Hronský Beňadik – Benedictine monastery

History

According to historical documents, the monastery was founded by king Gejza II in 1075, in order to colonize, then rarely settled, the Hron valley and support christianity. The oldest part of the monastery complex was the romanesque basilica. On its foundations, in the years 1346 – 1375, a gothic basilica of St. Giles was built. After 1537, the monastery under the threat of Turkish attacks, was rebuilt into the fortress, joining it with defensive walls and artillery towers. Strengthening the defensive function caused the destruction of several gothic architectural elements. These appeared again in the changed shape, only as part of the alterations made at the end of the 19th century during the reconstruction, after the great fire of 1881.

Architecture

The monastery complex was erected on the plan of an irregular quadrangle. The courtyard was surrounded by cloisters with rib vaults. Around them were the monastery buildings and the church of the Virgin Mary and St. Benedict. The southern and eastern wings of the monastery were mainly residential. In the western part there were warehouses, and the north side was closed by the church and the prior’s residence. The monastery temple is a three-nave basilica with an impressive gothic entrance portal on the west side and a two-tower façade. From the southern side adjoins the late gothic chapel of Holy Blood from 1489. In relation with the renaissance reconstruction in the sixteenth century, the area of the monastery grew about three times and was reinforced with massive, cylindrical cannon towers. An additional protection was the defensive wall, which in the sixteenth century was raised, thickened and equipped with platforms for shooters.

Current state

Entrance to the monastery walls is possible, however, the object is not suitable for sightseeing. The interior of the church can be seen only in July and August, and in other periods after prior telephone notification. There is also available a courtyard and a part of the preserved gothic cloisters.

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