Wednesday, August 26, 2015

St. Martin Bratislava

 



St. Martin is the cathedral of the archdiocese of Bratislava and one of the symbols of the city together with the Bratislava Castle and the UFO bridge. No matter where you are in the old town of Bratislava the church tower dominates the sky and it is taller then all other buildings.The Cathedral is placed between the castle and the bridge and together with the Danube they create a wonderful and picturesque view for all tourists who visit Bratislava.

The tower viewed from the castle

The church in winter, view from the bridge

View of the tower and the Appollo bridge from the Castle
Build and reconstructed along the centuries the church still show vestiges from the Romanesque style, the Gothic style like the chapels Queen Sofia and Saint Anne, the Baroque style like the Chapel of St. John the Merciful. The exterior of the church is simple and beautiful: white wall, red roof, a beautiful long tower with green roof, large stylish windows and brown wooden doors. On top of the tower instead of a cross there is a replica of the crown of St. Stephen used in the coronation of the Austro-hungarian kings. The church has been used for many year in the coronations. A few years ago when the tower was reconstructed the crown was placed in the church as an exhibit and i was able to visit it.On the tower of the church there is also a large clock showing the time.

The tower with the crown of St. Stephen

The St. Martin Cathedral is surrounded by beautiful old buildings and statues. The church has 3 entrances. The main entrance is Gothic and located in the north side of the church. It is decorated with stone simple flowers and the doors are wooden. The second entrance is a small door leading to a small shrine on the north facade of the cathedral.The last portal of the church was once the main entrance to the cathedral now it is only decorating the southern facade of the building.

Main entrance



Southern entrance
As you enter the  cathedral you are amazed as in any church by the majesty, darkness and coolness inside. The nave of the church in constructed in three aisles. The nave is separated by tall, imposing pillars. The pews are made of dark wood and red cushions, all the rest of the chairs, confessionals and decorations are made of beautiful dark wood.

Interior of the church
On the right aisle there is a beautiful altar dedicated to the Pieta, the Virgin Mary with the crucified Christ in her arms. On the right and left of the Pieta there are 4 saints as if guarding it: two on the left and two on the right. The altar has also pictures from the life of Jesus Christ: the flight from Egypt, the removal from the cross, the carrying of the cross and so on.



The Pieta altar

On the right part of the church there is also a statue of St. Martin on his horse tearing his robe in two to give one half to a beggar. Near the statue there is also uncovered an archeological discovery of a cemetery. On the right part of the church there is also the entrance to the church museum or religious artifacts, the stairs to the tower and the treasurer. But there is not allowed to make pictures there.

Statue of St. Martin
On the left part of the cathedral there is another altar dedicated to the crucifixion. In the main picture there is a statue with the crucified Christ. Around it there are also pictures from the life of our Savior.

Altar of the Crucified Christ

On the left aisle there is also the chapel of St. John the Almoner(John the Merciful) in the baroque style. Inside of the chapel rest the remains of the saint in a coffin held by 2 silver angels.


 Chapel of St. John the Almoner (St. John the Merciful)


Remains of St. John the Almoner (St. Jon the Merciful)

Near the altar on the left aisle there is the entrance to the crypt of the church. The catacombs of the cathedral o St. Martin stretch in narrow and long corridors under the church and contains tomb of old bishops, priests and important families in Bratislava. 

Inside the crypt

Returning from the crypt back into the church we step towards the presbyter, which is accessible via red marble stairs. It is decorated in the Gothic style. The golden, baroque altar is very impressive and beautifully decorated. In he middle there is the tabernacle with the image of Christ above it. On the left and right 6 saints are guarding it. The saint are elected from the ones that have a connection to Bratislava or they were patrons of the first churches in Bratislava. They are St. George, St. Florian, St. Elizabeth, St. Catherine, St. Nicholas and St. Adalbert. Over the top of the altar there is a small tower and on top of it two angles are caring the crown. Many autro-hungarian kings and queens were crowned in this church like Ferdinanad I, Maria Theresa and Maximilian II.


 Presbyter

 Presbyter
Main altar
Main altar

On the left and right of the altar are build wonderfully ornamented pews for the priest, deacons, special guests and the ones officiating the holly mass. The chairs are ornamented with dark wooden statues representing different animals.

Wooden chairs 
Detailed sculptures
One of the most beautiful things in the St. Martin Cathedral in my opinion are the stain glasses. there is a rainbow and colors and stories. The windows are showing you a spectacle of colorful flowers, saints, stories from the bible and bishops. The light comes gently through stained windows and creates a beautiful and calm atmosphere in the church.

Beautiful windows
Beautiful windows
Beautiful windows
From the Cathedral you can visit the ruins of the Bratislava town old fortification and from them there is a bridge taking you to the Bratislava Castle. But that is another story maybe another article.
 
View of the cathedral from the  old city fortification

View of the church from the bridge leading to the Castle






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