MONUMENTS AND MUSEUMS – MAGAZINE’S ANNUAL AWARDS FOR 2011
CATEGORY DISCOVERY – FINDING
Medieval wall painting in Sádok
The recent architectural-historical, artistic-historical and restoration research, carried out between 2006 and 2011 in the Church of Virgin Mary the Queen of Angels in Klátova Nová Ves – the locality of Sádok (Partizánske district), uncovered important information on identifying and dating of the historical wall paintings. It also created assumptions for renovation and restoration of this sacral building. The new findings amended the previous opinions on the time of origin and look of the church. They moved the dating of the primary sacral construction to the 12th century, at the very latest, and it is possible that it could be even older. The original Romanesque single-nave church with a right-angled sanctuary received an extension to the west with a brick gallery and tower around the middle of the 13th century. The building was again extended in the second half of the 13th century by another southern nave with a semi-cylindrical apse, which probably served as a private chapel. The Romanesque quadratic sanctuary was enlarged around 1300 and by joining the original nave with the southern extension, they created an integrated room finished with a double closure. This early-gothic reconstruction changed the look and layout of the building. The interior was painted with frescos. The following, late-gothic modification of the interior covered the early-gothic frescos with new paintings. The last extensive modification that changed the look of the church was the renaissance reconstruction from the end of the 16th century. This alteration included the robust tower built on the west, which was later capped with a masonry pinnacle roof. The modern changes concerned less conspicuous interventions in the church exterior as well as the interior, and several of them were destructive. The deteriorating condition of the church could be fully seen at the end of the 20th century, when the masonry of the gothic sacristy and sanctuary was statically damaged. This was the last warning sign, signalling the acute need for renovation and preservation of the assumed medieval wall paintings, which were revealed during a probing research in the 1960s. The latest restoration research in the sanctuary identified three Romanesque coating layers preserved in fragments on the northern wall. These could relate to the painting of the southern extension of the nave and apse from the second half of the 13th century. The dominant painting decoration of the sanctuary, however, is the early-gothic fresco painting from around 1300, preserved on the vault of the eastern and southern walls. The renaissance painting of the church from the second half of the 16th century is ornamental, with prevailing geometrical stylised elements. The question of restoration, perhaps even of new findings, and mainly of iconographic interpretation of the medieval wall paintings in the Roman-Catholic Church of Virgin Mary the Queen of Angels in Sádok remains open for further exploration.
The tram that used to run between Bratislava and Vienna, the so-called Vienna tram, ceased operating in April 1945, but the legendary connection of the two places in the former Austro-Hungarian monarchy has enjoyed a great popularity up to this day. All the more pleased were the Bratislavans, with last year’s rescue of the unique GANZ Eg 6 engine that used to run in the streets of old Pressburg, (now Bratislava) in the first half of the 20th century.
The idea to join Vienna and Pressburg with an electric railway along the right side of the Danube River originated in the mind of Josef Tauber in 1898. Back then, the two cities were already connected with a steam railway, which was built in 1848 and ran through Devínska Nová Ves and Marchegg. The Austrians as well as the Hungarians obstructed the approval of building the electric track. This, eventually, led to the establishment of the company Pozsony Országhatárszéli Helyiérdekü Villámos Vasút (Local Electric Railway Bratislava – Country Border, aka P.O.H.É.V.) in Budapest in 1909. The licence for building the track on the Austrian land was granted in 1912. The construction faced several problems. For instance, after the opening of the Bridge of Franz Joseph I (todays´Old Bridge) in Bratislava in 1891, the regulations for railway service changed and the weight capacity of the bridge had therefore to be enforced. Based on the calculations by the GANZ company performed at the place in 1910, a new type of electric locomotive using direct-current voltage was proposed. Two engines, named Eg 5 and Eg 6, were manufactured in 1913. It was a compromise between the railway and tram services. The engines were equipped with a pantograph and side current collector, which collected the current from the third track and used it for relaying and exchanging of engines in the Kopčany depot at different voltages. The support frames of the carriages, designed by the GANZ company, were made by Ringhoffer Prague.
