Jozef Haľko – Tomáš Krampl
Crypt researchers in St Martin’s Cathedral
The distinguished Cardinal and Archbishop of Esztergom Peter Pázmány died on March 19 in 1637, at the age of 67, in the bishop’s palace in Bratislava. Cardinal Pázmány was buried on April 3, 1637 in St. Martin’s Cathedral sub Epitaphio S[ancti] Joannis Eleemosynarii quod ipse illi curaverat fieri. Based on his testament from November 12, 1636, it was the cardinal’s will he be buried in a simple and modest way. A simple stone panel, with the inscription Petrus Pázmány Cardinalis, marked the grave in the paving. Pázmány’s great admirer, George Lippay, the Bishop of Veszprem and Hungarian Chancellor, who was appointed the Esztergom Archbishop in 1642, stated in his testament from December 31, 1665 that his body was to be buried next to the grave of Peter Pázmány. Lippay also ordered and sponsored the manufacture of the epitaph that was to be situated in the place of the monumental gothic tabernacle in the northern wall of the apse. In 1710, Palatine Paul Esterházy ordered the installation of a commemorative panel utilising red marble, in the Cathedral, to honour the three great pillars of then Hungary Peter Pázmány († 1637), Geore Lippay († 1666) and George Széchényi († 1695).
Since the 19th century, many researchers of historical and national memories were interested in the exact location of the grave, where the three significant archbishops of Esztergom were buried, in the 17th century. The research in 1859 initially, only revealed the remains of the 103-year-old Archbishop Széchényi, but after the crypt was discovered under the marble paving, they also identified the bodies of Cardinal Pázmány and Archbishop Lippay. The crypt was resealed and the paving re-laid. It was probably opened again in 1865 – 1869 during the cathedral’s gothic reconstruction.
The interest in Peter Pázmány increased in Slovakia, mainly after the renovation of Trnava University in 1992, which contacted with the Budapest university Pázmány Péter Katolikus Egyetem. The question about where exactly Cardinal Pázmány is buried in the Bratislava Cathedral, initiated a collection of the most important sources that were published in the two languages in 2007. A research group entered the so-called Pálffy’s crypt in the presbytery in 2004, however it did not identify the place of Pázmány’s burial. After establishing a new Bratislava archdiocese, the Cathedral of St. Martin became the residential church of archbishop-metropolitan. This status predetermined a new approach to the research by non-invasive methods – using geo-radar and geo-physical measurement. At the end of November 2010, the Slovak National Museum-Archaeological Museum, in cooperation with other experts performed a complex research of Pázmány’s and Lippay’s remains located in the crypt, which is located behind the Pálffy’s crypt.
Polish crown jewels at Ľubovňa Castle
The Ľubovňa Castle (Altlublau), built probably around 1307, was the site of many important events that influenced the history of the Hungarian-Polish border. The year 1412 was the breaking year, when the castle became the administration centre of 13 main cities passed to Poland under the Treaty of Lubowla , which de facto finished in 1769 and de iure in 1772. One of the most significant events in the history of the castle was the concealment of Polish crown jewels and the entire Polish royal treasure. These were brought in from the Wawel Castle in Kraków after the Swedes attacked Poland in 1655 during the rein of Polish King John II Casimir Vasa.
Jerzy Lubomirski, the then mayor of the secured Spiš region, which had its centre at the Ľubovňa Castle, safeguarded the transport of the royal insignia and jewels as well as important archive documents. Apart from the Polish crown jewels, the castle also concealed the so-called Swedish and Moscow crown, which belonged to the royal treasure since the reign of Sigismund III Vasa. The Polish royal treasure was hidden in the Ľubovňa Castle until 1661, when the war with the Swedes ended. It was then transported back to Kraków.
For the Polish people, the crown jewels – a crown, orb, sceptre, robe, sword and sporadically a ring – were the symbols of sovereignty of the Polish kingdom amongst the then European states. The crown was originally made of pure gold and consisted of nine segments in the shape of the royal lily. Based on the description from 1609, it was decorated with 117 large and 180 smaller gemstones – mainly rubies, sapphires, emeralds and diamonds – and 90 pearls. Seventeen Polish kings were crowned with it. During the coronation of the last Polish king, Stanislaw August Poniatowski, in 1764, the crown jewels were restored and for the first time displayed to the public. On this occasion, Joseph Christoph Werner made sketches of the royal insignia. King Stanislaw August also ordered painter Marcello Bacciarelli to create a collection of portraits of the Polish kings. Werner’s drawings and Bacciarelli’s portraits are in the Royal Castle and Cabinet of Engravings at the University Library of Warsaw.
