Slovak horologe in Stará Bystrica

slovensky_orloj    It is the largest wooden statue in Slovakia. The whole composition depicts the seated Madonna, Our Lady of Sorrows the Virgin Mary, patron saint of Slovakia. The whole design from the academic sculptor Loviška was first made as a clay model which the architect Ivan Jarin translated into drawing documentation. The shape of the work of art as a shingle construction was made possible thanks to 80 wooden beams that create the skeleton of the horologe.

Six bronze statues are positioned in the alcoves of the horologe: from an older age are Prince Pribina and King Svätopluk, from the 19th century there are the codifiers of the Slovak language Anton Bernolák and Ľudovít Štúr, and from the 20th century there are Milan Rastislav Štefánik and Andrej Hlinka. It was the idea of the designer to choose historical persons from the 19th and 20th centuries and that two would be from the catholic faith and two from the evangelical faith. What is remarkable is the depiction of Prince Pribina with a sword in his hand and King Svätopluk with the royal crown, like a king of the ancient Slovaks. All six statues were cast from bronze in the Tri kamene studio in Stupava.

The valances are made from Slovak liparite stone; this is formed when lava substance hardens; and was quarried from the quarry by Hliníka nad Hronom. The upper section of the valance is sculpted in the shape of curtains whereas the lower section contains circular openings in which are placed translucent tablets from golden onyx – the only Slovak marble quarried from the quarry by Levice. This marble has parts of gold veins in its structure hence its name. At night these tablets of golden onyx are illuminated. The drapery designers are the husband-and-wife academic sculptors Loviška. The entrance to the gallery is also finished in liparite.

Seven statues showing the Slovak apostles were carved from poplar by the folk wood-carver Peter Kuník from Tvrdošín. The seven are saints whose fates are intertwined with Slovakia: St. Cyril, St. Metod, St. Andrej-Svorad, St. Beňadik, St. Gorazd, St. Bystrík and St. Vojtech.

The heart of the horologe is the astrolabe, in other words a clock-face with astronomy features. It is due to the astrolabe in the Slovak Horologe in Stará Bystrica that it is the only one of its kind and first horologe in Slovakia. Without an astrolabe an horologe is not an horologe. In as much as it concerns a delicate astronomy and clockwork mechanism the village of Stará Bystrica approached the Prague company SPEL which finally designed and built the astrolabe for them. It is necessary to stress that the astronomy data have been specially drafted for the global position of Stará Bystrica which means that this is not just a copy of another horologe. The colours of the main board of the astrolabe are those of the phases of the day: black night, red sunrise, pale blue meridian, red sunset. The hand with the sun moves across those fields in accordance with where the real sun is.

Moreover, the main astrolabe board is divided by gold edging which signify the equator, the Tropic of Cancer, the Tropic of Capricorn and the so-called secondary meridian, in other words the point vector that shows when the sun is at its highest point in the skies above Stará Bystrica. What this also means is that the horologe in Stará Bystrica is the only existing one in the world that shows real solar time. In addition to that the astrolabe shows the position of the moon in the sky, the phases of the moon and the position of the sun in the signs of the zodiac. Around the outer edge is the so-called calendar board that has 366 segments and every day advances one segment. Important Slovak holidays and memorial days are shown on the calendar board as red stars. 
slovensky_orloj   In the horologe tower there are two bells. One rings out the time, the second creates a set-piece sound during the promenade of the apostles. The tolling bell (cymbal) carries the name St. Juraj and the text: Slovenský orloj Stará Bystrica R. P. 2009. The bell was cast at the request of the Žilina District Administrator Ing. Juraj Blanár. The second bell carries the name Riečnická Madona and the text: Na pamiatku zatopených obcí Riečnica a Harvelka (In memory of the flooded villages of Riečnica and Harvelka) and was cast at the request of the Bishop of Nitra Mons. Viliam Judák. This bell is also illustrated with the emblem of the Virgin Mary from the picture on the main altar in the Riečnica church which was the only building preserved from the flooding.

The art information centre in the room under the horologe was designed by the artist studio Byzant. It holds a small gallery shop where there are also works from professional and amateur artists on display. Besides that there are plans to have a souvenir shop here, a tourist information office, and also to have access steps to the rear part of the horologe which will allow visitors to view the horologe mechanism.


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