The track of the Vienna tram had three parts: Vienna’s city market – Gross Schwechat (12.5 km), Gross Schwechat – Kopčany (also Kӧpcsény/Kittsee) at the edge of today’s Bratislava part of Petržalka (50.5 km), Kopčany – Coronation Hill Square in the centre of Pressburg (6.86 km). The track was ceremoniously opened on February 1, 1914. It also carried long-distance, local and freight traffic. The entire track was under Austrian regulations and the engines were labelled according to Hungarian rules.
The Vienna tram enjoyed its popularity until the end of the First World War. During the first year of its service, it transported over three million passengers. Generations of Bratislavans still remember the stories of their ancestors who used to go for a coffee, as well as the theatre or to football to Vienna. It was only a short distance and the journey used to take some two hours and fifteen minutes. After the First World War, the tram was back in service in the spring of 1920. The renaissance of the transportation on the track took place at the end of the 1920s and beginning of the 1930s. However, after Petržalka became part of the German Reich (Munich Treaty), the service from the Bratislava centre through the Danube River was cancelled. During the retreat of German armies from Bratislava, the Old Bridge was blown up and the transport from Petržalka definitively terminated.
Museum of Ladislav Mattyasovszký in Okoličné
The establishment of museums of a communal, town or municipal importance in Slovakia has, for the last 20 years, been supported with various forms of funding for renovation and preservation of cultural heritage, which comes from the home country, as well as the European Union. Naturally, many projects do not fulfill the professional standards of the collection fund’s administration. However, less and less established museums and galleries, even at the highest level, also find it difficult to meet the standards, since the problems of the Slovak monument and museum care have not been tackled for a long time. The story of the rewarded parish museum in Okoličné thus appears as a small miracle in this context.
The importance of the locality of Okoličné, today a town part of Liptovský Mikuláš, can already be seen on the artistic-historical map of Slovakia (Hungarian kingdom, or at least Central Europe). Thanks to the older generation of Slovak as well as Hungarian experts, the high quality of the panel paintings and sculptures on the former main altar of the Virgin Mary by Master Paul of Levoča did not escape notice. This same interest also helped to preserve the individual parts of the altar dismantled in the 18th century, but at the same time, distributed them into several public and private collections held in Slovakia, Hungary and Poland. Only fragments of one panel and the sculpture of two female saints, who were part of the four-member figural accompaniment of the altar’s main case in the centre of which stood the Madonna sculpture, were left at the vicarage in Okoličné. The architecture of the late-gothic monastery church of the Franciscan Observants, with medieval movables, built and financed by King Matthias Corvinus, became the centre of interest during the restoration at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century.
Nitra bishop, Ladislav Mattyasovszký, who helped to return the Franciscans to Okoličné in 1697, was the leading personality in the history of the monastery and vicarage. The newly established museum is named after him and sits in one of the wings of the former covered corridor that encircled the medieval monastery. Restorer Juraj Maták and architect Július Rybák are behind the sensible and above all modern architectural arrangement of the exposition, including the analytical presentation of the late-medieval portal finding. The former main gothic altar dominates the set up of the exhibits. Next to the sculptures of St. Barbara and St. Catherine, as well as the fragment of Annunciation, the individual panels present the documentation and reconstruction of the altar cycle with a brief art-historical analysis. Also on display are several baroque goldsmith’s works – a monstrance from the 18th century, accompanied with a container, cross (pacifikál) and three chalices (17th – 19th century), old prints, and the documentation of the church construction (including the remarkable phase of the early monument reconstruction with the analysis of Viktor Myszkovský from the end of the 19th century). At the end of the exposition, the visitor finds information about the so-called Sacral Route of Central Moravia and Liptov Region.
New Slovakia – motivation for new synthesis?
The largest, and based on the public interest, also the most successful project of the Slovak National Gallery in 2011, was the exhibition New Slovakia, subtitled The (Difficult) Birth of a Modern Lifestyle (1918 – 1949), which appealed to the experts as well as cultural laymen. The exhibition ran from June 30, 2011 until January 15, 2012, on two floors of the Esterházy Palace in Bratislava. It was accompanied with a quality catalogue and elaborate dramaturgy of specialist as well as popularised events – film screenings, guided tours through the exhibition, round tables, as well as literary and musical evenings. The author of the exhibition’s concept and editor of the catalogue was Aurel Hrabušický, the gallery’s long-term employee. Art historians of the gallery, Katarína Bajcurová, Petra Hanáková and Dagmar Poláčková, joined him to organise the exhibition. Apart from the mass visit rate, manifesting the public’s exceptional interest, the exhibition was also reflected in several reviews, publicist contributions and discussions of leading experts, such as historians and ethnologists. The editorial of the Monuments and Museums magazine prepared a selection of media reviews on this project awarded for 2011 in the Exhibition category (see also the exhibition review by Gábor Husheghyi, Monuments and Museums, No. 4/2011, pg. 54 – 55).