Prussian Emperor Frederick William II took the original coronation crown (1320 – 1764) from the royal treasury of the Wawel Castle to Berlin in 1794. His son, Frederick William III, had it destroyed at the beginning of the 19th century. Regarding the Ľubovňa Castle’s importance and the tradition of protecting the Polish crown jewels, the Ľubovňa Museum ordered their replicas and exhibited them in the castle’s Chapel of St. Michael.
Buildings of the Stibors in western Slovakia
The construction activities of the noble family of Stibors, mainly Stibor of Stiboricz, and his son Stibor Jr., has a significant place in the history of the late-gothic architecture in Slovakia. Stibor, originally a Pole, entered the service of Hungarian monarch during the reign of Louis the Great, who was also the King of Poland from 1370. The year of 1387, when Sigismund of Luxemburg was crowned Hungarian King, was a milestone in Stibor’s life. Within a year he became Bratislava’s district administrator and gradually acquired other offices. He proved to be a brave soldier and a good diplomat. His only son Stibor was the captain of the anti-Hussite armies in western Slovakia. However, he never achieved his father’s rank and influence.
Duke Stibor was granted the first possessions at the beginning of Sigismund’s rein. In 1388, the King donated Stibor and his brothers 12 villages in Bratislava and Nitra districts, Nové Mesto nad Váhom and Beckov Castle. Then he was granted Uhrovec, Čachtice, Holíč, Dobrá Voda and Branč, and in the course of the following three decades he acquired castle estates on the territory of today’s western Slovakia and Moravia. When Stibor Jr. died without a male descendant in 1434, the family lost the extensive property domain that encompassed approximately 20 castles and 300 towns and villages.
It is mainly the Beckov Castle that is mentioned when talking of Stibor’s architecture. Though it is a ruin today, this family residence was closely monitored during the financing of its reconstruction, the most crucial of which was the upper castle area. The stone details and paintings in the residential part were only preserved in fragments, but even these minor remains testify to the artistic demands of the leading Hungarian magnate. The castle chapel best demonstrates the artistic quality of Stibor’s architecture.
Other Stibor’s castles never reached the Beckov level. Fortifications from the 14th and 15th centuries could be identified on many castles in the Small Carpathians and Považie (Along the Váh River) regions, but for the time being it is impossible to directly connect them to the Stibors. Stibor also ordered the building of new churches and monasteries on his estates, and also financed their functioning. The church in Nové Mesto nad Váhom is undoubtedly the best example amongst the sacral buildings. Stibor’s buildings also include the Chapel of St. Anthony of Padua near Čachtice parish church, and the parish churches of St. Stephen in Beckov, St. Ladislaus in Čachtice, Holy Spirit in Petrova Ves and St. Michael in Vaďovce (originally a chapel).
Founding Charter of the monastery of the Congregation of Notre Dame
Peter Fourier and Alexia Le Clerc founded the Congregation of the Canonesses of St. Augustine of Notre Dame in Mattaincourt, Lorraine, on December 25, 1597. Its activity focused on helping the poor, maintaining churches, founding schools for girls and their free education. It spread rapidly all over French and German counties. The congregation entered Bratislava in 1747 and continually worked there until the end of August 1950, when the local monastery was closed. They returned to Bratislava in 1990.
The archive of the congregation, which had been built by the members since they initially arrived in Bratislava, was divided after the end of the monastery. Parts of the archive are stored in several state archives – Archives of the Capital of the Slovak Republic Bratislava, Literature and Art Archives of the Slovak National Library, State Archives in Bratislava and Slovak National Archives (SNA). One of the documents kept in SNA is the Original of the Founding Charter of the monastery of the Congregation of Notre Dame in Bratislava, which relates to the period before the congregation’s arrival in Bratislava and was personally initiated by Countess Judith Anthony O’Neill. After seeing the success of the congregation schools in Germany, in 1743, she also became interested in the possibility of founding the monastery in Bratislava. After providing the finances for the monastery, she was granted royal permission to bring the congregation to Bratislava on October 24, 1747. The permission was not only the approval of Maria Theresa, but also the confirmation of the original foundation charter of Countess O’Neill, who is mentioned in the copy of the monarch’s consent.
Based on archive sources, the royal consent of Maria Theresa was bound in red velvet already in the 18th century. A seal of red wax, stored in a wooden box, was hanging on a golden thread from the binding of the charter that was issued in a sheaf form. The charter and the seal were preserved in a very good condition. The charter is written in Latin and the copy of it, issued by Countess O’Neill, is in German.
