MONUMENTS AND MUSEUMS – MAGAZINE´S ANNUAL AWARDS FOR 2010
A new princely grave from the Roman Period and the polycultural site in Zohor (Malacky District)
The important poly-cultural archaeological site is situated at an elevation above the inundation of the river Morava. The site is known since the 40 – 50th of the 20th century. In this time some princely graves from the Roman period were damaged here. Small-scale rescue excavations realized from the 50th till the 80th of the 20th century the Slovak National Museum. During large-scale rescue excavations of the Archaeological Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences parts of settlements and cemeteries from the Neolithic (Linearbandkeramik-culture), from the Bronze-Age (Nitra-group, Middle Danube Tumulus-culture, Velatice-culture), from the Late Iron-Age (2. – 1. century BC), the Roman period and the Early Middle-Ages (8. – 9. century) were excavated. Till now at an area of 5 Ha 400 archaeological objects, 600 post-holes and cemeteries were excavated.
The main importance the site reached during the Roman period. The extensive settlement with an urn cemetery and the German princely-seat were situated at the Amber-route north of the province-capital Carnuntum. From Zohor originate e. g. 8 celtic coins, 120 roman coins, 250 roman and german fibulas, 170 Fragments of roman terra-sigillata pottery and numerous parts of roman bronze-vessels. The roman coins began with the republican ones (2nd century BC), the latest Roman coin belong to Honorius (408 – 423 AD). The settlement from the Roman-period begins here during the arrival of the earliest Germans to the Middle-Danube at the reign of Tiberius (14 – 37 AD). A settlement from the 1st century AD at Middle-Danube was excavated only in Bratislava-Dúbravka and Zohor. In the area of the site e.g. courtyards, single houses, settlement-pits, iron-production ovens, wells from the 1. – 4th century could be investigated. During the 1.-2nd century the central settlement developed to the trade-centre and to the Germanic elite-seat which growed rich also from the duties along the Amber-route. A further progress we can see here after the “Marcomannic-wars” (166 – 180 AD). During the flowering of Pannonia in the 1st Half of the 3rd century AD the relationship between the Romans and Barbarians improved and the trade grew up. In this time also Roman stone buildings, probably for the Germanic upper class in Bratislava-Devín, Bratislava-Dúbravka and Stupava were built. The establishment of Stupava-station and probably of some buildings in Devín began already during the 2nd Half of the 2nd century. It is probable that the princely dynasty of Zohor took part at building the Stupava-station, and that some dukes of Zohor resides here in the 2nd half of the 2nd and the 3rd century.
The most important find from the year 2010 is an undamaged skeletal grave of a Germanic duke which was buried in a timber chamber tomb. The grave belongs, so as since the fifties known princely graves from Vysoká pri Morave and Zohor, to the princely-graves of the “Lübsow-Group“, titled by H. J. Eggers. The princely grave differentiated from the brown-yellow/gravel-sand subsoil. In the depth of 50 cm emerge a 5 – 10 cm wide impression of the chamber tomb. At the bottom of the tomb, on the duke-legs six bronze vessels, two-glass bowls und two-pottery bowls were located. Beside the pelvis the seventh bronze vessel-the bucket was located, beside the bucket a knife, scissors and a razor from bronze. Beside the head a pottery-beaker was located. On the pelvis parts of a little storage locker and two iron buckles were lying, in the area of the shoulder and the rib cage three trumpet-fibulas, and by the feet two spurs were located. The duke belongs then to the highest social status which governed in West Slovakia. He was about 170 cm high and 40 – 50 years old (Maturus I.). To the most treasurable objects a bronze kettle belonging. The kettle-handle with a figure of Mercurius-the god of the merchants was decorated. Together with the libation bowl (patera) they form a service. Also another pairs of vessels generate services: two bronze pans, a bronze strainer with a ladle, two glass-bowls and two pottery bowls. At one pan is a master-stamp of Cipius Polybius. This pan in Capua north of Italy between 40-85 AD was produced. To the latest finds the pottery-beaker and the libation bowl of the type Alikaria belonging. The last two finds it is possible to date to the 2 – 3rd quarter of the 2nd century. Already during the 1 – 2nd century at the Germans comes to the social differentiation. To the highest social rank belonging the kings and the dukes. The princely graves have been located separately or in little groups outside of the urn cemeteries. After older pieces of information the princely graves 3 – 5/1957 from Zohor could be located in the gravel-wall in one line. This place about 100 – 150 meter west from the border of the urn cemetery and about 30-50 meter from the princely grave from 2010 could be located. Inhabitants from several settlements were often buried at one bigger Germanic urn cemetery. In Zohor poor graves; rich female, male and children graves, so as warrior graves with complete equipment were excavated. In 2008 an object with a circular ditch was investigated. The object could be connected with the cemetery. In it silver parts belonging to three silver vessels, parts of horse-snafles, parts of a drinking-horn, jewels from bronze and silver with gold-foil in filigree-technique were found. To this object belonging two coins of Antoninus Pius (138 – 161 AD), this coins create the “terminus post quem”. The find brings evidence that the dynastic relations in milieu of the local noblemen continue after the Half of the 2nd century AD. In the scope of the “Lübsow-group” from “Germania Libera”, is the princely grave from 2010 the first complete excavated grave during archeological investigations. The excavations in Zohor will continue.