Architect Emil Belluš
Following the monograph of Architect Dušan Samuel Jurkovič by Dana Bořutová in 2009, the Slovart Publishers in Bratislava issued another excellent publication in 2011 about the life and work of Slovak architect Emil Belluš (1899 – 1979), long researched by Professor Matúš Dulla. The monograph tries to pay back the debt owed to Emil Belluš, the founder of modern architecture, architectural education and the science of architecture in Slovakia.
The author of the publication, Matúš Dulla, had regularly studied the work of Belluš in the past, in his subjective scientific-exploratory and publication activities, either in the contexts of Slovak architectural works or in the stylish levels of the Central-European modern movement. In the course of the last decades, several studies, catalogues and essays, with new as well as less relevant information were published about the theoretical, architectural and artistic work of E. Belluš, which repeatedly asked for a more synthetic processing and up-to-date interpretation. From Dulla’s reflections on the Slovak architectural modern style, as well as his individual or collective summaries of the history of Slovak architecture in the 20th century, it is obvious that the impulse for writing the monograph was an attempt to classify, interpret and in some cases objectively clarify several less known places in Belluš life and work based on yet unprocessed archival sources. Matúš Dulla wanted to clarify the obscurities and polyvalences in the theories on Belluš’ life approaches, social contexts and architectural as well as other creative endeavours.
The Belluš memoirs primarily gave him the impulse for creating the book’s concept. The exact and pragmatic author then inspiringly divaricated the number of facts and based their reasoning with sources, including new pictorial, mainly photographic documentation. The book inclines towards the facto-graphical and document-graphical genre, creating thus a new space for contemplating the Belluš architecture, and at the same time forms a clear platform for further study and explication of the work of Emil Belluš and his era.
CATEGORY: SMALL PUBLICATION
Daniel Hupko – Ivana Janáčková – Jozef Tihányi
The story of the book about the Pálffys
The book End of the Old Times: The Last Pálffys at the Červený Kameň Castle 1848 – 1948 is one of a few in Slovakia that illustrate the life of aristocratic society between 1848 and 1948, based on a rich pictorial material of three generations of the Pálffys, whose lives were linked with the castle and former estate at Červený Kameň. The publication narrates the fates of the Pálffys as if through their own eyes, by using the authentic items that belonged to them in the past. The pictorial material in the book is exceedingly rich and multiplex. The historical photographs and documents, photographs of personal items, rooms and objects, as well as people’s portraits are accompanied with short or long texts.
The book is not a definitive work on the Pálffy family in the mentioned period. Its desire is to introduce items from the funds of museums and archives that are yet unknown, and together with the current knowledge it tries to initiate further interest in the Pálffy family and their place in our history. The book is the result of analysing a large part of collection fund in the Slovak National Museum – Červený Kameň Museum and other institutions. Its authors, the employees of the museum, tried to use a collection item as a source testifying to the period of its origin and bring it on par with archival documents, which are still considered the fundamental and irreplaceable sources of information about the past. The discovery of the photography heritage of the Stillfried baron family was also of essential significance for the book origin. It contained private family and studio photographs of the Červený Kameň Pálffys in the Vizovice manor house in Moravia, which is administered by the Czech National Monuments Board, the regional specialty department in Kroměríž.
The book is the result of a five-year systematic research in Slovak and Moravian archival funds and museum collections. It is the proof that a collection item can be used as a fully valued historical source, which tells more about its owner than we had been willing to admit. The museum workers are the ones responsible for the collections and the way they treat them.
Former Jesuit church in Skalica
The Baroque Church of St Francis Xavier in Skalica is a national cultural monument. It is a basilica-like longitudinal single-nave with a double tower of the Il Gesu type. It is located in the centre of the Skalica Monument Zone and as part of the former Jesuit college complex, today’s Grammar School of F. V. Sasinek, it is one of the houses in the northern built-up area. Despite the fragmentariness of the original inner equipment, the building has kept the period-style expression of the exterior as well as interior and architectural values of the preserved spatial layout from the 18th century. Like many other sacral monastic buildings, the Skalica church had also undergone quite significant changes in its usage as well as ownership as a result of the Joseph II reforms.
