European Heritage Days Taking Place in Zvolen

Master Paul's famous wooden Gothic altar at Saint James Basilica in Levoca. (Photo by TASR)

Bratislava/Zvolen, September 6 (TASR) – Underground and backstage premises of historical palaces and museums that aren’t ordinarily accessible to the public are open in Zvolen (Banska Bystrica region) between September 3-11, TASR learnt on Tuesday.

The event is part of European Heritage Days, organised by the Council of Europe and European Commission in 50 countries.

“Modern sites that aren’t included on the list of national cultural monuments have also joined the project, such as the University of Zvolen,” said Culture Ministry Monument Protection Department director Zuzana Ondrejkova at a press conference in Bratislava. “Of course, there’s also Zvolen Castle and Pusty Hrad (Deserted Castle) as the most attractive features for tourists [in Zvolen]. Nevertheless, it’s quite a different thing to get an expert guide. Gothic churches in villages around Zvolen will also be accessible, apart from many other sites.”

Meanwhile, the Slovak National Museum (SNM) is preparing a major exhibition of Slovak Gothic treasures in Rome later this month that includes selected works of the famous 15-16th century artist Master Paul of Levoca. The exhibition at the Palazzo del Quirinale, the residence of Italian presidents, should be opened by the presidents of Italy and Slovakia, Sergio Mattarella and Andrej Kiska, respectively, on September 29.

These works of Master Paul, the most prominent figure of late Gothic art in Slovakia, are leaving Slovakia for only the second time ever. They’ve been lent for this purpose by their owners – Roman Catholic parishes in the traditional region of Spis (located now in both Kosice and Presov regions), including Levoca, Spisska Bela, Spisska Kapitula and Spisske Vlachy, as well as the Saris Museum in Bardejov (Presov region).

Apart from sculptural pieces, entire 16th century altar wing panels from Roznava (Kosice region) and Lipany (Presov region) have also been provided for the exhibition. A total of 35 unique items will be featured at the Palazzo del Quirinale. This includes rare items of liturgical use – chalices, crosses and monstrances – as well as precious priestly robes from various parishes in Slovakia.

“It’s going to take place within our Presidency of the Council of the European Union. We haven’t had such a major Gothic exposition abroad so far, and I believe that we’ll stage a rerun at Bratislava Castle in 2017,” said SNM general director Viktor Jasan.