SK, Bratislava – Church of Our Lady of the Snows
Not long ago we visited silent part of Bratislava near the historic center. It is not visited very much by tourists. Inhabitants of Bratislava, however, love this location. Today we continue along the Hlboka Road. We will visit the Church of Our Lady of the Snows situated right above the Lurdska Cave.
From Lurdska Cave to near Calvary, Bratislava it is only couple dozens meters. At the first glance, for its thanksgiving boards, it resembles the oldest sanctuary in Slovakia – near Marianka. We move bit higher to see very interesting church of Our Lady of the Snows administered by the Dominicans today.
Why it was constructed in these spaces and what makes it so interesting? You would hardly find it in normal book guides so why we recommend you to visit it? You will learn the answers in the following text.
A chapel turned into church later
Long time ago when Bratislava was much smaller than today, Hlbok Road was the only silent place covered by chestnut forest. Many inhabitants of Bratislava took refuge there in the time of plague of 1713. Whole families went there trying to shelter before death in improvised huts. Even townsman Jan Lauerman who promised in his prayers that if the plague does not kill his family, he would build two chapels. And he really did.
One chapel dedicated to St Peter is situated on the northeastern slope of Calvary. The second was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and it used to be on the Hlboka Road. There was a statue of the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus. It resembled a statue of Our Lady in Mariazell. Despite the fact that the chapel was several times renovated and holy masses were performed in it, it vanished. In 1824, charitable gifts from the public and help of the town concluded in construction of larger chapel (20 meters long and 10 meters wide) It was also dedicated to Our Lady of the Snows. Yet not even this one has remained here until the present. The chapel was built by Ignác Feigler. He made plans and drafts for free and he overwatch the constructions. Also, we have to remember all workers who made this chapel and who were paid usually only for a half day. The other part of the day they worked for free.
Church of Our Lady of the Snows on Calvary, Bratislava
Intensive growth of Bratislava, new districts that emerged mostly in the beginning of the 20th century, led to the constitution of Bratislava – Calvary parish in 1933. Its church became original chapel of Our Lady of the Snows. Its size, however, was not enough and it was demolished. Soon, however, new church was founded. Its material is reinforced concrete and it was built here in 1943-1947. In 1948 it was consecrated. We have to keep in mind that the church is 19 meters wide and 35 meters long. In addition to that we have to coun 9,5 meters long sanctuary.The church was built during the perilous second world war. Once distinct dominant landmark was church’s 50 meter tower above the Hlboka Road, and on the top of it was a illuminated cross . As many other buildings even the tower had to clear the space for the ideology. Despite the disapproval of believers, the tower was demolished. Why? To make better view of Slavín. Original plan intended to make it smaller by half. Yet eventually it was completely removed.
Despite there were debates on the issue of rebuilding the tower, it did not happen. Thanks to the fact that the people are interested in it as well as the parish of Bratislava – Calvary the renovation of the church and its high dominant feature is not hopelessly lost.
Text and photo: O. Maňáková
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