The Jesuits had laid the foundation stone in 1693. The following Rákoczy uprising and the plague epidemic, however, delayed the construction for quite a long time. The church was finally built in 1714 –1724. The interior was equipped with baroque movables, but the walls and the vault remained monochromatic, with no artistic decoration. An interesting fact is that the Empress Maria Theresa attended a mass during her visit of Skalica in 1756. The Jesuits, however, did not use the church for long. After the order was abolished in 1773, the church went into the hands of the Paulini order in Skalica, where it was until 1786, and then later, by the end of the 18th century, it became a grammar school’s church. Like other buildings in the country during the Napoleonic wars, the Skalica Jesuit Church was also used as a shelter for disabled soldiers.
After World War One, the church is documented as deteriorated. After World War Two, the space was used for utility purposes, mainly as storage. The town of Skalica became the church’s owner in 1954 and after almost one hundred years, it revived the grandiose intention of adapting the building for cultural-societal purposes, which was already planned in the 1920s. After a long preparation, the overall renovation of the church interior and exterior started in 2010. It was primarily financed from the European funds. The new cultural-societal centre of Skalica was ceremoniously opened in November 2011.
The renovation aimed to preserve the authentic features and overall baroque appearance of the church. The restoration works were divided into two categories: the renovation of the stone segments and stucco features (carried out by Pavol Čambál) and the renovation of wooden elements (Milan Flajžík). A new addition to the movables was the organ – a historical romantic instrument bought in for concert performances from Sheffield in England.
Rebirth of locomotive 555.3008
The German locomotive 555.3008 was constructed by adapting an older type for use during war. The aim was to develop a reliable engine of easy maintenance and to lower the consumption of scarce non-ferrous metals. In post-war Europe, these easy-to-use engines could have been seen practically anywhere. The Czechoslovak Railways (ČSD) used to run 185 locomotives under the serial number 555.0. This amount increased in 1962 and 1963, when an additional set of 100 trophy engines was sent from the Soviet Union.
Even though, the engines’ long durability was not on the designers’ list, some of the locomotives of the 52 DR series lasted for numerous years and many were reconstructed. The adaptation of the engine to use mazut, a heavy fuel oil, became characteristic for Czechoslovakia and this engine was called “mazutka”. With the increase in oil prices and the change of the tractions for electrical ones, these locomotives stopped working at the end of the 1960s and beginning of the 1970s.
A group of enthusiasts, calling for the preservation of selected steam engines in museums, came together in Bratislava at the end of the 1970s and “mazutky” were at the centre of their attention. The last engines of this series stopped running in Bratislava in 1973 and two of them, 555.3008 and 555.3254, were preserved as spare steam engines. After a complicated property transfer, the engines were moved to the current Railway Museum and Documentation Centre. In 1999, the Bratislava Club of Friends of Historical Railway began to think about refurbishing the “mazutka”. Even though, the two preserved engines provided sufficient components for a complete assembling of at least one of them, their condition after 30 years of storage was catastrophic. The critical issue was the complete dismantling of the steam engine. Damages beyond repair were detected, and what could be restored to it’s original condition was gradually repaired – the bottom of the engine (finished in 2005), steam boiler (reconstructed in the Repair Shop of Rail Vehicles in Martin) and tank, the bottom part of which was eventually newly made and put back in at the beginning of 2007. The oil canister was successfully inserted in the tank in the spring of 2008. In November 2009, after ten years of works, the repaired engine boiler was finally cast into the framework. The finishing works took place during the following year and a half. They included the assembly of the repaired armature and steam distribution pipes, as well as lining of the ash pit and fireplace. The ignition of a not yet fully assembled engine was tested at the beginning of 2011 and the fire flared up in its furnace again on April 1, 2011. The completed locomotive 555.3008 was first introduced to the public on December 3, 2011.
