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The village of Krásnohorské Podhradie

         Village's history spans back to early Middle Ages, when local land was in the possession of the Akos family (the Bebek family, respectively). The life of the small village had been intertwined with the Krásna Hôrka castle, its history, and the history of its owners. More than 200 years of the "reign" of the Bebeks had passed before the Andrássys took hold of the castle in 1578. The village, having lived in the shadow of the medieval castle, was barely mentioned in contemporary documents. One, dating back to 1427, recorded the homesteads of the village, reporting 67. After the Battle of Mohac, where Hungarian armies had been defeated by Turks, hard times fell on the region of Gemer as well. The village was burnt down by the Turks in 1569 and 1570. In 1642, the Andrássys became its hereditary owners and it was declared a field town - mezeó város - in 1757.

         Peace and turmoil in village's history came and went in close connection with what went on at the castle. The coexistence of the castle and the village had always been relatively smooth. The Andrássys even supported their subjects significantly, particularly in the 19th century.

         The oldest evidenced building in the village is the Roman Catholic church of All Saints, already mentioned as early as in 1330s. Once a Gothic church, it had been re-built several times during centuries, last time in 1787 according to then ruling Classicism. The sanctuary with polygonal closure and a vault with pyramidal consoles has been preserved form the original Gothic construction, as well as an original pastophorium at the northern wall. The region of Gemer is exceptionally rich in medieval wall painting. Extensive series of medieval frescoes may likely be uncovered in Krásnohorské Podhradie, as it has been in the churches of Plešivec, Štítnik, Chyžné and others. A small piece that bears witness to the quality and skills of an old master was revealed at the northern wall of the church. Hardly anything has been preserved from the original equipment however, as a major refurbishment was underway in 1895, generously supported by Count Dénes (Dionýz) Andrássy. The renewal, during which the church was fitted with neo-Gothic altars, was recorded in a large painted inscription with donor´s coat of arms at the triumphal arch.

         Traces of Count Dénes and his wife Františka´s charity are well visible in the village, including a memorial board erected in a nearby grove in 1898 to commemorate the establishment of a pension fund for Andrássy estate employees.

         After the generous Františka had died, Dénes tried to create a strong cult in memory of his wife. There is Františka's Square in the centre of Krásnohorské Podhradie. A black obelisk with Hungarian inscriptions erected in a small park in 1903 praises Countess Františka and her kind deeds.

         Right opposite Františka's Square is the building of Count Dénes Andrássy gallery. Together with the castle and the mausoleum, it is another true gem of the village. Dénes Andrássy was one of the most significant collector of his times collecting works of contemporary art. He decided to house his collection of some 140 pictures in a separate gallery. The art nouveau building was built according to designs of Dr. Hültl Dezső, an architecture professor from Budapest. Greek-cross-shaped with a glass roof, the building served the public as a gallery only till Dénes died in 1913. Then, the works of art were sent to Budapest, in line with count´s will. The inhabitants of Krásnohorské Podhradie had the opportunity to admire works of renowned artists, such as Böcklin, Stuck, Kaulbach, Lenbach, or Pállik. When the gallery had been closed, the building was used by Count Lajos Maldeghem, a nephew of Count Dénes, and his family that lived in a smal manor house next to the gallery. After their departure in 1945, the building rather unsuitedly served as a stable or a store. Only after the "Velvet Revolution", in early 1990s, its function was revived under the Mining Museum (Banícke múzeum) in Rožňava. Unfortunately, there is only one painting from the original collections - a portrait of Count Dénes Andrássy by G. Paperitz from the dawn of the 20th century. Other works come from the Slovak National Museum collections, branch Museum Betliar. One exception is a monumental historical oil painting from 1884 by Ferenc (František) Paczka that depicts the wedding night drama of Atilla the Hun and his beautiful wife, German princess Ildikó, who allegedly killed him. The painting had been gifted to the town of Rožňava by Count Győző (Gejza) Andrássy and it decorated its town hall for years. Nowadays it is an attractive work of art sought by tourists. A remarkable neo-Renaissance majolica relief at the northern wall of the building presents Mater Dei (Mother of God) in the company of saints. The relief was probably made in the famous Zsolnay porcelain mill in Pécs, Hungary, in the second half of the 19th century according to a Renaissance model by Luca Della Robia.

Copyright © JoZo 2006


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