Bratislava – St Martin’s cathedral

History

   The gothic temple was built on the site of an earlier romanesque church, at the turn of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, after Pope Innocent III let the chapter move from the castle to the city. The solemn consecration of the church took place only in 1452, because earlier it was destroyed several times, mainly during wars led by Ottokar II of Bohemia. In the years 1563-1830, the cathedral was the coronation church of Hungarian kings. Over the centuries, the building was reconstructed. Today’s appearance is the effect of the nineteenth-century reconstruction works, that led, among others, to the regothisation of the church tower.

Architecture

   The gothic cathedral was a three-nave church with a corpus of five bays covered with net and rib vaults, and with a long, pentagonal ended chancel, added at the end of the fifteenth century. The chancel was topped with vaults containing twenty-three bosses in the shape of shields of towns, families and regions that supported the construction of the sanctuary or were related with the main sponsor – the king Matthias Corvinus.
   
A tower with a height of 85 meters grows out of the central nave on the western side. Originally, along with the western facade of the temple, it was located behind the town walls. The tower was part of the town’s fortifications and therefore, from the west, it did not have an entrance portal that could be used by potential attackers or even windows. In order to improve communication at the west facade, a few small side turrets with staircases were placed. Inside, the undertower part of the cathedral was divided into three rooms by internal walls: in the south, the chapel of queen Sophia, the sacristy in the middle and in the north the chapel of canons. On the first floor there was originally the oldest library in the town, which dates back to the 12th century and the chapter archives. The middle part of the first floor opened to the nave with a gallery.
   
Outside, the church was clasped with buttresses, between which there were ogival windows, decorated with traceries and covered with a gable roof. In 1510, the late gothic porch was added to the southern aisle, while four years later, to the north aisle, the Chapel of St. Anne.

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bibliography:
Website wikipedia.org, Katedrála svätého Martina (Bratislava).