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Revue Pamiatky a múzeá – Summary 3/2006

Skalica – Conservation


Skalica lies on a south-westerly offshoot of
the Biele Karpaty (White Carpathians), in the most northern part of Slovakia’s
fertile region that spreads along the Morava river. Václav Mencl, in his book
dedicated to medieval Slovak towns, had already stated in 1938 that the town’s
ground plan is a nice example of how a free town is born out of an older
settlement; both of these phases, each following different rules, are visible in
its growth
. We base our knowledge on his results even today. The historical
core of the town, a zone of conservation, has preserved the basic urban
conception of a medieval ground plan of the settlement, which is rare for
western Slovakia. The square, meanwhile, is unusual for the whole of Slovakia,
with its triangular ground shape. Three streets radiated from it and led through
the settlement before it turned into a town. Significant gothic buildings,
namely a hospital (1431) and Franciscan church (1467), originated near the watch
road in the direction of Morava, today’s Kráľovská (Royal) Street, in the place
where the Guard Gate was built in the fortification. The town is unique within
the larger region also thanks to an almost complete circuit of fortifications
from the second half of the 14th century.
The oblong shape of the square leads to a terrain
mound, where the fort used to stand in the past and below which the Slovak
under-castle settlement was formed. A dike separated it from the Gothic town,
while the chapel was joined with the town in the fortified line and by extending
its construction rendered it part of the fortification. The lower part of the
fort is probably preserved in the Roman Rotunda of St. Juraj (George), dated to
the 12th or the beginning of the 13th century. It is the
oldest preserved building in the town.
Natural conditions and a favourable location
enabled the boom of viticulture. Winemakers who settled in the area played an
important role in Skalica’s early development. In particular the tiny urban
structure of ground floor viticulture houses, arranged in rows, characterise the
conservation zone’s built-up area. Originally the gothic burgher’s houses that
later received a palace-like character (Gvadány house – the town’s library
today, the town hall and houses in the western line of the square and Mitták
house cornering Kráľovská street – now the Záhorské Museum) have centred around
the square. There is also the former Jesuit monastery with church, the Gothic
Parish Church of St. Michal (Michael) and Charnel House of St Anna (Ann). More
gothic buildings, including the town’s poorhouse Štibor with chapel, can be
found on Kráľovská street leading northeast of the square.
Among the places and points of interest is one
house in a row in the built-up area of farmhouses on the south part of Jatočná
street. The so-called old town hall (ratúz) was probably a renaissance
curia originally with an inner courtyard. The arcade loggia in the back wing is
a unique architectural feature for Skalica and the surrounding area. The
so-called Hottmar house neighbouring the town hall is also valuable evidence of
the burgher’s architecture. Its medieval developing phase is preserved on the
ground floor. The project experienced enlargement during the renaissance and
today’s look comes from the middle of the 19th century. Skalica town
brewery, which was built adjacent to the fortification in the north-western part
of the town, is unique for its rooms on both floors vaulted on central columns
and supported on its sides, which create a rare example of a hall’s two-nave

