Dravce – St Elisabeth’s Church


   The church was built around 1300 by the Order of St. Anthony, as a monastery temple. They came to the village around 1288 and also built the oldest recorded by sources hospital in Slovakia. The church was rebuilt in the second half of the fourteenth century and then on a smaller scale in the fifteenth century (northern portal in the nave, pastophory and wooden stalls). In 1535, the St. Anthony convent was dissolved. In the eighteenth century, the northern sacristy was added, and in the nineteenth century, the church tower, destroyed by fire, was liquidated. Medieval frescoes covering the interior of the church were discovered in 1928 and renovated in 1930. They combine Byzantine motifs with the Italian and gothic styles and belong to the most valuable in Slovakia.


   The church was a gothic building with one nave, with a relatively long, straight-ended, two-bay chancel on the eastern side and a western tower. Monastery buildings were added to the church from the north. Shortly after completion of construction, the interior of the church was decorated with polychromes. They combined Byzantine motifs with the Italian and Gothic styles.
   In the 70s of the fourteenth century, the nave was covered with a cross-rib vault, based on two central octagonal pillars. This changed the layout of the church to a two-aisle. The chancel was topped with a cross vault already at the time of its building, therefore it was strengthened from the outside by buttresses. Similar must also have been added to the nave to absorb the forces created by the new vault.

Current state

   Today, the church is a good example of medieval Gothic architecture with rare and valuable wall paintings. Unfortunately, the west tower has not survived, the relics of its walls, after dismantling, were transformed into stepped buttresses strengthening the west wall of the nave. The entrance portals to the nave, windows with stone tracery, vault’s bosses decorated with roses and a late Gothic pastophory have been preserved from the Gothic period. Among the medieval furnishings, a group of sculptures on a beam in a chancel arch, late Gothic timber stalls, part of the wing altar and other late Gothic sculptures, including the statue of the church’s original patron, St. Anthony have survived. A stone baptismal font probably dates from the 14th-century rebuilding.

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Website apsida.sk, Dravce.