These articles were published in the Spectacular Slovakia travel guide, published annually by The Slovak Spectator since 1996. The latest editions can be obtained from our online shop.

Hamuliakovo: The left bank

By James Thomson

    Frescoes inside the church in Hamuliakovo.
 Frescoes inside the church in Hamuliakovo.
 Photos by James Thomson

Across the river from Čuňovo (about a kilometre as the crow flies, but requiring a detour via Bratislava, unless you have a boat) is Hamuliakovo. This prosperous village is the site of one of the earliest churches in the area, dating from the second half of the thirteenth century.

The church is distinctive both from the outside and within. The exterior is notable for its massive walls - necessary to support the building, since it has no buttresses - and its leaning tower. Nothing very dramatic (the locals say it has stabilised, and since it's survived for three quarters of a millennium you'd have to be pretty unlucky for it to fall on you), just a slight, but noticeable, list which is the result of the church having settled unevenly on a site where sand and gravel beds meet.

Inside are a distinctive set of mediaeval frescoes. These were discovered at the end of the nineteenth century under 7 centimetres of plaster. They depict 12 consecration crosses, and Christ in a mandorla, on the ceiling of the apse, surrounded by animals, representing the gospels.

Around the windows of the polygonal apse are paintings of the 12 apostles.

A gallery at the back of the nave would originally have been reserved for the sponsor of the church (presumably a local landowner), who would have received mass there.

And behind the altar is a reminder of the village's precarious position: a series of holes in the wall of the apse which were used to drain the church and allow it to dry after frequent floods.

These articles and related information were published in Spectacular Slovakia 2009, which you can obtain from our online shop.

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