Oldest photo of Katarínka found

In 2018, a real gem for our organization was discovered. In the Slovak National Archive in Bratislava, the oldest surviving photograph (so far) of Katarínka, dated 1904, was discovered. The photo is located in the photo album of the Pálffy family, who are probably also present in the photo itself. It is an irreplaceable source of information for our organization, as the photograph provided us with new, previously unknown facts about Katarínka. This photograph was first presented internally to members and associates of our organization O.Z. Katarínka, during the celebrations of the 400th anniversary of Katarínka. But now we are making it available to the general public for the first time.

katarinka_1904_foto

The timing of the photo (1904) is really fortunate for us. This is because only a year later after the photo was taken, in 1905, the four statues which were originally placed at the top of the tower, were thrown down from the top of the tower into piles of wood and hay and then transported to the vicinity of the Pálffy tomb at the cemetery in Smolenice, where they still can be found to this very day. So thanks to this photo, we can now see that the statues were not on the corners of the tower, as originally thought, but were located in the middle of its walls instead.

These three interesting parts of Katarínka can be seen on the photo, which are not standing anymore:

  • Brick roof of the tower with holes and decorative volutes on the edges.
  • Gable of the presbytery on the far left of the photo and the eastern wall of the presbytery with the imprint of the monastery roof. Today, nothing of them stands.
  • The northern wall of the monastery (to which wooden stables are added on the photo) – only a 1 meter high wall remains.
Detail on the original roof of the tower and the statues which were placed there originally.

Originally it was also assumed that the shape of the roof was completely different. One of the assumptions was the so-called pear-shaped roof, like most churches in Trnava have, but these ideas were wrong. Thanks to this photograph, it is possible to update the digital visualizations of what the whole church and monastery might have looked like. The photograph also provides administrative advantages in case of possible reconstruction of these no longer standing parts, as the authorities usually have problems allowing the reconstruction of parts where it is not fully documented how they originally appeared. However, the reconstruction of the roof is not considered at the moment and probably even in the future.

Katarínka thanks Tomáš Haviar for providing the photo.

For extra curious, you can download the photo in full size, here on this link.

Night of Castles and Ruins 2019

On Saturday 16 August 2019 in the evening, about 300 people attended the traditional event Night of Castles and Ruins. 25 years ago, first volunteers came to Katarínka, so also this event was a part of celebration of this anniversary.

The program started with a Holy Mass celebrated by Branislav Popelka („Beren“) and the parish priest from Dechtice Miroslav Kováč. Music during the Holy Mass was performed by the volunteer band s. Katerína. After the Mass, the traditional refreshment was offered to the visitors – bread slices with pork grease and onion, as well as tea.

After a short break, when it got already dark, the program continued with a concert of the ZOE chamber orchestra. The orchestra consisted of 8 musicians with mostly bowed string instruments, but also a harpsichord was present. The orchestra played for almost one hour and the concert consisted mainly from baroque pieces.

After the concert, a surprise was awaiting the visitors. For the first time, visitors could enter the biggest crypt in the church with a trained guide. Until last year, archaeologic research with participation of our volunteers was being carried out in the crypt.

In addition, visitors could enjoy the night atmosphere at Katarínka with special night lightning. Young volunteers guided them around the walls and presented them not only the monastery ruin and its history, but also the work of volunteers and their way of life during summer camps.

Winter tower opening – 6th of January 2019

On Sunday, 6th of January 2019, we made the tower available to the public during the winter season for the first time ever. Big thanks to every volunteer who helped to make it possible.


In total, nearly three hundred tourists came to see Katarínka.

As the event was pretty successful, we are already looking forward to repeat it next winter as well!

Nearest tower opening will be on sunday 28.04.2019 at the end of Octave of Easter pilgrimage.

Katarínka just won two awards!

We are glad to announce that our project was awarded two prizes. One of them, Fenix – Cultural landmark of the year 2017 , for our work on restoration and conservation of the tower of the ruin of St. Catherine’s Church that was once part of St. Catherine’s Monastery dedicated to St. Catherine of Alexandria, near Dechtice village. Our project representatives were awarded by this prize on November 29th, 2018, by the Minister of Culture of the Slovak Republic. The second prize that we were awarded, is the Most picturesque restored cultural landmark of the year, a public voting contest organized by SPP and SPP foundation.

 

The appraised tower restoration, which we realized between 2010 – 2017, is a truly unique accomplishment. Hundreds of our volunteers from all parts of Slovakia and even from abroad participated in this restoration without any expectation of financial compensation, using traditional methods, which were used back in the days when the tower was originally built between 1700 – 1714. The tower was opened to public in the summer of 2017 and can be visited during the summer season with our tourist guides. The lookout at the top of the tower (30 meters high) provides some very spectacular views.

 

These awards further prove that our project is an example of partnership between volunteers and professionals. The restoration was realized in partnership with researcher and preservationist Jaroslava Žuffová, structural designer Vladimír Kohút, archaeologists Ivana Kvetánová and Michal Slivka, carpenters Miroslav Čársky and Michal Hrčka and many others. For the village Dechtice, this is the second Fenix award awarded for a monument located within their municipality. In 2015, the rotunda of the Church of All Saints in Dechtice was awarded, dating back to the 12th century.

The year 2018 is marked by the celebrations of the 400th anniversary of establishment of St. Catherine’s Monastery in 1618 by the count Krištof Erdödy and his wife Barbora Thurzova. Public celebrations were held during the summer on 5th of July during the Katarínka Open Door Day. Further celebrations were held just a couple of days ago, on November 17th, in the historic manor house in Chtelnica, where the house of Erdödy lived and where they signed the establishing documents.

Besides 40 professionals and invited public figures, more than 120 of our volunteers participated. As a part of the celebrations a professional convention was held, summarizing 24 years of work, which included very interesting results from archaeology, history, art, geophysics, anthropology and other fields.