Zolná – St Matthew’s Church

History

   According to the documents of archbishop Thomas of Esztergom, in 1311, the consent for the construction of a defensive church in the village of Zolná was given to Bychor and Zubrat, sons of Zvolen zupan Tobias. However, the building is older, and experts date it from 1260-1280. The document is probably related to a large reconstruction of the church, which dates back to 1310-1320. In the period 1360-1390 the interior of the church was decorated with frescoes, that have survived to this day. The youngest frescoes were created at the beginning of the 16th century.
  
During the Reformation the temple passed into the hands of Protestants, Catholics regained it in 1709. In the sixteenth century, the chancel was reinforced in the corners with buttresses, and the entire building was surrounded by a stone wall. At the end of the 17th century, a wooden matroneum was built in the western part of the nave, and the interior was equipped with baroque furnitures. In 1773, the church underwent further baroque adaptations.
  
At the end of World War II temple suffered serious damages, when the artillery fire hit the southern wall of the nave and destroyed the vault of vestry. In the 1970s the church was completely renovated, the buttresses were removed and the medieval frescoes were restored. Archaeological research was carried out in 1993, and in 2011 a comprehensive renovation of the building began.

Architecture

   The original church from the 13th century was erected as a single-nave building with a polygonal presbytery and a western tower. In 1310-1320 the nave was widened, the presbytery was vaulted and the sacristy was erected from the north. The facades of the church were painted white and complemented by red quadrangles. Gothic frescoes have been preserved on the northern wall of the nave and at the chancel arch.
   The church presents an intermediate form between the romanesque period and the gothic. The latter represents a polygonal ended chancel, a rib vault of the interior with a decorative boss fastened in the sacristy and an ogival, large window with a tracery in the southern wall of the nave. Romanesque character, however, has narrow windows with semi-circular finials.

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bibliography:
Website apsida.sk, Zolná.