Out of gold and fire: Art in Slovakia at the end of the Middle Ages
The Slovak National Gallery, in cooperation with the Musée national du Moyen Age – Musée de Cluny, with the support of the Slovak Culture Ministry, Slovak Embassy in France and Slovak Institute in Paris, organised the exhibition Out of Gold and Fire: Art in Slovakia at the end of the Middle Ages at the Musée de Cluny – Musée national du Moyen Age, Paris, from September 16, 2010 to January 10, 2011. The exposition brought together more than sixty sculptures, paintings, illuminations and goldsmith’s works. These were loaned from a number of galleries, museums and archives in Slovakia, Hungary, Austria, Slovenia and France, as well as Slovak church institutions. The selection of artefacts reflected the most important period in the Slovak art history – from the mid 15th to the start of the 16th century, from a goldsmith of the Bratislava monstrance to Master Paul of Levoča.
The project was also accompanied by a relatively generous restoration programme of several collection items and church relics (ambo embossments from Kežmarok, before 1500; Bratislava Monstrance, circa 1450; Pacification Cross from Spišská Nová Ves, 1520; Suffering Christ from Prešov, around 1520; a two-sided panel with scenes of St. Johns from Košice, around 1520). The complex restoration of the main altar from the Church of St. Cross in Kežmarok, with the support of the parish and Slovak Culture Ministry, offered a unique presentation of the Crucifixion by Master Paul of Levoča (after 1510). During the preparation of the exhibition, the Crucifixion panel from St. Mary’s altar in Okoličné, which had been unavailable to the public for a long time, was also found. Despite the fact that the painting could not be presented in France, because of the condition of its wooden carrier, the Slovak National Gallery was able to buy it into its fund at the end of 2010 thanks to the thoughtfulness of its (then) owner and the goodwill of the Culture Minister. This was another way to keep a substantial part of the expenditure as a permanent contribution for Slovak culture.
The White Lady of Levoča
She betrayed her country for a kiss and sacrificed her head for the country
Two compartments of the Slovak National Museum, the Levoča and Betliar museums, prepared the exhibition about the White Lady of Levoča within their three-year research project, which was supported by the Slovak Culture Ministry. The exhibition was first opened at the end of November 2010 and can now be seen at the Krásna Hôrka Castle. The research, carried out by experts who prepared the exhibition, accompanying events and publication, focussed on the personality of the young noblewoman Juliana Korponay (around 1680 – September 25, 1714), alias the White Lady of Levoča. Her tragic fate, unfolded during the time of the Francis II Rákoczy estates uprisings at the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th century. This helped to create a legend that is being confronted with the historical truth at the exhibition.
