During a recent trip, we stopped to see this beautiful wooden church at Svaty Kriz in central Slovakia. See below the photo for more information…
The wooden churches are fairly unique to this area, and they have a very interesting history. Following the Protestant Reformation, the pro-Catholic government of Hungary (which controlled this area) oppressed and persecuted Protestant believers. But in the late 17th century, as the number of Protestants grew, the kingdom’s leaders decided it would be wise to give the Protestants just a little bit of freedom. So they made it legal for the Protestants to build churches… but they could only do it in certain places and in certain ways.
For instance, the Protestants could only build two church buildings in each county, and they had to be built on the outskirts of towns. The buildings were not allowed to have belfries, and the doors had to face away from the town. Most notably, however, the Protestants were not allowed to use stone or metal in constructing their buildings. In response, they created some beautiful architectural masterpieces… completely out of wood.
For more information about this and other wooden churches, see the following links:
Wikipedia article about the “Articular Churches” of Slovakia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Articular_church
Wikipedia article about the UNESCO wooden churches – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wooden_Churches_of_the_Slovak_Carpathians
Svaty Kriz church website – http://www.drevenykostol.sk/v1/index.php?lang=en