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Wooden sacral architecture of four christian confessions.


Wandering along the arc – from the culture of Gothic Europe, through the Protestant Renaissance to the Byzantine culture of the Eastern Carpathians

Study tour


Slovakia is a country where two thirds of the territory is covered by forests of the Western and partly Eastern Carpathians. Therefore a remarkable number of religious buildings from wood have been preserved here. Ethnic, confessional, as well as geographic reasons lie behind the fact that their forms in this small territory are as uniquely diverse as nowhere else in Europe.

We will acquire the basic knowledge of wood constructions in the Northern Carpathians (log construction, framed construction, construction of bell towers, Baroque forms of roofs) in the Museum of the Slovak Village Martin, where a simple wooden church from Rudno (from the Turiec region) is also located. In the northern region – Orava – extending also into Poland we will see Gothic and Renaissance wooden Catholic churches with the “western” groundplan (presbytery with a square termination, presbytery with a polygonal termination), evangelic articular churches with Renaissance hall “Nordic” groundplan, which also have been preserved in the regions of Liptov and Spiš. These “latin cross” groundplans stem from Roman Romanesque, as well as Early Baroque architecture, but their origin is also utilitarian – an extension of the space of the church to the sides. In the following days we will also visit wooden churches of the Greek Catholic Church of Byzantine Rite. They are located in the regions with hills and valleys geographically already belonging to Eastern Carpathians. Despite the apparent similarities they share we will learn to see that each one is different. The layouts of their three spaces, log construction of their vault or of the cupola over the nave have their origins in the cultures of Asia, the Orient and Byzantium. On the way back from the easternmost regions of Slovakia we will visit some of the remarkable wooden bell houses, which share their construction type and forms with the construction culture of Transylvania and current northern Hungary.


Big SR HZK7 map

Saturday: Meeting in Vienna, railway station Westbahnhof, at 16:00. Bus transfer to a hotel in the region of Turiec.

Sunday: First, we will visit the Museum of the Slovak Village Martin. We will get to know some buildings, which pose good examples for learning the specifics of log architecture of the northern regions of Slovakia, and the first example of a wooden church from the village of Rudno. Generally said, it is typical that their interiors also include older (Gothic) artefacts. Then we will travel through a naturally and culturally beautiful region of Orava, where half a century ago the most beautiful folk log architecture in Slovakia was still present. In the town of Tvrdošín we will see a wooden church, the Gothic parts of which have been recently dated by physical methods with an accuracy of one year, and a wooden church in Orawka in the territory of Poland. In both of them, we will see the fascinating furnishing of the interiors with paintings and sculptures entailing an interesting historical account.

Monday: In the morning, we will visit the Museum of Orava Village Zuberec-Brestova. We will focus on the Gothic-Renaissance Catholic church from the village Zábrež. Then we will travel to the south of Orava, where we will visit the Evangelical “articular” church in the village Leštiny. We will find out how surprisingly diverse and rich in artworks the interiors of these churches from the Reformation era are, and we will get to know the all-European cultural connexions of the donors from this unknown village in the mountains. On the way to the region of Liptov to see the largest wooden temple of Central Europe – close to the village of Svätý Kríž – we will learn more about the “articular” churches in the Kingdom of Hungary. Finally, we will come to the legendary cultural region of Spiš, where we will see the renowned Evangelical church in Kežmarok.

Tuesday: This day we will be travelling in the regions of northern Spiš and northern Šariš. This is the area, where the cultures of Western and Eastern Europe meet. In the museum under the northern-Spiš castle Stará Ľubovňa we will see a wooden Greek Catholic church, the architecture of which has more elements of “Latin” building culture, but the interior of which houses an iconostasis. In the north-western edge of the region Šariš (in the Eastern Carpathians) we will choose to see some of the Greek Catholic wooden churches “tserkev” in the village Lukov-Venecia and then we will see the Roman Catholic Gothic wooden church in Hervartov close to the city of Bardejov, which belongs to the most famous monuments in Slovakia. In the nearby museum, there are located two Greek Catholic churches – from the villages Zboj and Mikulášová.

Wednesday: We will use the sightseeing tour around the surroundings of Bardejov and Svidník also for the explanation of the specific terminology, which is used in the churches of Byzantine Rite to describe its spaces, parts and liturgical equipment, and the rules for the ordering of paintings on iconostasis. We will visit the religious monuments in their authentic environment in the following villages and towns: Kožany, Potoky, Svidník, Krajné Čierno, Príkra, Bodružal, Miroľa, Ladomirová, Jedlinka. It will be the most demanding day for distinguishing and remembering the individual buildings, therefore we will make a joint photo everywhere. Finally, we will learn to see that each temple is different.

Thursday: After visiting a Greek Catholic wooden church in Tročany we will leave the region of Šariš and spend a day in the region of northern Zemplín. It is the easternmost part of Slovakia and both its landscape and culture are similar to the Ruthenian area of Carpatho-Ukraine and Polish eastern Galicia. Dominating the landscape are the mountains of the Poloniny National Park, which used to be home for “wild” mountain people as late as in the first half of the 20th century. We will take a look at the wooden churches: from Nová Sedlica (in the museum next to the castle in Humenné) and churches (“tserkev”) authentically located in the villages Topoľa, Uličské Krivé, Kalná Roztoka, Hrabová Roztoka, Ruská Bystrá.

Friday: Our tour from the Eastern Slovakia will lead through its southern regions rich in monuments of medieval village fortified churches with stone fences. During the Reformation period in the 17th century (with most of them remaining protestant until today) independently standing bell towers of fascinating constructions were erected in their premises. We will choose among them the monuments in Kraskov, Stará Halič, Čerín. (Of course, we won’t ignore the unique Gothic murals in the church naves.) Finally, we will also visit the famous Evangelical articular wooden church in Hronsek.

Saturday: Return to Vienna in the morning hours.

Service package:

The price of the tour covers:

  • A qualified guiding service
  • Expert guiding by a renowned art-historian
  • Travel from Vienna, around Slovakia and back to Vienna in a comfortable bus.
  • 7x accommodation in double and single rooms in three/four star hotels and guesthouses
  • Full board in carefully selected stylish restaurants - 7x breakfast, 6x lunch, 7x dinner
  • Entrance fees (except Group tours and VIP tours)

The price of the tour does not include the following:

  • drinks
  • contributions
  • insurance
  • charges for taking pictures in museums and monuments
  • individual transportation from the residence to the point of departure (except Group tours and VIP tours)

Tour price

The price for the tour SR HZK7 is 863 Euro per person in double room,

Extra charge for a single room is 158 Euro.

For tours of the type Group tours and VIP tours the price is calculated individually


14th – 21th April 2012 (SR HZK7)

Dates for groups – by appointment

Dates for VIP – by appointment

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