Juliana Korponay and her husband, Capitan John Korponay, saw the last estates uprising taking place at the turn of 1709 – 1710. General Baron Stephen Andrássy was in command of the town at that time. Considering the prevalence of the Habsburg army units under the leadership of General Löffelholz, he feared for the town’s demolition and therefore, together with reeve Bartholomew Alaud, prepared the Levoča capitulation. Levoča back then was an important base for the insurgents of Upper Hungary. For her participation in the town capitulation, the historical literature, in line with the romanticizing novel by Hungarian writer Mór Jókai (1825 – 1904), described Juliana Korponay as a traitor. The fact is, that it was exceptional, that as a woman, Juliana Korponay was among the parliamentary group that submitted the conditions for the Levoča capitulation. Neither of the organisers of the exhibition succeeded in specifying the real role Juliana played during the capitulation. After the end of the uprising, she tried to regain back the property for her son and in doing so, she was suspected of political conspiracy, which led to her imprisonment and beheading. Today, the lawsuit with the death sentence would be qualified as a judicial murder, which was rarely performed on a woman in our history. Unknown historical records on Juliana Korponay’s share in Levoča capitulation and attractive motif of her love relationship with Baron Andrássy helped the novelist to create a legendary portrait of Juliana Korponay, as a treacherous woman. He named her the White Lady of Levoča in his novel, which was first issued in five volumes in 1886, under the original title A Lőcsei fehér asszony. Jókai’s wife, Rosalie Laborfalvy (1817 – 1886), illustrated it. Another edition of the novel, published in Bratislava in 1957, was illustrated by Jan Hála (1890 – 1959).
Industrial country? Medieval mining towns in the 16th – 18th century
The Slovak National Gallery introduced the exhibition-editorial project with the above title at the end of last year. It originated thanks to the successful acquisition politics of the gallery, which brought together a unique compilation of mainly Baroque items from Kremnica into its collections. At the same time, the project, with over two years of preparation, was also initiated thanks to the need for a new interpretation of results from the latest research. The chosen title – Industrial Country? – intentionally uses the phrase that usually implies a setting joined with technology, specific architecture and negative industrial impact on environment, dating mainly to the 19th and 20th century. The title in question, besides being used for the pre-industrial era in the central Slovak mining region of the 16th – 18th century, points to the difference in historical and current looks of this picturesque region, which used to be one of the most progressive industrial European centres in the mentioned period. Thanks to the considerable economic prosperity, the historical “industrial” country had created a specific culture in this mining, multi-national and multi-cultural environment. Its artistic monuments from the times of the central Slovak mining region expansion, during the Habsburg administration (from 1548 to 1800), were researched during the project.
The exhibition presented 157 sculptural, painting, graphical and goldsmith works from more than 20 domestic and foreign exhibitions. The exposition was divided into several parts: Picture of the Industrial Country (period maps, technical drawings, publications and textbooks of Banská Štiavnica Mining Academy, 1762), People in Background (customers and sponsors of art), Idea Reflection (construction plans by Johann Enzenhofer from the 1740s, sketches of Johann Lucas Kracker’s paintings, designs of triumphal arches used during the monarch’s visits in Banská Štiavnica and Kremnica in 1751 and 1764) and Aftermath of Baroque (period sculptures, apart from Staneti).
The exhibition was accompanied with a near 200-page publication, with expert studies on selected artistic problems of the central Slovak mining towns and traditional catalogue of the exhibited works. Also part of the exhibition was an accompanying programme, which included, for example, the Baroque opera Coronide, literature readings and international cycle of lectures.
Irena Pišútová: Glass paintings
The Centre for Folk Art Production (ÚĽUV) in Bratislava began to publish books in the 1950s. The ÚĽUV Series, which originated in 1957 in Martin, in cooperation with the Osveta publishers, included the books Slovak Folk Textiles and Contemporary Modra Figure Painters, which now form the basis of ethnographic literature. Unfortunately, the series was cancelled due to the publishers’ reorganisation. Even though, ÚĽUV did not publish any new books in the following period, its professional workers had interesting books printed in other publishing houses (e.g. Slovak Laces, Dictionary of Textile Techniques, Slovak Folk Embroidery – Techniques and Ornamentation). Nevertheless, between the 1950s and 1970s, ÚĽUV still managed to issue 28 smaller publications – booklets. The connecting link between the past and present publishing activity was the ÚĽUV book, issued in 1995 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the organisation’s origin.
