Architecture of Slovakia

The architecture of Slovakia has a long, rich and diverse history. Besides Roman ruins (as in the military camp of Gerulata), Slovakia hosts several Romanesque and Gothic castles and churches, most notably Spiš Castle, which were built at the time of the Kingdom of Hungary. Renaissance architecture was of particular relevance in town hall squares, such as in Bardejov and Levoča. Affluent architecture in the following centuries made use of Baroque, Rococo and historicist styles (neo-classical, neo-Renaissance and neo-Gothic), while vernacular architecture in the countryside developed a specific style of wooden houses and wooden churches. In the 20th century, Slovakia knew Art Nouveau and modernist architecture, including socialist modernism, and finally contemporary architecture.

Prehistory and AntiquityEdit

Gerulata was a Roman military camp located near today's Rusovce, a borough of Bratislava, Slovakia. It was part of the Roman province of Pannonia and was built in the 2nd century as a part of the frontier defence system. It was abandoned in the 4th century, when Roman legions withdrew from Pannonia. Beyond the remains of the Roman forum, fragments of structures and gravestones, bronze, iron, ceramic and stone pieces are on show in a museum showing daily life. The best preserved object is a quadrilateral building 30 metres long and 30 metres wide, with 2.4 metre thick walls.

Romanesque architectureEdit

Castles from the High Middle Ages still dot the hilltops of Slovakia. The most outstanding is Spiš Castle, in eastern Slovakia, dating from 1209.[1]:38

Among the oldest churches in Slovakia are:

Only a handful of Romanesque buildings have been preserved in Slovakia, but these include at least three church monuments of high standing, included in the TransRomanica network:[2]

  • Provostry and Cathedral of St.Martin at Spišská Kapitula (Spišské Podhradie): the cathedral was built in the early 13th century for the bishop of the Spiš region, back then an important cultural and economic centre. The three-nave church features a façade with Romanesque towers in alternated sandstone and white travertine. Since 1993, Spišská Kapitula is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.[2]
  • Church of the assumption of the Virgin Mary, Bíňa: around 1217 the Hont-Pázmány noble family founded a monastery in this small village by the river Hron, in the Danube lowlands, including a monumental Romanesque monastery church, which is what remains to date. Designed along the lines of the Esztergom Cathedral, it is a single-nave church with a two-towered façade and a built-out entrance hall. Nearby stands also a Romanesque rotunda dedicated to the twelve apostles, with traces of murals.[2]
  • Church of the assumption of the Virgin Mary, Diakovce: an example of Romanesque brick architecture typical of south-east Slovakia, this two-story church (built in 1228) used to be part of a Benedictine abbey established in the 11th century by the Pannonhalma monks. The three-nave church features two towers flanking the façade and three chancels by the apse, where a fragment of a Romanesque fresco still shows Christ in a mandorla. The façades include friezed pilasters.[2]

Gothic architectureEdit

Castles from the High Middle Ages still dot the hilltops of Slovakia. The most outstanding is Spiš Castle, in eastern Slovakia, dating from 1209.[1]:38 Other castles, listed in the National Cultural Heritage list of the Monuments Board of the Slovak Republic, include:

Slovakia features several examples of ecclesiastic Gothic.[1]:39 These include:

Renaissance architectureEdit

Old Slovak town squares used to feature Gothic burgher houses, most of which were remade with Italian-style Renaissance façades in the 16th century, covered with sgraffito decorations. Among them is the town square of Bardejov, a Unesco centre, as well as Levoča.[1]:39

Folk and vernacular stylesEdit

Folk and vernacular architecture from Slovak villages remains preserved in several instances. This architectural style typically features wooden structures, sometimes plastered, dating back to the 18th century.[1]:39–40

  • Čičmany contains a folk architecture reserve, which was founded in 1977. Timbered houses with ridge roofs, galleries and pointed or linear wall decorations have been preserved in Čičmany. Of particular interest are the very specific white patterns which are painted on the exterior walls of the houses to decorate them.
  • Vlkolínec, situated in the centre of Slovakia, is a remarkably intact settlement, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1993. It is the region's most complete group of these kinds of traditional log houses, often found in mountainous areas. The village consists of more than 45 log houses each of them made up of two or three rooms. A wooden belfry from the 18th century as well as the baroque chapel has also been preserved.[3]

Eastern Slovakia is particularly renowned for its wooden churches, often built without nails, dating from the 18th till the 20th century and mainly belonging to Greek Catholic and Orthodox confessions, particularly of the Rusyn minority. They can be found in the area of Bardejov and Snina.[1]:40

Baroque and Rococo architectureEdit

Wealthy aristocrats and merchants in present-day Slovakia from the 1600s used to appreciate Vienna-style baroque; the University church of St John the Baptist in Trnava is one of the early examples. Flowery rococo followed the influence of Maria Theresa, Queen of Hungary in the 18th century, with swags and plaster decorations in Old Town Bratislava.[1]:39 Examples include Grassalkovich Palace, built in 1760 (today's residence of the President of Slovakia), as well as the Episcopal Summer Palace (reconstructed in 1761–1765) and the Mirbach Palace, from 1768 to 1770.

