Discover Slovakia, your guide via Slovak wooden churches


DrevenĂ˝ kostolĂ­k DrevenĂ˝ kostolĂ­k

Unique wooden churches are found in Slovakia. Very specific was the way they were built - all parts had to be made of wood and no nails were allowed. According to historical records there were more than 300 wooden churches in Slovakia. Their architecture combined elements of the western, mainly Roman Catholic tradition and of the Byzantine culture. At present, there are around 50 sacred monuments which were built during the 16th - 18th century.

The oldest preserved Roman Catholic wooden churches are inspired by the Gothic style: Trnove (1500) in Zilina district, Tvrdosin (15th cent. ) and the church in Zábrezie (1647), which was transfered to the open-air Museum Orava Village in Zuberec, Orava Region. The only chapel included as a national cultural monument is that of Roman Catholic is Hervartov in the Bardejov district.

The newer Protestant prayer houses are also unique, incorporating a Greek-cross plan. They were built after Emperor Leopold I. had decreed the articles of faith in 1681. The church buildings had to be made of wood only. In Slovakia there are 5 such churches. They are located in Lestiny and Istebne (Orava Region), in Kezmarok (Spis Region), in Hronsek (Horehronie Region) and in Svaty Kriz - Paludza (Liptov Region).

The wooden churches in the Orthodox tradition - Greek Catholic (tserkvas, eastern Byzantine, Orthodox, Ruthenian, Ruthenian Ukrainian, Ukrainian and under.), which were built during the 17th - 19th century, form the largest group. An exception is the late 15th-century church in Trocany, Saris Region. In 1968, a group of 27 wooden churches in Saris and Horny Zemplin were declared national culture monuments. It is worth a special mention, that in most of these churches still conduct services today.

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