With the series Tradition Today, ÚĽUV started a new phase of book publishing, which saw six books being published by 2010. An exceptional one is the book Glass Paintings by Irena Pišútová (2010, 392 pages, accompanying English resume, graphic design by Jana Sapáková). Irena Pišútová is a top specialist in Slovak folk glass painting. Between 1957 and 1991, she worked as a curator of the folk art collections at the Slovak National Museum-Historical Museum in Bratislava.
The book summarises the knowledge the author acquired on the theme in her specialised work. Its structure considers the regional, confessional and thematic typology of Slovak glass paintings. The book also includes the latest findings and information that have not yet been published.
Cultural beauties of Slovakia
Interview with Daniel Kollár, geographer, traveller, director of DAJAMA publishing house, editor of Krásy Slovenska (Beauties of Slovakia) magazine, and president of the Association of Slovak Publishers and Booksellers
The DAJAMA publishing house appeared on the Slovak book market in 1996, with the intention to systematically promote Slovakia and its regions. The first book, The Slovak-Austrian Moravaland (in Slovak and German), was published within the series Regions without Frontiers. A new series, Visiting Slovakia originated in 1999 and has gradually introduced regions of Orava, Liptov, Spiš, Tatry, Gemer and Turiec, as well as chosen Slovak towns, in several languages. With the series Knapsacked Travel in Slovakia, which has published 17 books since 2001, the publishing house filled in the gap of missing travel guidebooks for hikers.
Another series, Towns on Old Postcards, has helped to uncover the forgotten beauty of Slovak towns. After the successful publications of Trenčín, Levice, Nitra, Trnava and the High Tatras, the publishers prepared 10 new titles. In 2009, the publishing house started a new series, Flying over Slovakia. The book, Castles, was the first in this series. At the end of 2010, DAJAMA also started to publish cartographic works, first publications included the Atlas of Cultural Attractions and Atlas of Natural Attractions. A very successful publication of 2010 was Records of Slovakia – a large pictorial book gathering unique rarities of Slovak nature and society.
The series Cultural Beauties of Slovakia received the annual prize of the Monuments and Museums magazine for 2010 in the category of Publications. Together with the series Natural Beauties of Slovakia, it was to follow the publication of the magazine Beauties of Slovakia, which has been run by the DAJAMA publishers since 2004. The cultural heritage of Slovakia has been described in 14 books published in Slovak and English. Nine books in Slovak and two in the English language, portray the country’s natural heritage.
Over its 15 years of existence, DAJAMA have published more than 200 books about Slovakia. The future plans of the publishers count on the continuing publication of the current series, as well as the preparation of a large book Talks about Slovakia with 25 leading personalities of Slovak culture, and the development of electronic versions of the books and magazine Beauties of Slovakia.
Orthodox synagogue in Trnava
Trnava, as one of a few Slovak towns, has two preserved synagogues from the end of the 19th century. They are situated in the eastern part of the town’s monument reservation. The synagogues are only some 40 metres apart from each other in a straight line and both are registered as national cultural monuments. The larger synagogue situated further north, status quo ante, can be entered from Halenárska Street, and from the 1990s has worked as a functional part of Ján Koniarek Gallery. Southeast from there is the orthodox synagogue, which is accessible from Haulíkova Street and is in private ownership. Regarding its size, the Trnava citizens call it the Small Synagogue.
With the rise of fascism in 1939 the violent liquidation of the Jewish community began. The continuity of the community’s functioning was aborted and after the Second World War, the synagogue only operated for a short time. It ceased to serve its original function at the beginning of the 1950s and since then was mainly used as a storage room. By the beginning of the 1990s, the Jewish community restored the synagogue and consequently sold it into a private ownership.
The construction of a rectangular ground plan, with a three-nave hall and side galleries in the interior supported with cast-iron columns, most probably originated at the turn of the 1880s and 1890s. It traditionally faces an east-west direction and has a small quadratic niche with elevated sanctuary, where the Torah scrolls used to be stored, which completes the east side.
Despite the long-lasting destruction, the building did not suffer any static damage and no additional utilitarian construction adjustments interfered with the building’s spatial design. A large part of the original interior equipment and art-craft elements vanished, the only preserved elements came from the historicism period.
