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.



Čečejovce

By James Thomson

The first written reference to the village of Čečejovce, which lies a short distance south-east of Košice , past the giant U.S. Steel Košice works, appeared in 1317. But its history - as Csécs (its name in Hungarian, the language which most people in the village speak) - goes back much further.

The most obvious evidence for this is Čečejovce's church. Not the large Roman Catholic one, on the north side of the main road, which is the village's dominant building; but the white-washed Protestant church down the lane opposite.

This early-Gothic structure dates from the thirteenth century and probably became part of the Reformed Church during the Rákózci Rebellion against Habsburg rule in the early 1700s. It was also probably at this time that its original, 13th-century frescoes were covered up.

This vivid cycle of paintings - unusual in that they show the entire iconographic programme - were once common in churches in the Gemer region, as this area was historically known. Ján Krcho, the husband of the church's current pastor and a keen historian of the frescoes, describes them as "a bible for poor people".

The paintings begin at the proscenium arch with pictures of Hungarian saint-kings, and New Testament scenes then cover the entire upper walls and ceiling of the sanctuary. Christ, enclosed in a large mandorla, looks down from directly above the altar. The frescoes were rediscovered in 1893 and have been restored three times since.

Outside the church is a wooden, fifteenth-century bell-tower. Its approximate age is known from the distinctive shape of its mediaeval bells, which are still in use.


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

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