Revue Pamiatky a múzeá - Summary 2/2008
The Markušovce manor house archives
The municipality of Markušovce is situated in eastern Slovakia in the district of Spišská Nová Ves (Košice region). It stands out for its unusually large proportion of artistic-historical monuments and natural sights. It probably originated in the 12th century as a guard settlement on the northern border of the Hungarian Kingdom. Since the 13th century the municipality has been the main residential property of the Máriássy nobility.
A fortified manor house dominates the municipality along with the medieval Church of St. Michael the Archangel. The construction of the manor house relates to the document of King Ladislaus IV from June 24, 1284. The document is one of the first written royal grants for castle construction issued to Hungarian aristocrats. Its authenticity was recently verified, but neither the place of the castle construction, nor the reason for the granting of the right is mentioned there. Not even a year is recorded, only the day of issue of the documents. The only indirect indication, which would point to the fortified Markušovce manor house, is the site of the document’s original storage – in the archive of the Máriássy family. This assumption, however, is marred by the fact that other records on the castle or manor house from the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries were not found in the family archive; written documents only start to appear at the beginning of the 16th century.
The author of the article explores these archive materials and looks for references to construction development of the family residence since 1507, when Štefan (Stephen) Máriássy asked the Spiš headquarters for approval to fortify the residence. His efforts were however turned down by Levoča and 13 other Spiš towns, which were afraid of jeopardizing their own business interests. The conflict ended by fortifying the manor house and church with a simple wall without any embankment.
After the Battle of Mohacs (1526), the fight for the Hungarian throne started. Members of the Máriássy family converted to Protestantism. The town of Levoča, which advocated Habsburg interests, used the situation to procure its own benefits. Its citizens robbed and burned the noble court and destroyed the wall. This act foretold the dramatic fate of the fortified manor house and its environs in the centuries to come: it got devastated as well as renovated, enlarged as well as divided. In 1963 it was announced as a national cultural monument. Let’s hope the owners who received it in restitution in the 1990s will return it to its bygone glory.
Martin Bóna – Michal Šimkovic
Research of the fortified manor house in Markušovce
Two parts form the so-called Markušovce castle – an upper central part of trapezoidal ground plan and the castle’s foreyard in the west. A part of the three-storeyed south palace wing, which now dominates the whole building complex, has been preserved from the central part. From the second, mostly absent northern palace wing, only the northeastern part remained. A wall with an entrance gateway joins both residential wings in the east. Another gate can be found in the western wall, which still features the torso of the prismatic tower. From the west, the central part of the fortified seat joins up through the castle’s foreyard of irregular trapezoidal ground plan, where two bastions used to guard the entrance gateway.
The research results published up to now were mostly based upon surface explorations and written sources. The last architectural-historical research performed in the summer of 2007 as part of the preparation for the monument’s renovation helped to complete the known information about the manor house’s development. The oldest medieval core was identified in the central part of ground floor; its ground plan featured one-room with the outside measurements of 6.9 and 7.3 metres. The building was originally at least of two stories. Regarding the building’s date of construction, the most significant factor was the discovery of a continual layer with ceramics from the 14th and 15th century buried 110 – 115 cm underground. The edifice was later enlarged northwards (corner bastion) and westwards. The building’s vicinity received a new palace tract to the north, a fortified wall with entrance gateway, the palace’s southern wing, staircase tract and other additions. Baroque reconstructions were on a smaller scale; newer building interventions in the 19th and 20th centuries were part of the minor changes to the interior. Security works took place between 1971 and 1975 and a new framework was made in the north-eastern area. The results of the building’s last research in medieval times changed the monument’s actual classification from that of a medieval castle to a fortified manor house.
Graphic decoration on historical mining maps
The cartographic monuments kept in the State Central Mining Archives in Banská Štiavnica are a precious source material for the study of periodical artistic display created as a side product when making mining maps. The 18th century, the main period of great expansion in the mining of non-ferrous metals in Banská Štiavnica, which was connected with intensive mining mapping, often saw additional artistic works enriching the cartographic records. We can find them next to maps’ titles, scales or independently, filling in the free spaces on a map. Surveyors, who made mining maps, created them – E. F. Angerstein, J. Bankó, J. Brinn, B. Faill, J. A. Geramb, J. Göllner, F. M. Heinzely, A. Harnkes, S. Klein, A. B. Leibwurtz, F. A. Mayer, F. J. Müllner, J. N. Sgärgeth, V. Siegel, G. Urban, F. J. von Häcklberg and Landau, K. Wolf, M. Zipser.