The current owner started the preparation work on the overall renovation of the synagogue in 2007. The largest emphasis was put on the detail inventory control of the period styles. The investor intended to create a residence for his own company, as well as a representative social place. Regarding the preservation of the monument fund, they followed the principle of preserving as much of the authentic space as possible by conserving the preserved period elements without reconstructing their copies. After the renovation was finished, the building’s function changed. Today, the synagogue houses the Max Gallery, and after decades, it is thus finally reopened to the public.
Renovation of an old cemetery with traditional folk headstones in Horný Tisovník
The richly decorated and interestingly shaped stone and wooden headstones of the Evangelists of the Augsburg confession at the Novohrad cemeteries originated between 1870 and 1930. They are the most integrated example of the traditional creativity and artistic expression of this region preserved in situ. They are situated in Horný and Dolný Tisovník, Červeňany, Šuľa, Senné, Ábelová, Polichno, Madačka, Nedelište, Veľký Lom, Suché Brezovo, and the no longer existing villages of Turie Pole and Lešť. The shapes of the headstones made of soft types of rock – tuff and sandstone, are sometimes interpreted as a stylisation of a human figure, but at the same time, they can be viewed as little altars dedicated to a specific deceased person as some of their parts resemble the renaissance altars of the Evangelical churches in this part of the Novohrad region. They are frequently decorated with star, solar and lunar motifs, as well as symmetrically portrayed flowers. The zoomorphic motifs include the stylised images of beetles and birds. Anthropomorphic motifs portraying the deceased person are also worth of mention. A typical Novohrad theme is the illustration of a clock-face with hands, which records the exact time of death. Clock without hands symbolises eternity. The ornaments are often treated with polychrome, mainly using white, blue, red and black colours. Also remarkable on the headstones, is the inscription of the region’s unique folk poetry (see Monuments and Museums, No 4/2007, pg. 24 – 27).
The annual award of the Monuments and Museums revue for 2010 in the category of Renovation, went to the preservation of the old cemetery in Horný Tisovník (district of Detva) and its transformation into an open-air Exposition of Traditional Folk Headstone Ornaments in Novohrad, which was achieved thanks to the author of this article and with the support of the Horný Tisovník municipality, evangelical church choir of Horný Tisovník and Banská Bystrica self-governing region.
Northern portal of St. Elisabeth Cathedral in Košice
The reconstruction of the late-Gothic parish church, later the St. Elisabeth Cathedral in Košice, east Slovakia, began, after a large fire, at the end of the 14th century. The church is perhaps the most significant and artistically, the richest medieval monument in the country. In the third quarter of the 15th century, the original concept of the central cross and longitudinal basilica-like sacral construction, with pairs of diagonal chapels in side naves, was capped with an addition of an elongated polygonal sanctuary, designed to be a majestic structure of the monumental wing altar.
The Košice cathedral, as a significant monument of Central Europe’s late-Gothic architecture, also features in its details, that time’s new developmental trends of sacral architecture, mainly in the re-modelled northern portal. The builders, including masters from various countries of Central Europe, brought in the most significant late-Gothic artistic styles from southern Germany, the Danube region, Czech Republic and Silesia, and also influenced the art development in Transylvania and Little Poland region. The Košice cathedral, situated in the heart of the town, on a large lenticular square, is an authentic Gothic architecture of a remote French origin despite the re-Gothicism of the interior from the end of the 19th century: it has a pretentious (though incomplete) compact western façade with three portals in individual naves and a circlet of polygonal chapels with a protruding polygonal presbytery in the eastern part.
The idea of the classic Gothic style is mainly developed in the grandiose, sculptural execution of the northern double portal, directed at the upper part of the square, where the medieval town hall used to stand. Its celebratory character is highlighted with rich figural decorations depicting the themes of the Last Judgement, Crucifixion and Saint Elisabeth’s life, and with almost fine filigree masonry ornamentation.