Ján Sikoriak – Jozef Lenhart
Graphic study of Jeszenák manor house
The reconstructed graphic study in the former baroque aristocratic country-mansion of the Jeszenák family (see article by J. Lenhart, Tomášov Manor House, Monuments and Museums, No. 2/2012, pg. 48 – 54) largely enriched the knowledge on artistic design of these typologically unique and only rarely preserved historical rooms intended for “leisure”. An analogy to it could be the study rooms of the Mirbach Palace in Bratislava (today housing the Bratislava City Gallery) with engravings of the Medici and biblical series embedded in the wooden compartments of the walls. The Jeszenák study, however, is unique with its interesting presentation of engravings and their unusual link with the wall painting. The engravings are embedded in illusory picture frames painted right onto the wall. The link between the artistically valuable reproductions and uniquely interpreted picture frames, includes the Jeszenák graphic study, not only among unique studies but also makes it an interesting study of graphic art.
The Jeszenák graphic study was described in the travel book of Gottfried Rotenstein published in 1784. Its artistic design, however, was not discovered until the architectural-historical and artistic-historical research carried out by Marián Havlík and Elena Sabadošová. It identified the study as one of the representation rooms of the manor house and localized it at the end of the western wing. The probes also brought specific evidence on the paint decoration and the illusory painted picture frames, which were damaged by later construction modifications.
The renovation of the manor house ended in 2011 and thanks to the understanding of the investor, it also revitalised the graphic study. Students of the Restoration Department of the Bratislava Fine Art Academy, led by pedagogue Ján Sikoriak, reconstructed 19 out of 21 illusory baroque frames on the walls with their characteristic decorative element – the so-called Louis XVI style ribbon. The dating of the decoration was also refined to 1780. The cooperation between the supervisor of the manor house’s renovation, Jozef Lenhart, and the custodian of the old graphic collection of the Slovak National Gallery, Martin Čičo, helped to return the study to the anticipated condition. Based on this, the frames received copies of engravings created according to the works of significant Dutch painters of the 17th century, as Rotenstein described it. They thematically originated from the life philosophy of the former owner and builder of the manor house – the desire for harmony and return to nature. They include the cycles of four seasons, four elements and five senses, which complete the images of the Bucolica countryside.
CATEGORY: EVENT, HAPPENING
Ľubomír Chobot – Aleš Hoferek
Lietava Castle 1999 – 2012
The World Monuments Fund in New York enlisted the ruins of Lietava Castle being among the 100 most endangered world monuments in the autumn of 2009. In order to preserve this national cultural monument, a civic association was funded, that had been working on its conservation and renovation for 12 years. After the complicated proprietary relations were resolved, the salvage construction works started in 2003, following the rental contract for the location. The aim was to preserve the current shape of the castle ruins and to carefully restore its parts. In cooperation with the Regional Monuments Board in Žilina and under the systematic inspection of a structural designer and methodologist, the catastrophic conditions of the monument were gradually brought under control. Also successful, was the cooperation with Aleš Hoferk, a member of the August Sedláček Club from the Zlín branch in the Czech Republic, during the works on the basic project that helped to start the salvage process as well as monument propagation. The system of achieving successive goals is based on the combination of working with professionals – skilled craftsmen, and organising international monument and restoration workshops that help to train volunteers and new enthusiasts for the works on the Lietava Castle.
The association tries to avoid financially demanding projects and, therefore, it has to annually acquire money from various sources – state administration, grant programmes and private donors. The present experience from the castle renovation points to the benefits of the progressive financing, which secures the undergoing works in the castle and their sufficient quality.
Unfortunately, no documents have been preserved about the castle prior to its extinction. The association thus wants to conserve the current shape of the castle ruins and gradually restore the statically broken parts so that the monument keeps its historical value. A project is currently being prepared for a partial renovation, conservation and archaeological research of the upper castle, the so-called Thurzo Palace with a chapel and main tower. The original connecting bridge of the upper and middle castle should also be renovated, the well at the main courtyard will be cleaned and the construction of the front gate with adjacent right-angled bastion in the lower castle will get completed. Also on the agenda is the revitalisation of the access path from the castle to the municipality of Lietava.
