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Art lovers can visit in the surrounding of Banska Bystrica more old churches decorated with frescos.
14 km far from Banska Bystrica in the village Poniky there is a Gothic Roman Catholic Saint Francis of Assisi Church, which has propably the most completely restored medieval frescos in Slovakia.
The oldest paintings are from 1378 (e.g. Saint George killing the Dragon), collection of frescos on the walls and arch of presbyterium from 1415, legend about Saint Ladislaus from the end of 15th century.
The paintings are made with a technique fresco-secco, it is supposed Italian influence -Speculum humanae Salvationis – illuminated manuscipts, but also influence of Czech book illustration from the reign of Wencelslaus IV.
On some paintings you can find portrayal of donors. More paintings include also inscribed labels.
Inside you can see a Gothic baptismal font. Two of the oldest panel paintings on the territory of former Kingdom of Hungary originate from altar of this church – Prophet Jeremia and king David –nowadays they are in the collection of city museum of Banska Bystrica. The winged altar was made about 1512. Very interesting is bench for former important families.
On the front of church there is sun clock. Wooden bell tower is near the church.
Church is nowadays filial monastery for Capuchins and it is sure worthy to visit it.
In 2000 Princ Charles visited the church.
Pictures see Impresie Poniky
The early Gothic church of St. Martin in Čerín, ca. 15 km far from Banská Bystrica, has been built in 1315 by Master Paul from Krtíš on the old trade route from Zvolen to Slovenska Lupca. The church was modelled on churches in mining cities. Church is located on the hill above the village. Church does not have tower.
Near this church there is an old, high bell tower made from oak-wood in 1828, unique in its kind. The weight of bell in this tower is about 1.300 kg.
Church was rich in paintings, following the Reformation, frescos were covered with coats of whitewash and they stayed covered until 1930.
Big and expensive restoration of frescoes was made by Office for Preservation of Monuments in 1970. Valuable frescoes are declared monument of culture of national significance. The paintings belong to separate painting school – we speak about masonry works of „Master from Čerín“ with significant influence of north Italian paintings.
The frescoes in the church are from three periods:
- 1. the oldest layer of paintings dated shortly after completion the church construction around 1320 – frescoes at triumphal arch;
- 2. frescoes around 1410-1420 – in presbytery;
- 3. more frescoes at triumphal arch and surrounding walls in church nave – representation of Saints.
With cross vaults covered apsis is illuminated by simply pointed arch window. Very interesting are Renaissance-wooden beam ceiling and Renaissance-choir stalls. The main altar is baroque. The former altar dated to 1483 was Gothic, but now you can see it in national gallery in the castle in Budapest.
Not only frescoes but also Gothic round windows, Gothic portal and stone baptistery dated to 14th century are valuable. The organ choir is from middle of 18th century - baroque style – but there is no organ in the church.
Pictures see Impresie Čerín
21 km far from Banská Bystrica, in the village Zolná, you can visit the early Gothic St. Matthew Church. The church is fascinating not only because of various architectural styles but also because of unique frescoes. You can see there Romanic narrow windows, but also late Gothic ribbed vault in presbytery and a Gothic window on the southern side of church nave.
The church has been built around 1280. Church was first dedicated to Saint Stephen protomartyr, then to the apostle Matthias and later to Saint Matthew.
High wall around the church was built In 16th century. On the Gothic bell in the tower is minuscule inscription and dating 1514.
The frescoes are from various periods, the oldest from 1380 and they are made with a technique fresco-secco. Frescoes showing last scenes from Passion Cycle indicate the Byzantine influence. Below Passion Cycle there is a painted curtain. During the restoration a small picture showing the fight of Saint George with the Dragon was discovered.
The visit of this church is worthwile.
Pictures - see Impresie Zolná
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