Klížske Hradište – St Michael’s Church


   Church of St. Michael was built in the first half of the 1120s, probably on the initiative of a local nobleman or the Benedictine abbey in Klíž, because it stood on the monastery grounds. The church served its purposes for almost seven centuries and was in good condition in 1828. Gradually, however, it began to disintegrate in the following decades, probably due to the fact that in 1801 a new church was built in the village, and the old one began to be neglected. The restoration was made by the art historian Václav Mencel in 1936. Thanks to this, the church received a new roof, a flat ceiling and a wooden matroneum.


   The church was erected on a steep slope above the village. The small stone building consists of a rectangular nave, measuring 3,92 x 5,33 meters, an eastern semicircular apse and an unusual, asymmetrically connected, cylindrical tower, in the middle of which a staircase runs. Under the roof, in all corners of the nave, stone corbels decorated with a relief of a cross were installed. Two small romanesque windows were placed only in the south elevation of the nave, a single additionally illuminated the apse. The entrance portal was placed rather unusually in the corner of the west façade, next to the tower. A spiral staircase inside the turret led to a wooden gallery in the nave. Originally, it reached up to half of its height, which can be seen from the holes for the beams. The interior of the nave was covered with a wooden ceiling, while the apse was covered with a conch, originally covered with colorful polychromes.

Current state

   The church is a real jewel of a Romanesque building art and a unique monument in Slovakia, preserved in perfect condition without any early modern transformations, with some unique solutions (west tower, location of the entry). The preserved original architectural details include the early-Romanesque western portal, slit windows, and the conch of the apse with relics of paintings. Today, the church no longer serves liturgical purposes, but is located on a used cemetery. The latest examination of the church from 2023 allowed to collect of wood from several original elements of the building, on the basis of which it was possible to precisely date the origins of the church (trees from which the roof truss was built over the eastern part of the nave were cut down at the turn of 1125 and 1126).

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Bóna M., Choma M., Nové zistenia k datovaniu kostola sv. Michala v Klížskom Hradišti, “Nový Clus”, XXIX/2024.
Mencl V., Stredoveká architektúra na Slovensku, Praha 1937.
Podolinský Š., Románske kostoly, Bratislava 2009.
Tomaszewski A., Romańskie kościoły z emporami zachodnimi na obszarze Polski, Czech i Węgier, Wrocław 1974.