Baroque paintings in Dubovica manor house
The ceiling paintings of the Dobay’s manor house in Dubovica, a Šariš municipality in the district of Sabinov in eastern Slovakia, are concealed from the public in an area under the roof. The Dobays built the baroque manor house with a rectangular ground plan in the second half of the 18th century. The architectural features, as well as the inscribed paintings from 1782, date the time of its origin. Only two thirds of the original building remained after the Second World War.
The paintings were ordered after the manor house was built (before 1782) by one of the distinguished family members – possibly, Captain Sigismund Dobay, Stephen or even Martin Dobay, whose mansions are also mentioned in the documents from the end of the 18th century. The paintings are today, preserved in their original state over the whole eastern vault of the manor house’s wall projection. Initially, though, they covered all interior walls of the first floor. After the Second World War, the individual rooms of the house were divided and the ceilings lowered. This gave origin to smaller rooms, which were newly painted in the 1960s. The current paintwork can thus, still conceal original layers. The visible paintings are therefore only in the lower part (height up to 2 m) above the secondary flat ceiling.
The accessible paintings depict various mythological scenes with a central motif of Phaeton’s fall, and the heads of roman emperors, that are set into the illusive architecture in the style of Louis XVI. The upper left corner bears the painting’s inscription: Joseph. Lerch. pinx: Ao 1782. Joseph Lerch (1751 – 1828), native of Spišská Sobota, worked in Levoča and Košice, as well as the Šariš and Liptov regions between 1780 and 1828. He mainly worked on portraits, but in addition, altar and wall paintings. He was only 30, when he painted the work in Dubovica, which is quite large.
Remains of a painting were also preserved on the inner part of the tympanum of the wall projection. But because they are outside, they are quite damaged. They depict the biblical story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well, which was most probably painted by J. Lerch as well.
Franz Wimmer and Endre Szőnyi – the architects of classic modernism
The year 2010 marked 125 years since the birth of two Bratislava architects, representatives of traditional conservative architecture targeted at the German environment. E. Szőnyi, from the studio of F. Wimmer & E. Szőnyi, Architekten, is also known to the public as the author of the book Tak rástla Bratislava (In This Way Bratislava Grew) from 1967 and as the publisher of the Forum magazine between 1931 – 1938. There are only a few studies published about architect F. Wimmer and some periods of his life are unknown. Bratislava has several constructions that have been designed in their studio and which complete the image of the city. Some buildings can be also found in Piešťany, Šamorín, Vrbové, Bojnice, Trnava and other Slovak towns.
F. Wimmer graduated from the Technical University in Munich. E. Szőnyi (originally called Zapletal) first received technical education in Swiss Winterthur and later studied at the Julian Art Academy in Paris. Both of them were well aware of the world’s architectural developments, but they continued in the familiar local craft traditions and respected the requests of clients mainly from the middle class of the German-Hungarian inhabitants of the then Bratislava.
The Pressburger Kunstverein society, which was founded in 1885 and later resided in Szőnyi’s house on Kapitulská Street, also had its part in creating the personalities of the two architects. The work done for the society, in which they held several positions until its extinction in 1945, was part of the active social life of both architects. Many members of the society were later their clients.
Wimmer left for Prague in 1929, where he lectured at the department of medieval art, within the Construction Faculty in the German section of the Charles University, but he continued to work with Szőnyi in their Bratislava studio until 1938. He emigrated to Germany after the war, where he died in 1953. E. Szőnyi died in 1968 and together with his wife he is buried at the Slávičie údolie (Nightingale Valley) cemetery in Bratislava.
From natural skating-rinks to Winter Stadium
Before the first winter stadium with an artificial ice surface was opened in Bratislava (in 1940), the hockey players and (figure) skaters used the natural ice on rivers, ponds and other grounds. The frozen Danube has tempted Bratislava skaters for many years, and the increased interest in skating led to the opening of the first watered ice surface in the town in 1871. This was located in the Pálffy’s garden under the castle, in the location of today’s Zochova Street. The public skating on the skating rink illuminated with 64 gas lamps was very popular. The Bratislava Skating Society, founded on December 14, 1871, added to its attraction. Skating also became part of the school’s physical education programme at the end of the 19th century and the Education Minister personally supervised the building of ice rinks at school courtyards in 1891. Bratislava citizens loved to skate; there were nine natural ice rinks in the town between 1870 and 1913. The famous ones were the lakes at Železná studnička (The Iron Well), where people would mainly seek entertainment at the beginning of the 20th century.