Parergons from the selected hand-drawn mining maps of the Banská Štiavnica region, dating to the 18th and 19th centuries, picture mining and surveying motifs, real or fictive landscapes and allegoric scenes. They are often rich in ornamentation, which is worthy of closer attention. The creators used this decoration in unison with periodic artistic styles or individually, according to their own taste and creativeness, or got inspiration from various environments and cultures. We can find the early baroque spinning ornament “rollwerk” there, along with the symmetrical or asymmetrical framing of texts, and palmettos and garlands of the high baroque period. There is also the strip ornament typical of early rococo decoration, enriched with grid or ornamentation of the high rococo period with the characteristic shapes of shells and other sea organisms.
The parergons demonstrate different artistic levels: from immature graphic attempts by not always talented artists through more or less cultivated artistic images to artistically advanced works of mature personalities, such as the allegories by M. Zipser and the figures of miners in the mining shafts by J. N. Sgärgeth.
Research of the Clarisse area of Bratislava
Lying away from the main tourist routes in historical Bratislava is the place of the former church and monastery of the Order of Clares (or the Clarisses), which forms a dominating feature of the earlier medieval town. This place has been linked with the Clares Order for 485 years. However, the history that connects it with Bratislava is older, reaching to the end of the 12th and the beginning of the 13th century. Documents from 1204 and 1221 reveal that the town began to form around the area under the Bratislava castle of that time. The establishment of a vicarage near the Church of St. Salvatore (the St. Martin´s Cathedral) and the presence of the canonry and priory, point to that area’s emancipation. The core settlement centred on Kapitulská (Canonry) street. Archaeological researches in the vicinity uncovered various types of residential buildings with a farming background. Coin findings map the dynamic movement of the residents, either for business or migration reasons. In particular the Austrian coinages and one Bavarian coinage from 1180 – 1250 relate to the first colonisation wave of German-speaking people that came to Bratislava before the Tartar invasion.
Before 1235 the initial female branch of the Cistercian order came to the area under the castle. The monastery was inferior in authority to the Cistercian monastery in Pilis (Hungary), which had its properties in Bratislava. However, they later lost interest in the Bratislava monastery and thus the Bratislava properties were left without an owner for over 20 years. Begging orders began to come to the independent royal town of Bratislava, which reacted more actively to the period’s needs. The king and the town council agreed that the Cistercian monastery and its properties go to the Clarisses, the female branch of the order of St. Francis, which entered Bratislava in 1297. At the beginning of the 14th century they built a church and in the second half of the 14th century they started its reconstruction, which was then finished around 1370. The current look of the monastery comes from the first half of the 17th century. Cardinal and Estergom Bishop Peter Pázmány carried this task out between 1634 and 1640. Joseph II definitively then confiscated the monastery and the church from the Clarisses in 1782. An archaeological research aimed to save the area of the former monastery, carried out by the Municipal Institute of Monument Preservation in Bratislava between 2003 and 2006, focussed its attention on the monastery’s basement under the western wing and the area of the north-eastern part of the eastern wing.
The manor house in Ostratice
The Manor house in Ostratice, the Topoľčany district, which consists of two constructions with mutual courtyard but no connected roads, relates only slightly to the original environment. In the northern part of the site stands a two-storeyed building without basement. A tower element can be seen in the corner, which is adjoined to a one-storey wing in the north. The whole complex forms a ground plan of the letter “L”. The second mansion is a two-storeyed block building with basement. The buildings together form an irregular array with the ground plan shaped in letter “U” with a courtyard. A monument research was carried out in the manor house in 2006 because its owner, the municipality of Ostratice, intended to adopt the building to the social and cultural use of the region.
Several municipalities and settlements currently constitute the municipality; the object of research being situated in Malé Ostratice. Originally, it was a renaissance manor house from the second half of the 16th century and changed into baroque style by the end of the 18th century. The second mansion is of baroque style from the 18th century. Both constructions were modified and unified into the empire style around 1820. The current area of the buildings is only a fragment of the original “manorial court” with mansions, farmhouses, orchards, gardens, and fortifications with walls and dikes.
The oldest construction core of the first mansion was a fortified castle, which consisted of a two-storeyed one-room tower, and a joined one-storeyed two-room mansion. It had preserved its fortress features until the second half of the 17th century. The second mansion was built in the second half of the 16th century on the southern part of the medieval fortress. In the 17th century, the Ostratice area was exposed to continuous disturbances; apart from the estate’s rebellions there was a constant threat from Turkish armies. The renaissance residence was secured with ground walls and palisades. The residential comfort increased in the 18th century and the building could be rightly called a manor house. In the first half of the 19th century, both mansions underwent periodical changes, the aim of which was to unite them in empirical style.
