St George’s Church in Kostoľany pod Tribečom represents a unique example of pre-Romanesque religious architecture. It is the only church still in existence in Central Europe with a relatively well preserved cycle of wall paintings that are representative of the so-called pre-Romanesque art.
The church has undergone a number of building phases. The first one is represented by a small wooden structure, of which today are preserved only a few post-pits. The extent of this building phase has more or less been copied by the subsequent stone church.
The pre-Romanesque walled church was built of quarry stones. The interior was divided into two parts: a presbytery in the shape of an irregular trapezoid and a rectangular nave. The presbytery has a barrel vault and there is no triumphal arch that would separate it from the nave. This fact seems to have been influenced by the wall paintings, whose iconography, style and technology belong to the sphere of pre-Romanesque art. They are not only being the oldest preserved paintings in our region but are also an important source for the study of the intellectual world and the standards of early mediaeval local elites and their contacts and influences during this period. The walled Church of St George and its paintings can be dated roughly to around 1000, more specifically to the first decades of the 11th century.
From the Middle Ages to the Modern era the church underwent multiple renovations. Today’s three-room division consists of a single pre-Romanesque nave with presbytery, late Romanesque part with the gallery and tower and a modern annex with independent entrance on the western side.References:
The castle of La Iruela, small but astonishing, is located on the top of a steep crag in Sierra de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park. From the castle, impressive views of the surrounding area and of the town can be enjoyed.
The keep dates from the Christian era. It has a square base and small dimensions and is located at the highest part of the crag.
There are some other enclosures within the tower that create a small alcázar which is difficult to access.
In a lower area of the castle, protected with defensive remains of rammed earth and irregular masonry, is an old Muslim farmstead.
After a recent restoration, an open-air theater has been built on La Iruela castle enclosure. This theater is a tribute to the Greek and Classic Eras and holds various artistic and cultural shows throughout the year.
The first traces of human activity in La Iruela area are dated from the Copper Age. An intense occupation continued until the Bronze Age.
Originally, La Iruela (like Cazorla) was a modest farmstead. From the 11th century, a wall and a small fortress were built on the hill to protect the farmers.
Around 1231, don Rodrigo Ximénez de Rada, Archbishop of Toledo, conquered La Iruela and made it part of the Adelantamiento de Cazorla. Over the Muslim fortress, the current fortress was built.
Once the military use of the fortress ended, it was used as cemetery.