The predecessor of ice hockey in Slovakia was the bandy hockey, which used a small leather or filled rubber ball instead of a puck. The rules were quite relaxed and the number of players varied; it started mainly as a social game. The penetrative spread of Canadian hockey at the end of the 19th century, however, managed to completely replace bandy and the first European championships in ice hockey took place in 1910.
The Czech hockey officials influenced the development of this sport in Slovakia in the 1920s. They founded the ice hockey division of the First Czechoslovak Sports Club in 1921. Another hockey club Zwirnfabrik SC originated in 1923. A third Bratislava hockey club, ŠK Slávia, appeared three years later, and built a town skating rink next to the Tobacco Factory at Vazovova Street. Another hockey club was founded as part of Skiclub Bratislava in 1928 and soon became the Slovak favourite of Canadian hockey. The team of Bratislava university students was also among the successful hockey players.
Due to financial problems and warm weather in the middle of the 1930s, ice hockey was no longer thriving on natural grounds in Bratislava. An artificial skating rink, which existed in 43 European countries in 1936, was first opened in Bratislava (and Slovakia) in December 1940. The Winter Stadium, with the roof covering from 1958, lasted until 2010, when its complete reconstruction started prior to the upcoming 2011 World Ice Hockey Championships, which will take place at the end of April and beginning of May in Bratislava and Košice.
Pavol Komora – Tomáš Lupták
Cabinet from the time of Napoleonic wars
The depository of the historical furniture in the Slovak National Museum-Červený Kameň Museum contains a remarkable cabinet with the pictures of two army commanders on the doors. It was mainly the cabinet’s decoration, which suggested that it is an artefact from the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century. A closer research revealed that the pictured horsemen are important historical characters from the time of the Napoleonic wars – Swedish Crown Prince Carl Johan (a one time Napoleon Marshal, Jean-Baptiste Jules Bernadotte) and Prussian Marshal Gebhart Leberecht von Blücher. The pictures on the cabinet capture the victory of the armies of the Sixth Anti-Napoleonic Coalition in the “Battle of Nations” at Leipzig in October 1813. They were most probably painted shortly after this event, between the end of 1813 and first half of 1815.
Typologically, the cabinet belongs to a group of painted furniture, so-called Bauernmöbel, which was known all over Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries, but mainly in the German speaking regions. It entered the museum’s collection at the beginning of 1956, during the transportation of art-historical items from aristocratic properties confiscated after the Second World War. Červený Kameň acquired it from the Adamovice manor house, but it belonged to the Dubodiel manor house that was built by Count Alexander Pallavicini in 1937 – 1939, as his hunting residence. Its provenance, however, has not yet been detected. The second part of the article talks about the complex restoration of the cabinet, which will be exhibited in a new historical exposition of SNM at Bratislava Castle.
Unknown renovations of the Chapel of St. John the Evangelist in Bratislava
The Gothic Chapel of St. John the Evangelist, built near Bratislava’s Franciscan Church in 1591, did not serve liturgical purposes; it only existed as a capella mortuorum. The rare monument was almost forgotten and on the brink of extinction until a renovation in 1831 saved it. It was probably back then, when the lower chapel was divided, and a charnel house was built in the basement. In order to return it to its liturgical function, a larger renovation between 1910 and 1914 was carried out in four phases.
The first phase (1910) renovated the northern façade and its stone articles. The second (1911) continued to renovate the exterior, mainly restoring the western portal and crown cornice. The entire truss was also replaced. In 1912 the plan was to complete the truss, reinforce the plinths and carry out the glasswork. In the fourth renovation phase in 1913 – 1914, the Hungarian Monuments Commission, which preferred to renovate the interior for liturgical purposes, loosened the financial support of the then Interior Ministry. More radical plans for uncovering the western gothic portal (architect F. Wimmer), works on crypts and other renovation ideas of architect J. Schulek, however, were not carried out, due to the outbreak of the First World War.
Sklené Teplice and spa buildings
Sklené Teplice (with around 450 inhabitants today) sits in the north-western part of the Štiavnica hills. The municipality was founded at the beginning of the 14th century. Its citizens made a living by gathering timber for the mines in Banská Štiavnica. In the middle of the 14th century, they founded a glass factory, the first in the then Hungary. It produced special “laboratory” glass used for detecting the contents of gold and silver in ores mined in the Banská Štiavnica region. The glassworks stopped working during the 17th century. The Banská Štiavnica Mining Chamber had smelting plants in the municipality from the end of the 17th century, which processed gold and silver with the use of lead (there were four furnaces in 1780). Sklené Teplice opened an amalgam smelting-house in 1786 and on that occasion held an international geological congress. The scientific society Societät der Bergbaukunde, was founded at that time. Its headquarters was originally located in Sklené Teplice, but later moved to Zellerfeld in Germany. The smelter stopped working in the 1790s.