Baroque
Rococo

Historicist stylesEdit

Several palaces and churches were built in historicist styles in the 18th and 19th centuries. Examples of neoclassical architecture include Bratislava's Primate's Palace, by Melchior Hefele, 1778–81, and the Evangelical Church of Košice by Georg Kitzling, 1816. The East Slovak Museum in Košice, 1872, is an illustration of Neo-Renaissance architecture. Gothic Revival was used as a style for castles, such as Orava Castle and Bojnice Castle, as well as for the Church of Holy Trinity, Mošovce, rebuilt 1912–13.

Art Nouveau and Secession styleEdit

Art Nouveau architecture took hold in present-day Slovakia by the turn of the 20th century. The fancy Blue Church design by Ödön Lechner in 1905 in Hungarian Art Nouveau is a feat.[1]:40 Lechner also designed the Gamča gymnasium in Bratislava, built in 1906–08, while Dušan Jurkovič built the Skalica Culture House. In Košice, the Hotel Slávia features as Art Nouveau mosaic façade.[1]:40

Modernist architectureEdit

In the interwar period, Bratislava was a site for several modernist architectural styles:

Socialist modernism also left a couple of hallmarks in Bratislava, including the Slovak Radio Building and the Most SNP:[1]:40

Contemporary architectureEdit

Following Slovakia's independence in 1992, in the economic and democratic transition and in the run-up and after Slovakia's accession to the European Union in 2004, several modern administrative and business buildings in the style of contemporary architecture were built, in particular in the capital Bratislava:

  • VIVO! Bratislava (until 2019 Polus City Center) was the country's first modern shopping mall, opened in November 2000.[9] The centre, with an area of 38,500 m2 (414,000 sq ft), houses a hypermarket, a cinema complex, 139 retail shops and several restaurants and bars. Part of the complex are two high-rise office towers: "Millennium Tower I" (80 m (260 ft)) and "Millennium Tower II" (100 m (330 ft)). Construction of a third tower, "Millennium III", is planned.
  • The headquarters office building of the National Bank of Slovakia was opened on 23 May 2002: at a height of 111.6 metres and with 33 floors it is the highest building in Bratislava, not including antenna height.
  • The Apollo Bridge (Slovak: Most Apollo) over the Danube was built between 2003 and 2005.[10] Its curved lines, inclined arches and virtual absence of right angles make the geometric shape of the bridge very sophisticated. In an unprecedented maneuver, the 5,240-ton steel structure, spanning 231 metres, was rotated across the river from its construction site on the left bank into its final position on a pillar 40 metres from the right bank. The Apollo Bridge was the only European project named one of five finalists for the 2006 Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award (OPAL Award) by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
  • The City Business Center, Bratislava is a complex of five buildings in Staré mesto (Old town), first two finished in 2006 and 2007. Construction of the second phase was started in 2008.
  • The Eurovea business, retail and residential complex connects the Bratislava Riverfront with the city center and offers stores and leisure time facilities while housing businesses, apartments and a Sheraton hotel. Phase I of the Eurovea complex opened after four years of construction in 2010.[11] Eurovea Phase II will feature the first skyscraper in Slovakia with projected height of 168 meters and 46 floors above the ground[12] with the whole investment estimated at approximately €300 million.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Lisa Dunford, Czech and Slovak Republics, Lonely Planet 2007
  2. ^ a b c d transromanica
  3. ^ Centre, UNESCO World Heritage. "Vlkolínec". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 23 March 2021.   Text was copied from this source, which is available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 IGO (CC BY 3.0 IGO) license.
  4. ^ a b Obytný komplex Unitas
  5. ^ Slovak Architecture: Impulses and Reflection[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ http://slovakia.travel/en/bratislava-ufo-classed-one-of-the-craziest-places
  7. ^ http://spectator.sme.sk/articles/view/53370/8/the_changing_face_of_bratislava.html
  8. ^ "Slovak Radio | Places".
  9. ^ "Polus City Centre changes to Vivo!". spectator.sme.sk. 2019-11-07. Retrieved 2019-12-15.
  10. ^ http://structurae.net/structures/apollo-bridge
  11. ^ "Eurovea and River Park near completion". The Slovak Spectator. Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  12. ^ "Prvý mrakodrap v Bratislave: Eurovea 2 odhaľuje podrobnosti (First skyscraper in Bratislava: Eurovea 2 reveals details)". Trend. 2017-05-02. Retrieved 2017-05-03.

BibliographyEdit

  • Hertha Hurnaus, Benjamin Konrad, Maik Novotny (auth.), Eastmodern: Architecture and Design of the 1960s and 1970s in Slovakia, Springer Vienna, 2007, ISBN 978-3-211-71531-4,978-3-211-71532-1
  • Maro Borsky, Synagogue Architecture in Slovakia, Univ. Heidelberg, 2005

External linksEdit