Skalica – Public areas and mobiliari


First documented facts on paving the Skalica
square of Námestie Slobody (Fö tér) are recorded at the end of the
19th century. Back then, almost the entire area was thickly paved
with a worked quarry stone of uneven shape. This type of paving has been
preserved in Skalica only rarely. At the beginning of 1900 a progressive way of
solid surfacing was introduced in Skalica called drotuár (from the French
trottoir – pavement). It was the so-called cast surface, from artificial stone,
which mixes small gravel aggregate with cement. A quadrangular net, imitating
the financially demanding cut stone pavement, was impressed onto a wetted
surface. Such communication was elevated against the other solid surfaces and
separated with a steel rolled angle.
At the turn of the century, the town arranged for
the establishment of a public park behind the church, by basically assembling
some greenery in a small area. It was probably at this time that a green lining
of small tree cultivation was planted along the pavements in the square. In the
1930s, the park behind the church grew southwards towards the charnel house and
the southern half of the square began to serve as a relaxation
The first proof of street lighting is from period
photo-documentation at the end of the 19th century. Console lanterns
had been imbedded on the corners of the town hall and burgher’s house, in the
southeast of the square, at the intersection of Kráľovská and Gorká streets, and
illuminated the square. At the beginning of the next century, the street lamps
first used gas, later electricity. The poles as well as the illuminating
features were in the style of art nouveau. The decoration and classical division
of the pole (root, tige and console), along with an art nouveau ball-shaped
illuminating gadget, brought non-traditional city atmosphere into rural Skalica.
The lamps were situated in front of the Immaculate sculptures, east of the
charnel house and behind the church, on the corner of Ružová street and the
square. Their number and arrangement did not change until the end of 1950s.
During the electrification process in the town, in
the 1920s, the buildings saw new steel consoles and extrusions leading above the
roofs or under the cornice of the facades. Supporters of air wiring – steel
lattice-work poles, on which they sporadically placed the means of illumination,
were installed on the square along the rows of houses. The poles have been
preserved in several parts of the town until today. The original art nouveau
illuminating ball-shaped entities on the public lighting poles were replaced
with new “standardized” ones, which back then were regularly used for
illuminating public spaces. This 1930s arrangement lasted with almost no change
until the end of 1950. The 1960s brought a significant intervention into the
historical picture of the square. This built-up historical area is being
gradually demolished and reconstructed in a non-stylised and non-conceptual way
and the hardened surfaces, town’s mobiliari and public greenery have also
undergone non-conceptual arrangements and changes.

Burgher’s house of rustic type?

Žuffová – Renáta Žemberová

Residential house No 65 is today a ground
building, a house of a rural type. Surprising discoveries in the attic, however,
significantly changed its historical meaning. Potočná street, where the house
stands, is one of the oldest communications in the town. Literature tells us
that, as was usual, the original settlement formed around it and so began its
development below the fort in the 13th century.
The discovery of ablank window, on the adjacent
building, brought attention to the house’s higher architectural and
artistic-historical value,which failed to be noticed during an ordinary
inspection of the locale. The window turned into the neighbouring house’s
interior with its outer side, the stone decorating framing and profiled front.
Similarly situated stone window framings were also revealed in two other blank
windows on the same wall. The significant shift in the house’s assessment
brought about the research of the attic, where older stone quarry masonry was
found with remains of the original window on a sidewall over a meter-long
stretch. This fragment of the original back wall continuously connects with the
south-eastern wall of the attic, made of the same masonry. It is obvious that in
the place where today’s attic stands,there was a floor, probably with a
three-space depth arrangement. From each space a window faced southeast. The
middle window is best preserved – with acomplete window niche with scuntions,
segmental funicular arch and parapet.
Traces of vaulted middle space and two profiled
cornice stems, the distance of which equals the width of the vaulting front of
what is probably a barrel vault with lunettes, are visible on the interior walls
in the form of a semi-circle imprint. The space occupying today’s attic probably
served as a representative accommodation floor in the past. In this phase, the
construction was solitary, massive, deeper set than the street line and did not
participate in forming the continual street front.
We know of no analogies found in Skalica, or its
surroundings, on the shape of the rectangular cut of stone lining above the
ground window’s pedestal and near the attic portal. Similar constructions though
are known from other Slovak localities, where they date to the beginning of the
renaissance (the second half of the 16th century). The change from a
representative storeyed house to ground item could have come with any one of the
destroying town fires, which hit Skalica at the end of the 16th or
beginning of the 17th century.