After the end of the industrial production, the municipality citizens switched to a spa business and agriculture. There are 14 thermal springs with the temperature ranging from 37 °C to 52,3 °C in the Sklené Teplice cadastre. These have attracted several significant personalities to the local spa: balneograph Juraj Wernher came in 1549, while the 18th century saw the arrival of prominent doctor Karol Otto Moller, English traveller Edward Brown, German mineralogist and botanist Franz Ernest Brückmann and Slovak polyhistorian Matej Bel.
The spa area in Sklené Teplice was gradually built in the second half of the 18th century, but mainly between 1835 and 1848. It belonged to Zvolen doctor Vojtech Gasparetz from 1868. His family owned it until 1945, when the spa was seized by the state. The late-baroque spa buildings were gradually reconstructed for accommodation purposes and spa treatments. The only preserved (and renovated) building is the wooden musical pavilion Kursalón from 1838. The author of this article describes more accurately the history and renovation of the national cultural monument – cave steam bath (2009).
Baroque travel clock of Bratislava provenance
Bratislava City Museum systematically adds new items to the collection of historical clocks of the Bratislava provenance. In 2010 it bought a unique baroque travel clock – an alarm clock made by one of the leading Bratislava clockmakers, Jacob Guldan (1726 – 1790). The museum’s collection already owns six exhibits with his signatures. The newly acquired clock has a case made from gilded and engraved metal, which stands on four legs and has motifs of shells and flowers. A flower basket dominates the clock-face above, a rosette is underneath, and the remainder is filled with floral motifs. The Roman numerals on the enamel clock-face mark the hours and the Arabic numerals above them mark the minutes. Also richly decorated is the back of the case with the engraved signature: Jacob Guldan, Pressburg. The sidewalls made of glass expose the clock mechanism. When the clock is wound up it can run for the whole day. An original leather container with a paper label glued on the inside and a partially damaged inscription – Urmacher Guldan v[…] anno MDCCL – was preserved with the travel clock as well. The clock is currently exhibited in the specialised clock exposition of the Bratislava City Museum in the House of the Good Shepherd.
Industrial monuments of the Trnava region
The region of today’s Trnava has never had the character of an industrial country. It was more agricultural. Nevertheless, manufactures began to appear there from the middle of the 18th century – majolica in Holíč and cotton-print in Šaštín. The industrialisation had fully hit the area after 1848, leaving quite a few technical and industrial buildings behind. These mainly included mills, distilleries, sugar factories, breweries and malt houses. A brick manufacture formed an independent chapter, as the sufficiency of the suitable raw material influenced the development of the construction ceramic production. National monuments of 34 buildings and areas of manufacturing and technical character represent slightly more than 5 percent of the overall monument fund in the Trnava region.
Other valuable technical buildings included several baroque breweries (e.g. in Šaštín-Stráže from the middle of the 18th century), distilleries that used to stand in almost every second-third municipality (e.g. Štrkovec from the end of the 19th century, Leopoldov from 1911), and mills (e.g. Mary steam mills in Sládkovičovo from 1912, Štefan Pilárik steam mills in Gbely from the interwar period and in Mostová from 1905, an electrical mill in Dolné Saliby from the 1920s and a little electrical mill in Okoč from the beginning of the 20th century). The big businesses in the food industry, mainly included sugar factories (e.g. the Kuffner sugar factory in Sládkovičovo from 1867 and Sereď from 1907). The silk factory in Senica, built in 1920 and the timber processing factory in Majdán, founded by Jozef Pálffy in 1883 with its branch in Dobrá Voda that had worked from 1901, were other examples of typical industrial areas. More industrial businesses were also in the town of Trnava – the Coburg metallurgical plants (1915), a state-run plant for repairing railway carriages (1925) and a steam electric power station (1917). The most significant brickworks included the factory in Prietrž (with a box furnace from 1922), Mitacsek factory in Trnava (with a circular furnace from the 1880s – 1890s) and Hlohovec from 1918, and Scheibner factory in Piešťany, in the municipalities of Rakovice from the end of the 19th century and Vrbové (1944).