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Tour of Wooden Churches of the Carpathian Mountains - Slovak UNESCO Heritage

Tour of Wooden Churches of the Carpathian Mountains - Slovak UNESCO Heritage, Slovakia Travel, Location Specific samples of sacred architecture in Slovakia are the wooden churches. Their folk builders expressed the perfect harmony of the human soul with nature and the effort to disengage from earthly worries. Among the oldest are the Gothic wooden churches (for example Hervartov, Tvrdosin). The “articled” churches are other type of wooden churches (for instance Sv. Kriz, Lestiny, Kezmarok, Hronsek). The “articled” churches are those built under the article of the law issued by Emperor Leopold I at the end of the 17th century.
There is also a third type of wooden churches built in eastern Slovakia, mostly in the 18th century. First they were owned by the Greek Catholic denomination, later some of them were changed into Orthodox churches. The special features of the East Christian rite are reflected in their interior decoration and furniture where the unique Carpathian icons dominate. They are normally fitted into iconostases ornamented in the Baroque and Rococo styles.

Wooden churches of the Slovak part of Carpathian Mountain Area, which were added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2008, possess an extraordinary worldwide value. The churches include: Roman Catholic churches inHervartov and Tvrdosin, Evangelical articular churches in Kezmarok, Lestiny and Hronsek, and churches of Eastern rite in Bodruzal, Ladomirova and Ruska Bystra.
While discovering Wooden churches of the Slovak part of Carpathian Mountain Area we will visit many interesting places which are on the way of this tour- Open air museum of folk architecture in Vlkolinec, Orava Castle, Museum of Orava village in Zuberec, towns Kezmarok, Bradejov and Kosice.

Itinerary

Day 1:

- arrival to Slovakia; Zvolen town
- accommodation, free time.

Overnight in Zvolen

Day 2:

Hronsek wooden church Slovakia We will visit two Evangelical wooden churches in villages Hronsek and Lestiny.

The wooden articled church in Hronsek from 1726 is set in the wonderful environment of big lime trees. There are 1,100 chairs in this church. Its organ was fitted in 1764. Four bulky lime trees stand in its yard. Fine wooden belfry from 1726 stands nearby. The church has a central floor plan in the form of uneven Cross (longer arm is 23 m, the shorter 18 m). Height is 8 meter. 5 entrance gates leads into the church building, there is 30 windows on the perimeter. The construction is completely of solid oak and red spruce. Inside the church roof recalls the inverted ship shape. There are elements of Scandinavian architecture, distinctive colonnade on the galeries. The altar of the church has six interchangeable images, originating from 1771. On the altar is arranged the crucifix with inscription and the year 1739. Above it are the escutcheons aristocratic families, which promote the evangelical church. In early November 2000, visited the church the English Crown Prince Charles.

The wooden articled Evangelical church in Lestiny from 1688. The lavishly painted interior decoration of the church is from the 17th and 18th centuries. Visitors are attracted especially by the main altar from the beginning of the 18th century, church pews with coats of arms, Renaissance baptistery of the 17th century, a copy of the burial flag of J. Zmeskal, and an epitaph of M. Meska of 1753.

Options:
1. the Open air museum of folk architecture in UNESCO village Vlkolinec
2. the Orava Castle in Oravsky Podzamok

Overnight in Tvrdosin

Day 3:

Kezmarok wooden church Slovakia We will visit the Open air museum of folk architecture in Zuberec, Gothic wooden Roman-Catholic church of All Saints in Tvrdosin and articled Evangelical church in Kezmarok.

The pride of Tvrdosin and its oldest preserved building is the Gothic wooden Roman-Catholic church of All Saints situated in the local cemetery. Its origins date back to the second half of the 15th century and it was rebuilt in Renaissance style in the 17th century. The Baroque altar from the end of the 17th century with the painting of All Saints dominates the interior of the church. Formerly, there was a low Gothic altar. Only one wing with the paintings of St Peter and St John the Baptist was preserved. The original central part of the altar, a painting of Bemoaning the Death of Christ from the 15th century was moved in 1919 to a museum in Budapest. The interior of the church was finished in the mid-17th century. Viewing the church, especially the paintings of the Apostles, the Late Renaissance pulpit with figures of the Evangelists from 1654, and a painting of St George mounted on a horse fighting a dragon (a distemper painting on wood from 1653) will draw the attention of any visitor. The wonderful dome paintings (a sky with stars, angels and a panelled ceiling) complement the Gothic mysticism of the space. Highly artistic and expert reconstruction and restoration of the church was awarded a prize by EUROPA NOSTRA in 1993 and the church itself, as the National Cultural Monument, was included in the list of European cultural heritage.