Because of insufficient maintenance and utility adjustments in the 20th century, the Ostratice area came to be gradually devastated. The last construction renovation started in 1979. The current proposal for a monument renovation is aimed at presenting fortification elements of the medieval and renaissance fortress with a unified empirical façade.
Measures and how they were controlled in towns
Measurement has been associated with humankind since time unknown and applied to everyday life, whether talking of building construction, the sale of goods, or estimating time and length of a travelled journey. The first tools, which man started to use for measuring length, were individual body parts. Items of everyday use, such as wicker baskets or stone and clay vessels, were used as volume measurements when exchanging and selling goods. The oldest known discoveries of measuring tools and instruments come from Western Asia and Egypt. Thanks to trading relations, the metrological practice of ancient civilisations was known throughout the Mediterranean area. It influenced the development of measuring systems in Greece and the Roman Empire. Its fall meant the end of using unified measurements and weights.
The question of unifying measurements and weights in the then Hungarian empire came to the fore with Sigismund of Luxemburg supporting the economic development of Hungarian towns. In 1405 he issued decrees that introduced unified measurements (the so-called Buda measurements) that were binding not only for royal but also aristocratic towns, municipalities, castles and villages. The legal norm of Opus Tripartitum, issued in 1517, stated the measure of length to be “royal arpent”. Another attempt at metrological unification was the decision reached by a Hungarian meeting in January 1588 that obliged Hungary to use “the old Budin measurements”. Before 1874, when a unified metrical system was introduced, municipalities defended their right to use their own measurements, as metrological control was one of the sources of income. The bylaws often included financial penalties and when measurement was violated repeatedly they could apply corporal punishments. Many towns installed scales at town halls and other public places, or lent town scales and other measurements to tradesmen for a fee. Samples of municipal measurements and weights, today called etalons (reference standards), were marked with the municipal coat-of-arms. The prototypes of sample measurements at public buildings are technical monuments, which bear witness to the economical life of a municipality and the local authority’s competences for controlling measurements.
Zuzana Zvarová – Peter Horanský
Beer brewing has had a long tradition in Slovakia. Documents from early feudal times show evidence that lieges, nobility as well as clergy brewed beer. Beer making was concentrated in emerging towns. The right to brew was one of the basic rights of the bourgeois. In independent royal towns, this right was connected to particular houses. In villages, beer brewing was the right of the nobility, who were its main users since the 16th century as a significant source of income. The nobility rented breweries as well as off-licences; beer was also brewed in many subjective towns.
The town of Ilava was formed around the castle of the same name, which is first mentioned in a document from 1318. Initially it belonged to the Trenčín castle domain, but later became a seat of an independent castle estate that changed from owner to owner. Mainly it was the family of Ostrožič, who owned Ilava and the castle estate until 1684, and who significantly developed the town.
One of the few preserved older buildings in Ilava is the manorial brewery. The first monument research took place there in 2007, and explained the construction development of the building. The first mention of beer brewing in Ilava comes from 1598. In 1601 there were allegedly two breweries belonging to the Ostrosic, but only one was renewed and finished in 1630 – 1635. The year of 1635, when renovation ended, was the official year of the founding of Ilava brewery. The oldest building of the manorial brewery from 1630 – 1635 was a ground renaissance building with a ground plan in the letter “L”, which corresponds to its contemporary state. From interiors of this construction phase, there remained the large vaulted rooms in its south-eastern wing. In 1693 Count Siegfried Christoph Breuner of Stubingen purchased the brewery and from 1698 the brewery was in the hands of Breuner’s son-in-law, Count Königsegg from German Aulendorf, who enlarged it. The brewery acquired a new look during a large reconstruction and partial, one-floor extension after 1740. In the second half of the 18th century, the brewery was enlarged again. Beer brewing was doing well in Ilava because its brewery was the largest in the Trenčín region in the 19th century, with an annual production of 3,000 hectolitres of beer. In the first half of the 20th century banks took hold of the brewery. In 1948 construction of a new brewery started, which was put in operation in 1950. This coincidence ensured that the brewery building was preserved in its almost authentic form up today. After the brewery was privatised in 1992 the production of beer constantly declined until it fully stopped in 2000.
Ľudovít Fulla – avant-garde in graphic design
The first and second issue of the Private Letters of Ľudovít Fulla (1902 – 1980) and Mikuláš Galanda (1895 – 1938) issued on February 28 and later on April 30, 1930 manifested not only the inclination of both Slovak painters to modern European art trends, with several works illustrating the proclaimed opinions, but also the congenial graphic concept. Such a brief attempt to formulate one’s art programme and introduce it in such a form to the public has long been unique in Slovakia.