Shooting target – the city memory
The Bratislava City Museum, founded in 1868, also keeps items that used to consolidate the city identity and were used for reasoning the city history and its inhabitants. One of the most predicative ones is the Bratislava shooting target with 72 recordings of the city history. The oldest inscription is from 972 and the latest one from 1841. Three vistas, related to 1638, 1809 and 1841, complete the composition of the dates and calligraphic recordings in German language. The dates and the list of events on the shooting target represent the scheme of the memory of the representative sample of citizens, who were associated in the shooting society in the first half of the 19th century. Painter Sebastian Majsch (1807 – 1859) created the target for a bonus shooting competition that took place on September 19 and 20, 1841, on the occasion of the birth of Austrian Empress Maria Anna (1803 – 1884), the wife of Ferdinand I. Field-marshal Franz Philipp von Lamberg (1791 – 1848) ordered the creation of the target and gave it to the shooting society.
The themes of the target inscriptions talk about the key moments of the former Pressburg history, containing several factual inaccuracies. They have been interpreted as the city chronicle, even though it would be more proper to present them as the history of the Hungarian state that took place in Bratislava. The oldest mention on the target from 972 commemorates the arrival of the first German immigrants, and the latest from 1841 records the dedication of the memorial for loyalty and commitment, Treue und Beharrlichkeit, which the city exhibited during the battle in 1809.
The target is artistically decorated with three vistas – the first, a view of the town from the north, based on the copperplate by M. Merian from 1638, illustrates the anti-Turkish battles, the second vista with the trail bridge from 1809 shows the battle with Napoleon’s armies and the last picture from 1841 is an actual portrayal of the horse railway carriages that used to have a station at the Coronation Hill at the Danube’s embankment.
Visits of Maria Theresa at the Ursuline Sisters in Bratislava
The reign of Maria Theresa significantly influenced the economical and societal development in Slovakia in the second half of the 18th century, which is also indicated in the documents on listed buildings. The author found interesting and publicly unknown civil information during an archival research of the chronicle of the Bratislava Ursuline Sisters in 2008 and 2009, when the monastery buildings at 3-5 Uršulínska Street were being explored. The chronicle describes Maria Theresa not only as a monarch, but also as a mother, wife, and Catholic believer, who visited the monastery with her family members several times.
The Ursulines came to Bratislava in 1676 and the monastery was completed in 1688. An oratory was added in 1707 and a northeastern wing in 1712, where the Chapel of Prague Infant Jesus was established in 1741. An additional part of the complex, at today’s Uršulínska Street, was built in 1732 – 1735 with a maintained monastery garden.
Maria Theresa was born in 1717 and ruled the Hungarian kingdom from 1740 to 1780. She was crowned in Bratislava on June 25, 1741. Son Joseph, the future monarch, was born three months before her coronation. One of the first mentions of Maria Theresa in the chronicle of the Ursuline Sisters directly concerns him. It says that the Dome of St. Martin worshiped God for 40 hours so that he presented the country with a prince. The chronicle records the visit of Maria Theresa in Bratislava on August 16, 1744. She stayed for ten days and then returned to Vienna. On May 5, 1751, the empress came to the town with her husband and children.
On July 4, 1751, she came to the Ursuline Sisters monastery unexpectedly, with her son Joseph, prince Charles and princess Charlotte. She listened to a concert in the common room and received presents – an embroidered image of Loretto and two pictures painted in the monastery. Maria Theresa visited the boarding school, pharmacy and several rooms and prayed in the church. Another visit took place on July 7, 1764, when she arrived with prince Leopold and princess Maria. They listened to music in the common room and the nuns showed her several embroidered vestments. On January 31, 1769, the empress attended litanies at the Ursulines and carried a meal to the bedroom of the ill abbess. She talked very kindly to her, and in confidence also about her youth. On July 23, 1770, she came to the Ursuline Sisters with her son Joseph, the future emperor, as well as Archduke Leopold and his wife, Prince Ferdinand, Prince Maximilian, Prince Charles and Princess Caroline.
In 1773, Maria Theresa visited the monastery for the last time with Archduchess Maria Christina. The last entry in the chronicle about the empress is from 1780: the Ursula Sisters learned about her serious illness on November 15 and prayed for her. On November 19 (correctly 29), this good and wise woman died at the age of 63.
Zuzana Zvarová – Innet Baloghová – Ján Mackovič
Secondary grammar school at Grösslingová Street in Bratislava
The grammar school at Grösslingová Street in Bratislava is part of the Art Nouveau complex of the school’s buildings with a school courtyard and Roman-Catholic Church of St. Elisabeth and vicarage. Its construction started in 1906, based on the project of leading Budapest architect Ödön Lechner (1845 – 1914). The campus, which was the first urban creation at the emerging Grösslingová Street, has been preserved up today in its original mass, layout and function.
