Bíňa – rotunda of the Twelve Apostles

History

   The first written mention of the rotunda comes from 1391, but the structure itself was erected at the end of the 12th or the beginning of the 13th century, during the foundation of the nerby Premonstratensian monastery, which was founded before 1217 by Omodej and his son Stefan from the Hunt-Poznan family. Both buildings were built due to the proximity of Esztergom – the seat of Hungarian kings, and later the archbishopric, and also because of the great importance of the founders family.
   In the 13th and 14th centuries, the interior of the rotunda was decorated with wall paintings. In 1683 it was damaged during Polish-Turkish fights and it was deteriorating for over 70 years. The repairs were carried out after 1755, but unfortunately the new roofing dome was kept in the Baroque style. Romanesque windows were bricked up, new, larger ones were pierced and a new vault was installed. It was only after the post-war repairs that the building was largely restored to its medieval appearance, and the medieval paintings hidden under later plasters were also unveiled.

Architecture

   The rotunda was built of bricks on a circular plan. The entrance portal was located on the south-west side, while small slit windows were pierced on the south and east sides. Other was discovered during renovation on the south-eastern side.
   Inside, the rotunda was divided into 12 shallow, semicircular niches – recesses, probably the original sedilia. In addition, on the eastern side, a larger presbytery niche, 3.6 meters wide, was created as an internal apse. It was separated from the nave by a semicircular, stepped arcade. The interior of the rotunda was covered with wall paintings from around 1220 (apostles) and other, but unfortunately now damaged, from 1320-1350 (figures of saints).

   Rotunda together with the church and monastery was built inside the extensive earth fortifications from the 9th / 10th centuries, created by three concentric earth ramparts.

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bibliography:
Website apsida.sk, Bíňa – rotunda.