The northern portal of the St. Elisabeth Cathedral underwent a complex restoration research in 2007 – 2008. The restoration works that followed lasted until the spring of 2011. Despite the previous restoration of 1970 – 1974, it was left in a state of disrepair and only a rapid and quality restoration intervention could prevent it from permanent damage. The restoration of the northern portal, carried out in situ by Jozef Porubovič and Vladimír Višváder, has preserved most of its authenticity and helped conserve the original stone figural and architectural decoration, along with the replenishment of damaged and stolen items.
The 12th Slovak show of historical railway vehicles took place at the locomotive depot Bratislava-East (also known as the old depot – Rendez) on June 19 and 20, 2010. The event was organised by the Railways of the Slovak Republic, Railway Company Cargo Slovakia a.s., Railway Company Slovakia a.s.., Slovak Technical Museum-Transport Museum in Bratislava, Bratislava Transport Company a.s., Club of the Railway Nostalgia Bratislava-East and Club of Friends of the Railway Transport History Bratislava-East, in cooperation with other Slovak clubs of historical railway vehicles from Bratislava, Púchov, Vrútky, Zvolen, Poprad and Haniska near Košice, and clubs of railway modellers.
Six functional steam engines were present at the event – engines 331.037 (1908), 486.007 (1936), 477.013 (1951) and 498.104 (1954) came from Slovakia, and engines 30.33 (1897) and 109.13 (1912) from Austria. Apart from steam engines, the event also displayed 11 motor engines from Slovakia, Czech Republic and Hungary.
The programme started on the Saturday morning of June 19 with the display of “small railways” – model tracks, a garden railway and a railway in 1:8 scale with a functional steam engine of the 310.0 series. Before the presentation started, a special train, consisting of three motor carriages of the M131.1 series and two trailer carriages brought the visitors in from the Bratislava Petržalka station. Then, the working historical engines came on display, which was the loudest attraction of the event. This included the battle demonstration of the armoured train Štefánik from the Second World War.
On Sunday, a special train from Trnava arrived before the presentation, which consisted of the M 262.007 motor carriage, Balm trailer carriage and M 274.004 motor carriage. Apart from these two trains, other motor trains carried the visitors from Bratislava main station and back during the two days. Those interested could also ride passenger track motor cars Tatra/STW and Warszawa, as well as Tatra T 14/52 motor car. Also interesting, was the display of a steam roller. The two days also offered two rides on steam trains, which were followed by a fire train with several railway trucks for safety reasons.
Documentary film about Slovak cultural heritage by Juraj Kilián
The rewarded documentary, Cultural Heritage in Slovakia: Smithery, continues in the series of documentaries mapping the renovation of historical monuments and traditional crafts. The project started in 2009 with the film about a carpenter’s work, which related to the renovation of Uhrovec castle. It was initiated and financed by the Foundation for Cultural Heritage Preservation in cooperation with Academia Istropolitana Nova.
Traditional crafts gradually die away as industrial production is edging them out. In doing so, the correct restoration of historical monuments, however, is incompatible with welded industrial semi-products. Disappearance of traditional crafts means the gradual extinction of historical monuments in the state they have been preserved in, up today. The film focuses on renovation of historical forged items, or production of their replicas.
The filming was done during 2010 in ten blacksmith’s shops, where leading Slovak blacksmiths demonstrated traditional forging, commented on the present situation of smithery and its connection with the renovation of historical monuments in Slovakia.
Director Juraj Kilián studied the media theory in Vienna and film with animation at the Academy of Fine Arts in Leipzig. He returned to Slovakia in 2009 and founded the film production company Panopticumfilm. He is working on a documentary about Lietava castle, the premiere of which is planned for October 2011.
Mária Petrovičová – Jozef Petrovič
Emblems of the Bardejov burghers
The bourgeois emblems are a specific phenomenon of current historical research in the fields of heraldry, sphragistics and related disciplines. They are printed on seals of personal entities and preserved in house portals, architectural monuments, epitaphs and signet rings. In the case of Bardejov, the first bourgeois emblems appeared in the 15th century and the number of their images points to the fact that in the past, they used to be a dynamic and widespread part of a burgher’s everyday life.
