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.

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Founded: c. 1000 AD
Category: Religious sites in Slovakia

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