We are fixing the access road!

After years of using the access road, rains in the past, and increasing traffic to the parking lot, its condition has deteriorated rapidly.
That’s why we decided in the autumn that despite the fact that the owner (Slovak Republic or Slovak Land Fund) does not have the resources to fix it (and it was impossible to do anything with it), we let someone to fix it.

We decided to repair it “from our own” – from the grants and donations of the sponsors that we managed to gain this year. In 2017 the grants were successful so you can now enjoy considerably better access to the parking lot near the woods.



Work done in 2017

The work season at Katarínka was finished with completion of almost all planned targets that were outlined in the article with the plan for season 2017.

Due to the fact that at the beginning of the season the tower was made available to public, the work in it was adjusted to avoid disturbing the guided visits. We were pointing windows arches and jambs on the first and second floor of the tower, mainly from the outer side (see picture comparison below).

The head of the pillar in the north-east corner of the church nave was repaired and grassed over. Next to it, there is the last remaining pillar that will be repaired the next season. In both the interior and exterior of the church, plasters were being fixed and holes filled with mortar, including the entry to the tower.

The southern chancel wall was deeply re-pointed from both sides, its top was disassembled and masoned anew. The masonry at the top was covered with a clay layer covered with grass clumps in order to protect the new mortar from frost and other weather conditions (see picture comparison below).

In the monastery, the work was carried out mostly in the last three cells and in the corridor. The work included pointing, fixing of plasters and repairing jambs of doors and windows.

Archaeology was carried out on a large scale; the entrance to Erdődy crypt and its side wall were discovered. During the excavation for lightning conductor, pieces of floor were found in the church nave and the pedestal of big Calvary statue (that was after the monastery dissolution moved to Dechtice) was discovered to the left of the monastery entrance.

Krypta 2017

In the middle of summer, during the weekend July 21-23, the long awaited lime slaking was done; the lime hole was filled with nine tons of lime. After the season, in autumn, window shutters were installed to protect the 5th tower floor from snow and rain.

 Hasenie vápna 2017


Feast of St. Catherine 2017 – Report

On Wednesday, 22 November 2017, a few days before the Feast of St. Catherine, Katarínka Feast took place in the Franciscan monastery in Bratislava. The feast started with a holy mass, whose main celebrant was Branislav (Beren) Popelka, parish priest in Piešťany. The festive preacher was Ondrej (Chesed) Chrvala, secretary for youth of the Slovak Bishops’ Conference. Following the Gospel reading, he invited the participants to have courage to develop the gifts they have been given by God, because God looks more at one‘s effort that at results. He presented an interesting reflection that a servant who incorrectly invests his pound and loses it, would be in better position before his master that the one who fearfully hides his pound.

The holy mass was accompanied by music and songs of the choir consisting of Katarínka volunteers. Shortly before the end of the mass, the lights went off due to electric short circuit. Thanks to this, people in the church could experience the night atmosphere of Katarínka.

The holy mass was followed by a gathering with space for conversations, food (bread slices with pork fat and onion). Participants could also see an exhibition about Katarínka, photos from this year, or support this volunteer project by paying for some souvenirs, for example postcards, pens, pencils, fridge magnets.



Sightseeing tower at Katarínka – more information

Sightseeing tower at Katarínka is closed by default. It will be open only during specified dates – see on the right – Nearest tower opening.

Good weather is a must. Entries occur every top of the hour*; max. 16 visitors can enter the tower at one time and only with 2 guides.

Children taller than 130 cm can enter only accompanied by an adult person: 1 adult on 1 child** (it is necessary to oversee the child all the time and stairs are steep, going up to 30 m).

Standard guided tour in the sightseeing tower takes 25-40 minutes.

* Permanent access to sightseeing tower is not guaranteed – depending on availability of guides, number of visitors and weather – tower must be closed in case of bad weather. Current information about the next sightseeing is always available directly under the tower.

** Limitations for children are due to steep and long stairs (almost like ladders). Therefore, each child/teenager must be secured and accompanied by an adult. Height limitation for young children is due to steep stairs and also due to height of window ledges and wall edge on the top – see photos. Smaller children would not see anything and it is forbidden to lift children up.


Night of castles and ruins at Katarínka

The Night of castles and ruins at Katarínka turned out well, despite unfavourable weather forecast. Katarínka again took part this year in the Slovak countrywide event Night of castles and ruins, which is under the auspices of civic association Zachráňme hrady.

Parson Branislav Popelka from Piešťany and Miroslav Kováč from Dechtice served the Holy Mass in the area of the church.

Since it did not rain and the wind calmed down, approximately 150 visitors were able to enjoy both the superb atmosphere and an impressive concert of baroque virtuosi. It is interesting that a large part of the pieces was composed by Pantaleón Roškovský, who was a Franciscan that used to act around Katarínka. Not only his compositions, but also pieces of other baroque authors were performed by artists Adam Štefunko (electric organ) and Michal Klas (baroque violin, vocals).

Subtle illumination of the ruins was very impressive, as well as night tours, which were accompanied by traditional monastic dish – water and bread with butter and onions. Even before the start of the event, it was possible to visit the reconstructed 30-meter high tower, where the visitors could enjoy a moving view and listen to a detailed commentary given by guides.

We are very satisfied with both the attendance and the atmospere of the event, because we did not expect so many visitors with such weather conditions. However, many came and they obtained a reward in the form of a splendid evening at Katarínka.


Doors Open Day at Katarínka – sightseeing tower opening

Wednesday 5 July 2017 was the day of the biggest event of the year at Katarínka. The program of doors open day at Katarínka attracted more than 1,000 visitors from all parts of Slovakia. The focus was on the sightseeing tower which the volunteers from will Katarínka will open to public from 6 July.

The first people came to enjoy the peace and natural scenery even before the official beginning of the program. The main program started with a holy mass in the ruins of the church. The mass was celebrated by Franciscan Felix Mária (ThLic. Zdenko Žiška) and parish priest from Dechtice Miroslav Kováč. It was followed by a theater performance that described the interesting history of Church and Monastery of St. Catherine of Alexandria. Afterwards, visitors could enjoy the food prepared by the volunteers from Katarínka. The program continued with guided tours and various creative workshops for children.

After years of active volunteering activities, mainly in summer months, we are announcing opening of the sightseeing tower for general public, starting from 6 July. During doors open day, the tower was festively blessed, with presence of the invited guests. Entrance to the tower is possible only during good weather for max. 16 visitors and together with 2 guides. No special authorization is needed in advance; the tower will be (with a few exceptions) open during whole summer between 8:00 and 17:00.

Founder of Katarínka project, Peter Herceg: “We are very pleased that we can share this success with others. After years of hard work, when hundreds of volunteers were taking turns here, we can open the sightseeing tower for public. Visitors can get to the top of a 30-meter high tower and enjoy the view of surroundings – Little Carpathians. We ask visitors for their patience, because we do not know how big will be the demand. A situation can occur when more visitors come and not everyone will be allowed to enter the tower. These limitations are related mainly to security measurements. We also in advance would like to point out that visitors should be careful when going up or down the tower, because the stairs are rather steep. We are looking forward to all visitors and believe that the sightseeing will be worth it.”