Simultaneously, it was an attempt to initiate communication with an audience and thereby explain the principles of the new art required by the new period. By that time both artists had not only created many works and held many exhibitions of respected artistic works, they also spent several years teaching at Bratislava Arts and Crafts School (1928 – 1939), not unlike the German Bauhaus. Part of the teaching process was an experiment, which Fulla understood to be a creative method – a search for a route. He looked for connections between the west (functionalism, elementarism) and the east (suprematism, constructivism).
Fulla studied in Prague (1922 – 1927) and therefore knew the whole of Czech and western typographic avant-garde. His inclination to elementarism and function showed through constants in the following years 1928 – 1934: colour, plane, light, and architecture of shape and destruction of illusionary space. In 1929 – 1933 he dedicated quite a large space to experiment, mainly in graphic design and stage setting. Fulla found joy in the typographic experiment, as the pages of the Slovenská Grafia magazine suggest. He even transported these typographic montages and illustrations as a composition element to theatre stage. In many of his stage settings, created for the Slovak National Theatre, Fulla used identical, though colour transformed graphic images based on contrasting shiny coloured planes – elementary red, green and blue, which absorb the expansive colours of grey, black and brown. Asymmetry of obtuse and acute angles of one-coloured planes on stage settings completes the dynamics of the whole scene. After 1934 Fulla continued with graphic design, but his retreat from an avant-garde concept is clear and definite.
The standard of President Jozef Tiso
Shortly after the origin of the Slovak Republic in March 1939 state symbols were created, codified and legislatively modified. Their constitution was part of the construction process of the new state identity. This was the second dramatic act in the fates of Slovak symbols. The first one took place after autonomy was declared, when contents and form of the Slovak coat-of-arms were entrusted to the hands of heraldist Alexander Húščava and illustrator Břetislav Štorm. After declaring Slovakia’s independence, a heraldic committee was founded at the interior ministry to deal with state symbols. At the same time, a concurrent competition was announced for designing state coat-of-arms, state flag, state seal and presidential standards. Overall, 60 proposals were submitted and they all contained versions of the national coat-of-arms (triple hills and double cross). The heraldic committee submitted its proposal on May 23, the Constitutional-Legal Committee discussed it on June 16, and a parliament meeting approved it on June 23, 1939. The Constitutional-Legal Committee presented only the governmental proposal as the basis of the negotiations about state symbols, which was accepted by law No 148. Unfortunately, the explanatory report does not say anything about the author of the governmental proposal.
The Bratislava City Museum contains the original standard of President Jozef Tiso, which used to be placed on the presidential palace. It was used to indicate the permanent or contemporary residence of the president of the Slovak Republic. Law No 263 specified its design. The standard featured the state coat-of-arms in the middle of a white square field and underneath was a slogan in golden colour saying: Faithful ourselves, in unanimity forwards. In each field corner there was a heraldic red rose shot through with a golden arrow. On every side between the heraldic roses were three red double crosses with equally long arms. The whole entity was bound with a sky-blue ribbon in the form of a cross and lined with golden decoration. The standard measures 160 x 160 cm. What is interesting is that the realisation differs from the statutory proposal, where only the brims of roses are red. The same goes for the double crosses, which are of a golden (yellow) colour with red brims. Neither colour on the state coat-of-arms’ shield corresponds with the statutory proposal. It is yellow (golden) and not red. Future research will probably answer the question about why the heraldic red colour on the shield, roses and double-arm crosses was not kept when constructing the standard.
The late-baroque church in Žalobín
The municipality of Žalobín is situated in eastern Slovakia, on the verge of the Lower Beskydy mountains. The name of the village suggests an ancient origin of a settlement from before the 13th, or even 11th century. Between the 14th and 16th centuries, the village belonged to the noble family of Drugeth; first written evidence comes from 1451. The ownership later changed and in 1689 it ended up in the hands of Count Barkóczy. This aristocratic family significantly helped with maintenance and later with construction and renovations of the local church. Written evidence mentions the Roman Catholic Church in Žalobín together with vicarage and the property connected to it in the middle of the 16th century. Originally a wooden church with one bell, it was in 1768 replaced by the Church of St Francis Seraph from stone, with a sacristy added to the right side of the church, three altars, ambo, and wooden choir and an organ with six registers. An independently standing wooden belfry with two bells – a bigger one from 1756 and a smaller one from 1644 – was part of the masonry church. A cemetery was built on the southern part of the municipality, outside the church wall in 1790.