One of the best preserved Slovak wooden sacral buildings is the articled Evangelical church in Kezmarok. The Evangelical church was built in 1717 next to an older sacral stone building from 1593, which today is a sacristy. This unique wooden building made of yew and red spruce wood was built without using a single metal component and its ground plan is in the form of a Greek cross. The Baroque interior of the church is also made of wood. Of immense artistic value is also the church organ with wooden pipes.

 A unique open-air Museum of the Orava Village is an area of about 20 hectares, and on both sides of the crystal clean Studeny brook, are typical folk buildings moved here from various regions of Orava. A visitor can see here all kinds of buildings - peasant houses, larders, lumber rooms, farmsteads, shepherd's huts, haylofts, etc.; sacral buildings (a wooden church, cemetery and belfry) and the craftsman's and linen-maker's houses (a Wallachian mill and sawmill, a potter's furnace and fulling mill, etc.).

Overnight in Kezmarok

Day 4:

Hervatov wooden church Slovakia We will visit The Roman Catholic wooden church of St Francis of Assisi in Hervartov and town Bardejov which is inscribed in the List of the World Cultural Heritage.

The Roman Catholic wooden church of St Francis of Assisi was built by the end of the 15th century (probably between 1499 and 1500). It is the oldest and best preserved wooden church in Slovakia. The Gothic pictures and wall paintings from 1655 and 1805 are the most valuable parts of its interior.

Another Slovak town inscribed in the List of the World Cultural Heritage is the historic Bardejov, one of the oldest Slovak towns, rightly awarded the European award, gold medal of ICOMOS Foundation of UNESCO in 1986 and it was inscribed into the List of the World Cultural Heritage of the same organisation in 2000. The buildings in the historic centre are included in the Town Monument Reserve. Bardejov is spoken of as “the most Gothic of towns in Slovakia”. Its centre consists of a set of historical buildings arranged in the area limited by an almost continuous belt of town fortifications. The principal area of the historical core is the rectangular Radnicne square skirted by rows of antique burgher houses with typical gable facades.  The most significant monument of the square is the Roman-Catholic Basilica of St. Egidius that is located in its northern section. Its construction started at the beginning of the 15th century. It was conceived as a majestic Gothic basilica with three isles. There is an interesting set of 11 Late Gothic altars from the 15th and the 16th centuries and some of those wood carvings are considered to be supreme works of European art.

Overnight in Bardejov

Day 5:

Ladomirova wooden church Slovakia We will visit two churches of Eastern rite in villages Ladomirova and Bodruzal.

The Greek Catholic wooden church of St Michael the Archangel in Ladomirova was built in 1742 without a single metal nail. Independent belfry with column construction stands by the church. The area, part of which is a cemetery, has a log fence. Valuable iconostas and altar are from the mid-18th century. It is a five-row wooden architecture filled with icons, part of which was destroyed in the World War II.

The Greek Catholic wooden church of St Nicolas from in Bodruzal 1658. The log building consists of three parts. Its shingle roof is dissected and has three little towers. The area of the church has a log fence with shingle tops. Remains of wall paintings from the 18th century survive in its interior. Iconostas and several icons are from the end of the 18th century. The church was completely reconstructed in summer 2004.

Option:
Museum of Ukrainian Culture in Svidnik is an ethnic institution whose mission resides in documenting the fundamental phases of cultural, historical, political and social development of Ruthenians - Ukrainians in Slovakia from earliest times up to the present.

Overnight in Snina

Day 6:

Ruska Bystra wooden church Slovakia We will visit last 4 churches of Eastern rite in Topola, Rusky Potok, Ulicske Krive and Ruska Bystra close to Ukrainian border and we will transfer to second biggest town of Slovakia- Kosice.

The Greek Catholic wooden church of St Nicolas the Bishop in Ruska Bystra was built at the beginning of the 18th century, in the years 1720 to 1730. The log building consists of three parts. It is covered by shingle roof. The interior in the Baroque and Rococo style is from the beginning of the 18th century.

Kosice is not only the centre of eastern Slovakia but also the core of the Eastern Carpathians where several ethnicities live. Almost all monuments of Kosice are concentrated in the historical core of the town, size of which makes it the biggest Town Monument Reserve of Slovakia. The spindle-shaped Main square of Kosice is the heart of the town and rightly considered one of the most beautiful squares in Slovakia. It is closed to traffic and skirted by numerous wonderful historical buildings. The most valuable monuments are situated in its centre. The dominant of the square and the town is the monumental Gothic Cathedral of St. Elisabeth. This building, rather isolated from the rest of the square, is the largest church of Slovakia and the easternmost situated Gothic cathedral of western type in Europe.

Overnight in Kosice

Day 7:

Farewell and departure from Slovakia from Kosice on your own (plane, train, bus) or we are able to order you private transfer to airports in Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna or Krakow.