Trnava is also referred to as the Slovak Rome due its architectural gems and sacral monuments. As early as in the Middle Ages, Trnava was an important centre of Gothic religious and lay architecture – St. Nicolas’s Church, St. Helen’s Church and several church monastery complexes (Clarist, Franciscan and Dominican) were built in this period. The document issued by King Belo IV in 1238, which contained privileges of the free royal borough for Trnava as the first Slovak town, is much more important in respect. Only several towns of central Europe can boast such large section of castle walls as that surviving in the eastern and western parts of the town core. For their high level of preservation the walls are unique and significant monuments of the kind in terms of Europe. Fortifications are from the 13th to 16th centuries.
The dominant of the square and in fact of the town, is the town tower. Master Jacob built it in 1574 on Gothic foundations and its view terrace provides a perfect view of Trnava and its environs.
The Early Baroque building of national significance, university church of St. John the Baptist is one of the most valuable historical monuments of Trnava. The monumental wooden main altar from 1640 dominates in its interior. Additional buildings including the college, grammar school, university, seminars and refectories accompany the university church.
Another Gothic monument, St. Nicholas Basilica, parish church stands on the square Námestie Sv. Mikuláša on the site of an older Romanesque church from the 14th century. It was a cathedral church of the Esztergom Archbishop in the years 1543-1820. Trnava is the first Slovak metropolitan seat of archbishop since 1978.
The District hospital was built 1824. The building of the theatre started in May 1831 and the first performance was played at Christmas. Both of the Trnava synagogues, historical structures with oriental motifs, date back to the 19th century. The Synagogue Status Quo Ante currently houses the Jána Koniareka art gallery.References:
The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.
Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.
The two monasteries were finally donated by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as penalty for their marriage against the Pope"s ruling. William was buried here; Matilda was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. Unfortunately William"s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda"s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered.
As a consequence of the Wars of Religion, the high lantern tower in the middle of the church collapsed and was never rebuilt. The Benedictine abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and the abbey church became a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey buildings accommodated a prestigious high school, the Lycée Malherbe. During the Normandy Landings in 1944, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).