The bourgeois emblems can be researched from various aspects. From the heraldic and sphragistics point, it is the analysis of the used symbols and signs that is of main interest, as well as their positioning in pinnacles and their relationship with that time of heraldic work. It is obvious that initially simple symbols (cross, star, Mercury stick), sometimes also referring to the burgher’s occupation, were gradually enriched with heraldic motifs and symbols and by placing them in pinnacles they began to resemble aristocratic coats-of-arms. They not only helped to identify the emblems’ users, but also became the means of expressing their membership to a town’s higher class and their bourgeois social status.
In terms of their function, the preserved bourgeois emblems illustrate several aspects of burghers’ lives, the changes in their lives and mentality of Bardejov burghers.
Written evidence from the 15th century, preserved in Bardejov archives, mentions the use of burgher’s emblems mainly in trade. An example of a merchant’s emblem is the Bardejov town council’s confirmation from 1464 about the sale of a wool cloth, or the letter of a tax collector from 1487, both indicating the significance of merchant’s emblems in transit trade.
Another field, where the burgher’s emblems were widely used is the official and private correspondence of their owners. Seals with burgher’s emblems can be often found on documents regarding various financial transactions or testaments, where they had an important verification function.
In the 16th century, the bourgeois emblems also started to have a decorative and representative function as a part of architecture, mainly on portals and facades of the burgher’s houses. Unfortunately, only a few have been preserved in Bardejov up to today. Lots of emblems and coats-of-arms, though, can be found on the town’s two architectural dominants – the town hall and St. Egidius Church.
Restoration of Bardejov town fortification
Town fortification in Bardejov is one of the best-preserved fortifications in Slovakia, and together with the Basilica of St. Egidius and Town Hall, it is one of the most authentic monuments in the world cultural heritage UNESCO.
The town defence system was built in the middle of the 14th century, as part of urban development, when the market settlement changed into a town. King Luis I gave an order to enclose the town of Bardejov with an enhanced wall and towers in 1352. The document from 1376 records a fortified town. By the end of 1376, or let us say by the end of the 14th century, the wall was built around the whole town along with three town gates (southern, lower and western) that most probably had extensions. The town was most vulnerable from the south and west. The Topľa river, on which the wall, strengthened with millrace, was built, protected it from the northern side. It is assumed that bastions, predecessors of today’s Thick and School bastions, as well as the extinct bastion on north-western corner recently revealed by an archaeological research, used to exist on twists and corners of the walls.
The wall moat was probably filled with water at the beginning of the 15th century, new bastions and walkways were added between 1420 and 1474, and a forward fortification – parkan wall – was built on the northern side. The barbican on the Upper Gate was built in 1546 and 1647.
Overall, the written evidence records 23 bastions.
After the Turks were defeated near Vienna in 1683, the significance of fortifications began to fade. In the last third of the 18th century, the wall moats were gradually refilled and cut into gardens and orchards. The bastions started to be used for living and household services. The town gates were gradually demolished in the 19th century (the Upper Gate was fully dismantled in 1843).
The renovation of the town fortification started in the 1950s. The Monuments Board of Bratislava carried out an archaeological research there in the 1990s, which brought more light into the context of the wall system. This resulted in the project Renovation of the Town Fortification that was included in Bardejov town’s infrastructure in 2006 and rendered the complex a new meaning not only with the presentation of the wall as a fortified entity, but also with creating new functions for individual bastions and moats so that they become part of life of the town citizens and its visitors.
Levoča photo studios
By the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, the local Spiš History Association founded in 1883 and its museum, which later separated and became known as the Spiš Museum in Levoča, became interested in collecting photography. The fund of photographs of the Slovak National Museum-Spiš Museum in Levoča is organised, based on their identification accession numbers as well as their individual photo studios, from the period 1868 to 1979.
Of the 12 photo studios that have already been researched, the collection of photographs from the Béla Foltényi studio is one of the oldest ones. Foltényi started his work in Levoča in 1868 – 1870. The extensive fund of photographs and glass panels belong to Ludmila Czéhula (1887 – 1898), one of the first female photographers. Karol Divald (1882 – 1890) was a renowned Levoča photographer and his studio had branches also in Kežmarok, Gelnica and Spišská Nová Ves. The photo studio of his student, Gustav Matz (1890 – 1910) was one of the most famous in Slovakia at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. Gustav Matz bought the photo studio of Karol Divald in Spišská Nová Ves in 1890 and turned it into a well-equipped photo and paint workshop.
