Parish Church of St. Nicolas, Presov, Slovakia

Hello everybody!

Now continueing with the second point in my journey, pilgrimage, this amazing Cathedral of St. Nicholas located in a huge district city of Prešov.

The concathedral of Saint Nicholas in Prešov is one of the oldest and most important churches in Slovakia. External dimensions of concathedral are 54,7 meters in length, 34,45 in width. The height of indoor nave is 16 m and tower reaches a height of 71 meters. The temple is a Late Gothic hall-type church (height of all naves is the same) with three naves.

The cathedral is a Hall temple with a polygonal ending of the presbytery, which is vaulted in Gothic style with net and stellar vaults. There is a prolonged choir with stellar vaults connected to the main presbytery with pointed arch on the north side of the presbytery. Arches in the upper part are designed as tribunes. The choir extension in the south side have a polygonal end and stellar vault. Pointed arcades separate the individual naves. Arcades are supported by massive polygonal pillars. A vaulting of the main nave is different from the side naves. The nave has a Late Gothic stellar vault and the side naves have stellar and net vaults. Parts of bend shafts and brackets on the north side have been preserved from the original Gothic church. The south part of the side nave is vaulted with cross vault with figural brackets at its end. The cathedral has original Gothic windows with graduated tracery all around its circuit. The original supporting pillars are preserved as well. The domination of the building is the tower, which has a Pseudo-Gothic arcades and high pyramidal roof, which was built in 1903. The entrance of the tower is with a Gothic portal. There were built smaller towers as a decoration on the corners of the main tower.

There is a Late Gothic portal on the south side. Its lining is richly profiled and crossed in the peak. The portal area is decorated with blind flamboyant tracery. It leads into the southern stellar vaulted hall, which was built in 1509. Another church portal is on the north side. It is smaller and it has retained its original Gothic carved door from the 15th century. It leads to spiral staircase finishing in the oratory on the second floor. The original main Gothic portal was rebuilt and reduced in the late 18th century. The decoration of “coins” ornaments was placed into the lining of reduced portal.

The church was built in the middle of the 14th century in the widest part of the square as a spacious three nave structure, on the foundations of an earlier sacral building from the 13th century. From this building remained only brackets on the front side of the medieval triumphal arch, rests of shafts and brackets in the form of a man’s head on the peripheral wall of the northern nave. The northern portal with the tracery panels in so called soft decoration style were carved around 1400. A fire in 1418 destroyed construction, but in 1420 to 1440 the construction of the northern presbytery continued with vaulting two bays of four armed stellar-vaults. It was inspirated by the Czech Gothic architecture of Peter Parler. The whole triumphal arch was finished around the year 1440. The middle presbytery was extended and vaulted with net and stellar vault.

The third stage, which was conceptually unifying existing disparate complex, is associated with the name of the builder John Brengyszeyna, who was leading master of the Late Gothic reconstruction of the church in the years 1502-1515. In 1502 the building expanded in the south in the Late Gothic style. Three naves were completed in 1505. The entire reconstruction was completed in 1515. During this period sanctuary side was vaulted, entrance hall of the church was finished and jambs and windows were stone craved. Master builder Brengyszeyna cooperated with stonemason Nicholas from Levoca.

The new church nave and the south hallway with oratory were built in 1511. Oratory has decoration with Late Gothic motifs of rotating flamed tracery. As it is known from the latest research, vaulted bolts in the southern nave still have the original polychrome colours. Stone portraits of Hungarian kings: st. Ladislaus, st. Stephen. and st. Imrich on the heel of vault on the southern wall of the south nave were polychromed by painter Peter Moler. Fillings of tracery windows were painted red, arch ribs in naves were painted white. An inscription tape was painted on the triumphal arch of the south with the beginning of rebuilding of the temple in 1502. In 1514-1515 Master Jan rebuilt the temple tower. He vaulted the tower with circular vault on the ground floor. It is the only circular vault in Eastern Slovakia.

The temple has undergone repairs after fire in 1711 and 1788, when the southern Baroque-classical portal with carved gate and original fittings was built. In the first half of the 18th century side altar of the church of St. Anthony of Padua has been added and later Resurrection altar and altar of St. Cross.

In the beginning of the 19th century the northern portico was built, in 1823 the cemetery and stone fence around the church was removed. In the years 1903-1904 church tower was rebuilt in Neo – Gothic style by the architect F. Schulek. Interior modifications in 1914 and in the thirties were focused on exchanging the floor. That time the monochrome painting of architectural stone elements were mechanically removed. In the fifties windows of the south nave and presbytery were filed with new stained glass windows. The floor was paved with travertine tiles, the phonics and the new Cross Way lit from behind from stained glass was installed. In the years 1981-1989 last major repair of the church took place.

Great Organ

Five-part Renaissance – early Baroque organ from the 17th century, decorated with golden eared ornaments, has winged heads and statues of angels on its wings. In its peak rests the statue of St. Giorgio. Baroque tracery of chorus from the second half of the 18th century contains a small organ decorated with acanthus ornamentation. On the windowsill there are reliefs of the apostles individually separated by pilasters with festoons and acanth. It is located in the western part. It consists of 43 registers placed in three boxes. It has 3480 pipes and 20 bells. Threemanual game table controls valves using a pneumatic tracker.

Small Organ

On the side chorus there is another organ in the Renaissance – early Baroque style from the second half of the 17th century. It is located in the main sanctuary of the Renaissance chorus. It is decorated with eared ornaments and statues of angels. Sill of the organ body is polygonal and there are images with scenes of the Annunciation, the Birth and Adoration of three Kings placed. The inside of the body contains 378 pipes of different sizes. Whistles of prospectus are original. The way of painting the biggest decoration is remarkable. It is wrapped with leaves and tassels. Nowadays it is an unused tool. It is important to realize that only the cabinet and pipes which are disconnected and partially damaged are original. The inside of the instrument is Tucek’s organ, op. 299 with outlet tube and a romantic disposition. The organ has been reconstructed at the same time as the reconstruction of major organ by the same company in the 1920s.



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