Bzovik – Benedictine Abbey

History

The Benedictine abbey in Bzovik was founded around 1130. Between 1179 and 1181, the Benedictines were replaced by the Premonstratens because of discipline violations. In the fifteenth century, the monastery became the target of frequent attacks, burned down several times, after which it was repaired. In 1530, the chapter was taken over by Zygmund Balassa, who expelled monks, and in the years 1530 – 1546 he rebuilt the original romanesque monastery into a gothic-renaissance stronghold. Its main task was to protect the country against Turkish invasions. In 1678, the fortress was occupied and partially destroyed by the troops commanded by one of the leaders of the anti-Habsburg rising, magnate Imre Thököly. In the same year, the stronghold was rebuilt and handed over to the Jesuits who stayed here until the beginning of the 19th century. Neglected and in a bad condition, fortress was severely damaged during World War II. Abandoned after the war, it began to fall into ruin. The first conservation work was carried out only at the end of the 1960s.

Architecture

The oldest part of the monastery complex was a one-nave monastic church with two towers on the west side. The presbytery probably had the form of a semicircular apse. In the 15th century, the nave was enlarged, and the presbytery was rebuilt into polygonal one. From the north side, the monastery buildings in the form of four wings of two-storey buildings adjoined the church. Reconstruction of the fortress led to the dismantling of the church and monastery and the erection of the perimeter wall on a plan similar to a trapezoid with four low, thick towers in the corners.

Current state

In addition to the fortifications in the form of a complete circumference of the defensive wall with four towers, the ruins of the former monastery and part of the original romanesque church with the best preserved sacristy, survived.

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bibliography:
Wasielewski A., Zamki i zamczyska Słowacji, Białystok 2008.