Also worth of mention was the Helios Studio of Adolf Žakowski (1896 – 1900), which was functioning in Levoča at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. Samuel Rosenbach from Budapest acquired it in 1902. The museum’s collection fund also contains a few photographs of Karol Alkier and Bartolomej Kemény (1921 – 1928). High in number and variety, are the photographs from the studio of Eugen Kopasz (1921 – 1932) and Jozef Murín (aka Capi) from 1939 – 1951. The activity of photographer Ján Janščák and his photo studio in 1969 – 1979 caps the over century-long tradition of Levoča photo studios. Several photo studios still await to be researched – including Armin Holbein, Karol Friedery, Margita Mrázová and Tizian photo studios.
School wall panels at the Museum of Education and Pedagogy
School wall pictures or educational panels are among the oldest graphical teaching aids. In the last century, they were often used during lessons, while today, they are increasingly replaced with modern media. Generally, we talk of a reproduced artwork, the contents of which followed the school’s didactical regulations. Therefore, the wall panels were often created by renowned artists in cooperation with professional advisors and pedagogues. Among the more famous were Martin Benka (1888 – 1974), Vincent Hložník (1919 – 1997), Ľudovít Ilečko (1910 – 2009) and Zdeněk Burian (1905 – 1981). Technically, the wall panels were to be sufficiently big and clear, so one could also observe them from a larger distance. The famous publishers of school wall panels in Slovakia included the Štehra Bookstore in Prešov in the 1920s and 1930s, and later the Teaching Aids enterprise in Banská Bystrica.
The Museum of Education and Pedagogy in Bratislava owns 1,650 school wall panels (some are represented several times in the collection, others are reproduced in different editions). The oldest ones arise from the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. A large number of panels originated during the times of the Czechoslovak Republic and in the 1950s. The latest ones come from the 1980s. Most of the panels have dimensions of 60 cm by 90 cm; the largest one is 196 cm by 82 cm and the smallest 32 cm by 41,5 cm. All but 73 pieces are coloured. The panels are made of paper or cardboard, and some drawings are mounted on canvas. The bars for hanging are made of wood. When talking of art techniques, the majority of the panels are drawings, some are oil paintings on canvas or cardboard, and a few are reproduced photographs. The museum’s collection fund also contains a group of wall panels used for teaching specialised subjects at secondary vocational schools, mainly medical, agricultural, food-processing and technical establishments.
Example of the medieval urbanism in Kežmarok
The article illustrates the medieval urbanism development in Kežmarok on the example of the House No. 96 at the Main Square.
The historical core of the town monument reservation in Kežmarok, which is part of the Gothic Route that attracts tourists to Spiš, has undergone a complicated construction-historical development since the early Middle Ages. Older elements from an early and developed Gothic style, i.e. from the second half of the 13th century to the 15th century, can be still identified in today’s ground plans and building constructions, that have been forming a regular street network since the end of the 15th century.
The burgher’s house No. 96 at the Main Square stands in the built-up area lining the eastern side of the square. Despite no archaeological research ever taking place there, the qualified visual inspection and analysis of its constructions made it possible to express a reliable hypothesis about its origin and constructional development.
The storeyed triaxial house has a rectangular ground plan with a vaulted passage and a storeyed courtyard wing. The back vertical wing, which completed the eastern part of the long narrow site, was demolished in the third quarter of the 20th century. The irregularities in architecture, vault systems, application of materials and varying thickness of masonry made it possible to locate the oldest core of the building in the back of the dominating building, in the form of a square tower-like construction with preserved stone masonry in the basement. The building’s Gothic core could be dated to the 14th century.
The Renaissance of the 16th century enlarged the building’s ground plan towards the south and west. The Baroque reconstruction in the second third of the 18th century, added cross vaults to residential rooms. The Romantic reconstruction of the house No. 96, carried out in 1897 – 1898, in historicist period styles using Neo-Renaissance elements, had completely changed the building’s character. The burgher’s house was extended, a piano nobile was built upstairs and the ground floor, which continued to serve its household function, was kept in the Renaissance and Baroque style.