The grammar school was built as a school building in 1908 for the needs of the Royal Catholic Grammar School, which used to sit in the former monastery at Klariská Street. The double-wing building had a main northern wing, which faced Grösslingová Street, and a side western wing. The well-arranged disposition satisfied the requirements of a modern school at the beginning of the 20th century, with a generously designed interior in terms of the number of offices, classrooms and gyms.
In 1906, Lechner submitted a project of a chapel built inside the school’s gym, which was to have a capacity of 80 people, after the ceiling reinforcement, and being two stories high. This idea was opposed by the parents of the pupils, which in the end resulted in building a separate Church of St. Elisabeth (Blue Church) at Bezručova Street. The school was (and still is) one of the reputable educational institutions in Bratislava, as well as within Slovakia. The physics department was the first in the city to receive X-rays. The school had a large numismatic collection with 4,215 medals and an archaeological collection with 204 items. It was the largest grammar school in Bratislava until 1945, with 17,187 students attending during the first Czechoslovak Republic. It was turned into the Red Army’s hospital during the Second World War. Dressing rooms were added to the southern façade of the northern wing in the 1960s. A heating station was built on a part of the courtyard in the 1970s. The façade facing Grösslingová Street was renewed and the grammar school’s truss was partially reconstructed in the 1980s.
The current owner, Bratislava self-governing region, started the complete renovation of the school building in 2009. The aim of the investor was to return the building its original creative architectural-artistic expression, underscored with Lechner’s design, and its uniqueness that represented it in the contemporary architectural trends. The renovated exterior and interior of the grammar school present all monument values of the building. The unsuitable construction interventions from the past were removed, the technical infrastructure was modernised and the physical condition of the building and its area with historical fencing was improved. The renovation was completed and the school was submitted for use in 2011.
Katarína Bodnárová – Peter Kallo
Bratislava main station and its decoration from 1938
The history of today’s Bratislava main station stretches back to the first half of the 19th century. Its origin is linked with the approval of the law on the improvement of traffic communications between Pest and Vienna (1836). The permission for the preparation works on the railway from Marchegg to Bratislava and its connection to the Northern Track of Emperor Ferdinand was granted to the consortium of banker Móric Ullman von Szitányi, which belonged under the Rotschild banking house, in 1837. The construction, however, did not begin before May 16, 1844, when the Hungarian Central Railway acquired the licence for the construction of the railway connection to Pest. The construction, in regard to the difficult terrain, was completed in 1848.
The Bratislava railway station was built largely on the premises of a big garden of the Ursuline Sisters and partially on the mound of rock mined out during the works on the tunnel. It lacked a passenger building and tickets were sold in a temporary wooden house. A new building in the classicist style was built in its place in 1871. It was financed by StEG (Austrian State Railways) and designed by architect Ignác Feigler Jr. The first reconstruction of the building, which focused on the arrangement of the interiors, took place in 1889. The second, was performed in 1903 – 1905, under the administration of the Hungarian Royal State Railways. The third modification took place from 1936 until the middle of the 1940s. Architect Antonín Parkman designed the project of the passenger building in 1938; the outer facade was to be adorned with eight sculptures and the railway’s symbol – a winged wheel. The inner hall was to be complemented with colourful ceramic mosaics with the motifs of Slovak spa towns of Sliač, Rajecké Teplice, Trenčianske Teplice, Tatranská Lomnica and Piešťany. The coat of arms of the Bratislava city and the symbol of Slovakia were to be on the entrance wall.
The railways put out a competition for sculptural decoration in 1938, inviting seven sculptors. Five of them, eventually, took part in it – Róbert Kühmayer, Ladislav Majerský, Vojtech Ihriský, Alojz Rigele and Ján Koniarek. The last one, won the competition with the design of four allegoric figures portraying different types of transportation. After various problems, however, only two sculptures were completed and were allegedly destroyed during the war. In the 1970s, the Slovak National Gallery acquired the inheritance of Ján Koniarek’s work, which also included four clay patina-coated models of figural decoration of the Bratislava railway station, measuring 26 cm by 29.5 cm. Two of them, the road and aerial transportation, were cast in bronze in 1976.