nová Ves, Gelnica, Kežmarok, Levoča and Bratislava, where the earliest record of a gun-maker active in our territory comes from (1414).
Compared to gun production centres where the gun-makers had their own workshops, in 15th century Bratislava, they worked at places owned by the town. The craftsmen were city employees and received regular weekly wages. The city also paid for their materials, manufacturing tools, and work help. In the 15th century, there were 23 gun-makers working for the town, many from abroad, such as Jan from Brno in 1434 and Jan Frosh from Regensburg in 1481.   
Fear of Turkish invasion and the consequent protection of the country were especially pressing in the 16th century. Between 1501 and 1512, six gun-makers worked for the town. Their wages varied widely, from around 16 toliars (talers) in 1526 and 1527 to 13 toliars in 1535. After 1564, there are no entries in the county’s books on payments to the gun masters. It seems that the gun workshop then ceased to exist as a town facility. Gun-makers were substituted with armourers, who took over gun repairs. At this time, the gun-makers founded a joint guild with locksmiths, watchmakers and coil makers in 1571. In the 17th century, gunstock makers separated out and established their own guild in 1661. Bratislava, along with Vienna, became a significant centre of gun production in the 18th century and a training ground for future masters.
 
Tinker’s craft in arts
Monika Škvarnová
The tinker’s craft of hand-binding wire probably originated 300 years ago to ease the material and existential problems for people inhabiting the southern foothills of Javorníky and the Kysuce region. Later it spread to northern Spiš. Tinkers had steadily become globetrotters. They caught the attention of artists, writers and music composers not only with their shabby appearance, vagabond lifestyle, and unconventional behaviour, but also with their use of wire. In many neighbouring countries, the tinkers became identified with the Slovak nation, which made these craftsmen one of its symbols – first abroad and then, around the first half of the 19th century, also at home.     
Around 230 artistic works with tinker themes can be found in collections across Slovakia. Artists active during the national revival remember these craftsmen for being an important national-revival aspect. Peter Michal Bohúň painted them in clothes with national colours. They personify the ideal and morally clean representatives of the nation. The work of the second artist of the founding Slovak national-oriented painting duo, Jozef Božetech Klemens, maps the changing social structure of tinkers in the second half of the 19th century. He set the figures into a mountainous landscape, during which time this landscape style had a deeper justification in the work of artists connected to the ideas of national revival – natural surrounding was thought to be the important factor that formed people’s and nation’s characters.
The works of Hungarians, Austrians, Germans, the English, the French and especially Czechs reflect a different approach to tinkers when compared to local artists. They perceived them as a bizarre motif and set them in genre scenes. Foreign artists of the Classical and Romantic periods liked to idealise the tinkers’ appearance, which contrasted with their realistically painted clothes. Only the second half of the 19th century brought a more realistic picture of them. Capturing the problems of their everyday life culminated in the works of late 19th and early 20th century Czech painters. Portrait dominated the Czech style and social issues came more to the foreground (e.g. Rudolf Uherek); motifs became more sentimental (Jozef Stalmach, Mikoláš Aleš). The social accent in the authentic pictures of the people standing on the verge of modern society was also evident in the work of local artists at the start of the 20th century. Such tendency is best represented in the number of studies by Ladislav Medňanský (László Mednyánszky). 
The tinker motif also resonated in the Slovak modern artistic style. Along with farmers, shepherds, woodcutters and outlaws, artists perceived the tinker as one of the themes that depicted the individual character of Slovak folk culture and history. A polarity between the traditional motif and the modern artistic image often accompanied their works. Those principles were best evident in the 1930s and 1940s, when the conflict between tradition and modernization grew, and by which the handwork of the tinkers shifted more to the verge of social interest. Miloš Alexander Bazovský specifically captured the crises of these craftsmen.