Levoca – Franciscan monastery

History

   The church together with the adjacent monastery began to be built in the first half of the fourteenth century. The construction was completed at the end of the century, thanks to the donation of one of the greatest Upper Hungarian noblemen of that time, called Magister Doncz. In the 14th and 15th centuries, the monastery was one of the main monastic centers in the Spiš region. In the years of the Reformation it passed into the hands of Protestants. During the Counter-Reformation in the 17th century, the church and the monastery were taken over by the Jesuits. After them, the Minorites settled in it, and finally the Norbertians. In 1671, the nave of the church was rebuilt in the baroque style, but most details of the gothic stonework were preserved.

Architecture

   A monastery church is an orientated, three-nave hall structure with a strongly elongated, polygonal ended chancel, typical of monastic architecture. The whole was covered with prominent buttresses, between which large ogival windows decorated with traceries were placed. On the western side, the Polish Gate was placed at the church, that is a passage placed in a four-sided tower, providing communication along the underwall street, and at the same time the original entrance to the monastery’s economic area and side entrance to the monastery.
   Inside the church, from the south, led a gothic, profiled, pointed ogival portal, and next, currently walled, more modest but also a gothic portal. Inside, on the northern wall of the nave and the sacristy, polychromes from the mid-fourteenth and fifteenth centuries have preserved. The interior of the church was covered with cross-rib vaults.
   The church from the west side was adjacent to the city defensive wall, while in the north, there were monastery buildings attached to it. It consisted of only two wings: north and east, which together with cloisters surrounded the monastery courtyard. On its western side, due to the lack of space, there was only a string of cloisters, behind which was a underwall street, important for defensive reasons, because it provided access to the city’s fortifications to the townspeople. In the most important eastern wing there was a refectory in the northern part (dining room), separated by a corridor from the chapter house, dormitory (bedroom of monks) and the sacristy next to the church. The wing had the upper storey covered with flat, wooden ceilings. The refectory formed the north-east corner of the monastery, and its longitudinal axis on the east-west line was joint to the northern wing. Such location was intentional, because the northern wing, placed for practical reasons on a less sunny side, had economic functions. It housed a kitchen, pantries and cellars. Located right next to the refectory, the kitchen was spacious, equipped with a hearth and a large chimney. The northern wing was connected directly to the water source and the waste pits on the outer ward. There, on the north side, there were stables and a fenced mill, which also served a defensive role within the city fortifications.

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bibliography:
Urbanová N., Starý kláštor minoritov v Levoči – novšie poznatky o jeho stavebnom vývoji [w:] Najnovšie poznatky z výskumov stredovekých pamiatok na Gotickej ceste – Zborník Gotická cesta 2/2016, Bratislava 2018.

Website zabytkowekoscioly.net, Lewocza, kościół Królowej Aniołów, dawny minorytów.