Nitra – St Emmeram basilica

History

   Pre-romanesque church of St. John the Baptist in Nitra was probably founded in the 11th century, but its foundations according to the latest archaeological research date back to the ninth century. After the fire in the second half of the 13th century, it was rebuilt, and after being destroyed by the army by Matthew Csák in 1317, it was joined to a new gothic building, called upper church. From then on, it served as a chapter seat and then as a treasury of cathedral jewels. The upper church was built in the years 1333 – 1355. Today’s appearance the cathedral gained in 1710-1736 during the baroque reconstruction. In the years 2007-2013, thorough renovation works were carried out in the basilica.

Architecture

   The original pre-romanesque church of St. John consisted of a rectangular nave ended with an four-sided chancel from the east. At the end of the twelfth or early thirteenth century, the chancel was pulled down to allow the temple to be enlarged to the east. At that time, the church received a new, horseshoe-shaped, early romanesque apse. A crypt was created under the church, which reached a length of about 30 meters and took almost the entire length of the nave. It was a complex solution, because the builders had to dig in the rock between 1,6 and 1,8 meters deep.
   The gothic reconstruction of the whole church in 1333-1355, as a result of which the so-called the upper church appeared, also touched the romanesque chapel. Part of the northern wall of the church was dismantled to free the area for the gothic building. It stood on the north side, between the older building and the perimeter wall of the Nitra Castle. It was erected as a single-nave building with a polygonal closure on the eastern side, reinforced with numerous buttresses.

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bibliography:
Wasielewski A., Zamki i zamczyska Słowacji, Białystok 2008.
Website apsida.sk, Nitra – románska kaplnka.