Art and benefaction activities in a border


A favourable location for Skalica, near the
Morava borders, on the so-called Czech route, through which goods and people
emanated in both directions, helped the growth of businesses and crafts. The
border has never really meant anything in the entire Moravia-Slovak region,
either culturally or politically. No language barrier existed and the
inhabitants shared similar fates often in difficult times. The devastation of
war in the 17th century, the plundering of the town, alternatively
seized by rebelling and imperial armies, plagues, fires, crop failures and high
prices, all worried the inhabitants on both sides of the border for the entire
century and for those in Hungarian kingdom this did not cease, even after the
30-year war ended. Nevertheless, we did not notice any discontinuity in the
construction and artistic activity, even in those unfavourable times. Many
preserved works are proof of this. The period brought another large migration
wave from the Czech Republic and Moravia and many immigrants that settled in the
town supported the protestant part of the community.
In the parish Church of St Michael the Archangel,
apart from the organ, main altar (consecrated in 1631, reconstructed after fire
and completed in 1692) and ambo (1676), ten side altars were created during the
Baroque period, eight of which have been preserved. Crafts’ guilds and
fellowships built the altars and consecrated them to their patrons. Carved
retabulas with figures of saints in the central edicule and on the reduced
wings, with rich early-Baroque floral and auricle ornamentation and décor,
differ in typology and technology with the Trnava carving production that
dominated western Slovakia in the middle of the 17th century. No
woodcarving workshop was active in Skalica in the 17th century.
Nothing has been found about the authors of the guild’s altars so far; they
might have even originated in a Moravian or Austrian workshop.
Ján Michal Salix, a native from the Záhorie region
in western Slovakia who was an imperial court adviser since 1651 and four years
later Leopold I appointed him the bishop of Pécs, used to work in Skalica as a
priest and dean (1659 – 1663). In 1661, when he received confirmation, the
painting of Virgin Mary with Child, saints and donator – the bishop, is
additionally dated with dedicating inscription and can be found in the parish
church. The composition originated, as it was then customary, by combining
several models from reproductive graphic works. Unknown painter joined two
different carving works from the era of mannerist rudolphine art. Regarding the
lack of analogies for this work in Skalica as well as the entire south-western
Slovakia, we can assume it is a painting that the bishop received on an occasion
in Moravia and dedicated it in the memory of his work to this
In the time of forced re-catholicization and
repressions under Leopold I, the Skalica native, Spiš priory member and the
bishop of Velký Varadín, Juraj Bársony, stood out. In 1672, he ordained for
Jesuits a church in Skalica the evangelists took from them and the Calvin House
of Worship ordained a chapel for the Pavlins. The famous painting in the Skalica
parish church relates to Bársony. The large oil-painting captures an incident
from July 14, 1672, when the lieges of Branč estate, allegedly pushed by a
Lutheran preacher, on Turá Lúka attacked the bishop’s procession returning from
Trnava, injuring many and killing the bishop’s brother Ján (John), a royal judge
who accompanied them with his servants. This commemorative painting originally
hanged above the tomb of the murdered Ján Bársony buried in the parish
On the start of the 18th century, we
notice a revival of the construction and artistic activities in Skalica. The
Jesuits added a two-tower church of František Xaver next to their college
(ordained in 1724). To another church they freed (originally evangelic church on
Potočná street) they housed Carmelites, who immediately, with support of
Ostrihom arch-bishop, cardinal Leopold Kollonich, started to reconstruct the
church and decorate its interior. In 1711 they built a Loretan chapel to the
church for the Virgin Mary sculpture delivered in a festive procession from
Vienna. Later they enlarged the monastery’s building. The interior decoration of
the church was the work of Giovanni Battista Conti from Eisenstadt, frescos and
altar paintings were made by Luca Antonio Colomba (1674 – 1737), a painter from
Arogno, who used to worked for palatine Pavol Esterházy on decorating
Frauenkirchen pilgrimage church in Burgenland and on the castle of prince Eugen
Savojský in Ráckev. Three oval images with Prophet Elias on the chorus
under-layer (one is also signed) were preserved in authentic state and are among
the best of works the young Colomba left behind in then Hungary (the painting on
the monastery’s refectory vaulting perished in the 19th

Záhorské museum in

Zajíčková – Martin Hoferka – Peter Michalovič – Viera Drahošová

House of Societies situated on the square became
one of the Skalica sights immediately after it opened on October 1, 1905. Dušan
Jurkovič used construction features and architectural details of folk building
in Záhorie region and Moravian Valašsko in its interior and exterior design.
Already during the planning, part of the space was reserved for museum’s
permanent exposition of Pavol Blaho’s collection. The so-called Blaho’s room has
seen minimal interventions into its installation by now.
The museum has focused on documenting crafts work,
its organisation and the life of craftsmen since its origin. In the Blaho’s
collection of jugs, we find the guild’s regulations and hutches, as well as an
attractive collection of guild’s jars. Among the latest acquisitions of the
Záhorské museum historical fond are the hereditaments of Ján Ďurovič (1894 –
1955), who worked as an evangelical priest in Skalica between 1925 and 1955 and
taught older Slovak literature and clerical history at Comenius University. Also
significant is the heritage of Pavol Hallon (1925 – 2004), the descendant of
Hutterites (Habáni), which includes a significant Hutterite hand-written
Biblical Conformity from the last quarter of the 16th century of
which only four exemplars are known to exist in the world. It also consists a
1666 armales written on parchment in German. In addition, the museum houses a
music fund of unique musical instruments (speaking horn, three-voice bagpipes),
characteristic for the region. Lately the heritage of folk musicians entered the
A set of the rare culture of bell-shape glasses
found during an archaeological research in 2003, represents a special place in
the archaeological fund of the Záhorské museum. New finding suggests that the
region around Skalica belonged to Pomoravská (along the Morava river) group of
bell-shape glasses.

