Kopčany – St Margaret’s Church


   The church was built in the 9th or 10th century during the Great Moravian period and is one of the oldest buildings in Slovakia. The first major reconstruction of the building took place around the middle of the 13th century. The windows on the north side were replaced with new, gothic ones. At the turn of the thirteenth and fourteenth century, the entire interior was decorated with frescoes, and about a century later, windows were enlarged on the south side of the nave to the gothic form. Also in the fifteenth century, the original entrance portal was replaced with a new gothic one. Subsequent modifications occurred in the 17th and 18th centuries and also related to windows. The first archaeological research around the church was carried out in 1964, and in 2000, the church renovation was started.


   The building is a small (11.9 x 5.2 meter) pre-romanesque one-nave temple with a square presbytery (unsymmetrical) on the east side. Both parts were made of a sandstone bonded with strong mortar. Excavations showed that originally from the west side the church also had square narthex (3.8 x 2.7 meters), that is the covered vestibule. It was connected along the entire width of the west facade and from there also an entrance led to it. In the southern part of the vestibule there was a brick object, interpreted as a piscina or grave. The entrance to the nave led through a narrow (1.1 meter) portal in the facade, above which a small half-round window was placed. Two more windows illuminated the nave from the sides and the chancel from the eastern and southern walls. The nave was originally covered with either a barrel vault or it was open to a roof truss, while the chancel originally had a barrel vault. Both rooms were not originally isolated from each other and had an clay floor at the same height.

Current state

   The church is one of the most valuable sacral monuments, is one of the oldest preserved churches in Slovakia and the most important and the only whole preserved monument of Great Moravian architecture.

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Stredoveký kostol. Historické a funkčné premeny architektúry, red. Pomfyová B., Bratislava 2015.
Website apsida.sk, Kopčany.