Hamuliakovo – Holy Cross Church

History

   The first building in the area of ​​today’s church was a polygonal, octagonal rotunda, built around 1220. After about 40 years, it was enlarged into a single-nave church with a tower. Subsequent reconstructions took place in the Baroque period, and later in the 19th century. At that time, a sacristy was built on the northern side of the chancel, and due to the problems of the structure with the static, the chancel was reinforced with buttresses. Additionally, a brick vestibule was added in front of the original Romanesque portal. In the early 1930s, the rebuilding of the tilting tower was considered, but fortunately the authorities did not allow it, due to the great value of the church. In the 70s of the last century, research was carried out, the results of which became the basis for the renovation project of the monument in 1979-1981, during which, among others, medieval wall paintings were discovered. After the building was statically secured, because it was still in danger of collapsing, the early modern buttresses at the presbytery and the southern vestibule were removed.

Architecture

   The original brick rotunda was an unusual building, as it was octagonal, which indicated the imminent rise of the Gothic style, and had rich decorations on the external facades (the older use of polygons in the apses was used only in the church in Bína). It was also interesting to give the upper and lower parts of the rotunda a different shape. The upper part, richly decorated with pilaster strips and a frieze, and pierced with tall, though narrow, splayed windows, was connected with the completely smooth façades of the lower part, set on a profiled plinth. The windows there were also pierced in it, but lower, wider and with delicately marked trefoils.
   After the western walls of the rotunda were demolished, it became the presbytery of the late Romanesque church. The new temple was erected as a single-nave building on a rectangular plan with a four-sided tower on the west side. On the top three floors, it was illuminated by two-light windows in semicircular recesses, gradually larger on each higher floor. The nave was pierced from the south with three very narrow and high windows, basically slits with minimal splayed from the outside. Between them, in a shallow avant-corps with two “turrets” with pyramid-shaped ends, a romanesque entrance portal was embedded. It received a stepped form with a semicircular archivolt and tympanum.
   Inside, in the western part of the nave, a simple gallery was placed, based on two four-sided pillars and three semicircular arcades, which was accessible from the tower and illuminated with one slit window. The nave was originally covered with a wooden ceiling, while in the chancel an interesting combination of a classic barrel vault with polygonal perimeter walls was used. At the joint of the vault with the walls, it was embedded along the entire internal circumference of the cornice. In the presbytery there was also built a niche, probably a sedilia, with a decorative triangular gable, two smaller recesses – shelves, and the walls, chancel arch and vault were covered at the end of the 13th century with colorful polychromes.

Current state

   The church in Hamuliakovo is today one of the most valuable late-Romanesque monuments in Slovakia, both due to the state of preservation and the use of an older rotunda for its construction, as well as the use of several unconventional or rarely used solutions (two levels of the rotunda, interpenetration of Romanesque and Gothic features). What’s more, in its interior there is a gallery, original medieval polychromes and elements of architectural details (niches, vault, recesses). The church can be viewed from the inside by prior arrangement. Contacts can be found on the municipality’s website.

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bibliography:
Mencl V., Stredoveká architektúra na Slovensku, Praha 1937.

Website apsida.sk, Hamuliakovo.