Leather tapestries from Holíč manor


The gift decree of Rudolf II ended the family
dispute for Holíč ownership. He granted its royal right for Holíč and Šaštín to
Pavol and Imrich Czobor for their favours. The last Holíč owner of the family
settled the estate on František Lotrinský (Francis Stephen of Lorraine), the
husband of Austrian monarch Mária Terézia (Maria Theresa). Large and fortified
manor house became a favourite place of the imperial family. Those times, at the
end of the first half of the 18th century, an extensive reconstruction took
place along with park arrangment and artistic decoration of the interior. The
gem of the Holíč manor house was the so-called Chinese hall on the first floor,
where paintings with Chinese motifs gently joined figures with floral and animal
elements. After the second world war this hall was mostly locked and unused. Bad
climate, mainly the changes in temperature and moisture in the hall, caused
retraction of leather that gradually dried out. Corrosion damaged nails and bent
leather, which caused the leather to rip out of nails with pieces of leather in
several places as the tapestries dried out.
The town of Holíč, which obtained the manor house
from the Slovak National Museum, sold it to a private company. In regards to the
critical condition of the tapestries, I was asked to check their state.
Confirming their critical condition, after year and half started the first phase
of saving the Chinese Hall tapestries, their removal and conservation, until the
restoration works begin. Before the removal, it was necessary to get rid of the
previous improper and unprofessional restoration interventions from the past.
Conservation and cleaning of the tapestries took place in the spacious hall
where the rollers with tapestries were temporarily stored.
In a short time, organisers of the Lothringens
Erbe exhibition at the Schallaburg castle showed interest for the tapestries.
The Austrian side wanted to present at least part of the Holíč tapestries and
partially cover the costs of repairing the rented and exhibited tapestry. It was
impossible to stretch it on a subframe because its upper part was rolled on a
cylinder in a showcase and half of it hanged down to the air-conditioned
showcase. The exhibition (running from April 29 to October 29) enjoyed a great

Annual prizes of Monuments and Museums
magazine for 2005

For the 15th time the editorial council
of Revue for cultural heritage of Monuments and Museums with its publishers –
Slovak National Museum and Monument’s Board of the Slovak Republic – awarded
prestigious prizes for the most significant works and deeds in the field of
preserving cultural heritage for the last year. The prizes will be awarded on
the opening of Days of European Cultural Heritage 2005 in Slovakia on September
14, 2006, in Skalica.
Annual prizes of the Monuments and Museums
magazine for 2005 were awarded in the following categories:
Peter Nagy and Marek Budaj for finding the coin
treasury in Svätý Jur
Museum of Education and Pedagogy for the
exposition History of Education and Pedagogy in Slovakia
Elena Machajdíková and Bohuš Klein, author of the
exhibition Slovakia on Historical Maps in the 16th – 20th centuries
Publishing house Osveta in Martin and author Dušan
Kováč, Marián Pauer and Eva Králiková for the publication Obrazopis sveta.
Objektívom Milana Rastislava Štefánika
Regional Monument’s Board in Trenčín, Prievidza
office and author Barbora Matáková for the publication Rímskokatolícky kostol
Nanebovzatia Panny Márie na cintoríne v Prievidzi. Ikonografia
Michal Hrčka for presenting renovation of
monuments on
Regional Restoration Studio Bratislava, Zuzana
Chovanová and Alexandra Šulíková for restoring the so-called Thurza altar from
evangelical church of Augsburg religion in Necpaly
Jana Chrappová for coordinating the project of the
Night of Museums and Galleries