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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.
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.
See this article with images in Slovak language.
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.
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.
Sightseeing tower at Katarínka is closed by default. It will be open only during specified dates – see on the right – Nearest tower opening.
You can find more information about the tower in the Tower section.
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.”
This article is available only in Slovak language.