Architectural-historical development of the church could be summarised in three basic development phases: construction of austere sacral building with wooden belfry (1765 – 1768), demolition of wooden and construction of a masonry tower in 1873 (fully preserved up today), and interior modifications in the 19th and 20th centuries (positioning of wooden benches, removing baroque wooden choir with organ and replacing it with up-to-date iron-concrete construction). The last phase of the Žalobín church development, during which most of the interior equipment perished except for the stone baptistery and aspersorium, did not bring any architectural values that would need to be protected and preserved. The architectural development of the church in the examined period ended with the building of the masonry tower and exchanging framework in 1873. Another development of this architecture would therefore have had to continue from the second developmental phase with respect to all its additions.
Book of Esther
The scroll of Esther (Megillat Ester), which is read during the Jewish celebration of Purim, has been preserved in Hebrew as well as Greek versions. The Hebrew text is shorter and has more secular content (God is not mentioned). Lysimachos from Jerusalem translated the scroll of Esther into Greek. The text is mutual for Judaism as well as Christianity. It tells the story of a Jewish girl Hadassah (Edissa), who begged King Ahasver to save Jewish people in Persia from extermination. The holiday of Purim reminds Jews of this rescue of their ancestors. On the eve of Purim and in the morning of Purim the scroll is publicly read. It must be read directly from the parchment scroll after reciting the commanded blessing. For public reading in the synagogue the scroll of Esther is hand written in Hebrew quadratic writing without any adornment. The scroll written for a private person is often adorned with illuminations (decorative motifs and scenes from the text). The scroll of Esther can reach one to three metres. A cover protects it from being destroyed.
From a literary point of view, the scroll of Esther is considered to be a historical novel with historic background but not contents. The author is unknown. The language used on the scroll dates to the 3rd or 2nd century BC, probably somewhere in Mesopotamia.
The Slovak National Museum – Museum of Jewish Culture in Bratislava preserves five rare parchment fragments from the scroll of Esther. Experts say they were written in the 18th century. The fragments that were significantly damaged from the past, due to unsuitable storage, were reconstructed in Prague. During the restoration process, individual papers were separated and missing surfaces added and fixed. The preserved fragments do not form a complete scroll. Based on the type of writing and ornamentation it can be assumed that the scroll was made in Poland, or the Ukraine. The restored fragment of the scroll of Esther in 2006 became part of the rare collection in the SNM – Museum of Jewish Culture.
Masonic relics in the Central Slovakia Museum
The Museum of Central Slovakia in Banská Bystrica preserves several collection items that remind us of Freemasonic movement in the town. The oldest collections, which might relate to the first phase of the Freemasonic movement’s establishment in Banská Bystrica, include the ceremonial sword and seal ring. Both items entered the museum collections before 1910. Two freemasonic medals of Felvidék Lodge in the shape of an equilateral triangle with handle can be also counted among the oldest museum items. Two medals of Bratislava freemasonic Lodges Sokrates and Freundschaft complete the collection of freemasonic items.
The collection enlarged in 1963, when other freemasonic items entered the museum: the freemasonic hammer of the Felvidék Lodge caretaker, a freemasonic painted carpet – tapis (probably from 1830, which is the date recorded in the Museum’s Book of Entries), a glass cup with freemasonic symbols, the red wax seal of the oldest Banská Bystrica freemasonic lodge, iron scissors for cutting wick and a sheet-metal cone of the first supervisor for candle extinguishing as well as an honorary diploma awarded to the main master F. Göllner in 1897.
All these items come from the noteworthy Slovak painter Július Flaché (1892 – 1967). Originally, the charter of the first German freemasonic lodge in Banská Bystrica from 1765 was also among them. The collection of these items that Július Flaché donated to the museum reflects the continuity of the freemasonic movement in Banská Bystrica since the beginning of the second half of the 18th century until 1963. The museum managed to enlarge this interesting collection in 2007 with items from the first Czechoslovak Republic, when not only the Czechoslovak Lodge Vatra but also the German Lodge Felicitas was in Banská Bystrica. Among those items are freemasonic honours in the shape of a golden and silver plastering trowel, a freemasonic apron and the seal of the mentioned lodge as well as the freemasonic pass of the Common Freemasonic League from 1929. After the Munich agreement, the autonomous government in Slovakia banned freemasonry and masons discontinued their work in the lodges. In 1947 they renewed their activity for a short time, but at the beginning of 1950s their activity ceased for good. Banská Bystrica played an important role in Slovakia’s freemasonry development from the 18th century to the first half of the 20th century.
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