Martinček – St Martin’s Church


   The church was built around 1260. It served as a parish temple for the nearby towns of Likava and Lisková, as the village of Martinček was founded at the church until several centuries later. Around 1320, the entire interior was decorated with valuable frescoes. They were destroyed in the seventeenth century, because this object was used by Protestants. Subsequent changes were made in the 18th and in the second half of the 19th century. Then, new windows were installed on the south side of the nave and presbytery, and the building was reinforced with buttresses. The last renovation took place in the years 1993 – 1998, and then in the years 1999-2002 and in 2006, when the frescoes were discovered and their restaurant was completed.


    The church was built in a dominant position, on a hill on the eastern slope of Mnich mountain. At the time of its construction, it was a typical early Gothic building with a rectangular long nave and a narrower, straight-ended, square chancel. It is not certain whether the west tower already existed in the first stage or it was added in the first half of the 14th century. In that century, however, a rectangular sacristy was certainly built on the north side.
   The interior of the church was originally illuminated by very narrow windows with small openings splayed on both sides (probably similar to the chancel window preserved in the eastern wall). The windows placed in the tower were distinguished: narrow, two-light, pierced on each side on the top floor, where bells were hung, and a large ogival window set in the western façade, filled with a stone tracery dividing them into three parts and three circles with trefoils. The entrance to the church led from the south to the nave through the ogival early Gothic portal. Another, in the gothic style, led from the chancel to the sacristy (probably transformed in the 19th century).
   Inside, a pointed-arched chancel arcade was equipped with cornices decorated with an unconventional ornament in the form of shallowly cut repeating triangles. Their tops point downwards on the left side of the arch and upwards on the right side. The nave of the church was not vaulted, but the stone vault, despite the lack of external buttresses, received a single bay of the presbytery. A cross vault was used with ribs fastened with a decorative boss and falling in the corners onto carved corbels.
   The walls, vaults and window jambs of the presbytery were covered around 1300-1320 with colorful polychromes, stylishly late Romanesque with a strong Byzantine influence. In addition to the figures of angels, on the chancel vault are figures of Christ and the Mother of God, and on the walls are the scene of Abraham’s Womb with kings David and Solomon, as well as other royal figures with musical instruments in their hands. In the nave, the walls are decorated with the Last Judgment cycle and the figures of St. John the Baptist and St. Martin.

Current state

   The building has been preserved in its almost original condition without any major early modern interventions, although unfortunately the southern window openings of the nave and chancel were transformed into rectangular and styleless, and the tower’s helmet received a baroque form. Inside the presbytery of the church, a group of murals has been preserved, which are one of the best kept in Slovakia and probably the oldest of its kind in Liptov region.

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Website, Martinček.