The Church of St. Katarina

Middle Ages

The oldest period of construction development of the Church of St. Katarina is relatively unclear due to the absence of specific dateable finds. In general, professional literature places the origins of the castle church prior to the year 1400, in the 13th or 14th century. Only peripheral walls have been probably maintained in the church as we know it from the original construction. It was probably in the 2nd half of the 14th century, that the polygonal presbytery (sanctuary) with Gothic arches and entrance portal into the sacristy (currently walled up) had been built. The relatively reliably dateable reconstruction from the period of around the year 1400 was important with regards to the current appearance of the church interior. The concept of interior was transformed to include two aisles by placing a medieval arcade band with two pillars in it. Rich formative elements have been preserved in the church from this period - the architectural decoration including "curly leaves" and what are called the "knee consoles", motifs of well-elaborated baldachins on the sidewalls of the pillars between the aisles. Their quality points to a relationship with the circuit of St. Stephan´s Viennese building works led by the Master Michael "Chnab" at the end of the 14th century. The Late Gothic stage of the construction development from the 80's of the 15th century is most impressively represented by the construction solution of the vaulting of the older presbytery and the south-east oratory. The ribs of the vault create extraordinary footings and cross forming swallow tails. Experts call it the "Kremnica footing". Unusual human and animal figures can be seen on the ribs of the sanctuary´s corner representing Christ, perhaps the donors or prophets and evangelists in contrast to a pair of devils. The church tower was built as early as the Middle Ages. An interesting detail is a plastic rendering of a stone figurine placed in the console in south-western hip.

Kostol sv. Kataríny

Renaissance

The Renaissance modifications are related to the tower reconstruction following an extensive fire in 1560. A number of signs and the actual years that date the process of reconstruction have been preserved on the hips. In the interior, a high-quality monumental masonry of a Renaissance pulpit lying on a Corinthian column and a stone console, backed by a figurative motif of a male breast-piece in historic clothing, was added to the triumphant arch in the second third of the 16th century.

Monument reconstruction

The church achieved its current overall appearance mainly thanks to extensive representative reconstruction carried out in the period of years from 1883 to 1886. It was performed by Ferenc Storn and his son Kálman from Sopron who attempted to restore the building´s "Gothic" look in the spirit of historical Romanticism. New external rendering was made including illusionary block walling and high pavilion roofing with small towers was placed at the top of the tower. The interior was altered by building a new western organ tribune, the current stone railing carved with tracery, fusiform staircases and by creating a new three-part window opening from the area of the treasury into the presbytery. The complexity of the restoration works was related to the interior Neo-Gothic painting decoration of arches and architectural elements, as well as to the removal of the older mobiliari. This was replaced by new Neo-Gothic elements of the Storn's workshop: colourful stained glass windows, wooden field altars with gold-plated and painted architectonic attachments and table paintings (the main altar of St. Catherine of Alexandria in the presbytery, the side altar of Virgin Mary on the left, the altar of St. Cross in the northern chapel, the altar of death of St. Joseph on the right, the altar of St. Anna in the southern chapel), baldachin and the wooden construction of the pulpit staircase, carpentry products (pews) and stone statues on the pillars of the two aisles and the facade of the southern antechapel.

The original mobiliari

Ferenc Storno completely removed the four side altars, as well as the Late Baroque main altar with a central painting of the Engagement of St. Catherine (consecrated in 1715). A substantial part of its sculpture decoration is preserved (from a total of 13, 11 statues have been preserved, part of them being exhibited in the Town Hall). The interior was enriched by two valuable additions from the damaged church of the Virgin Mary on the square - the Late Gothic statue of Madonna standing on a moon sickle from the end of the 15th century and the Renaissance baptistery of the chalice form from the year 1561 belonging to the tomb of the Kremnica medal maker - Christoph Füssl. A set of stone epitaphs and tombstones forms the original part of the church. The figurative and relief decoration of the epitaph of Wolfgang and Georg Fleisch stands out from them by reaching a high level of quality craftmanship.

A triplet of Late Gothic statues - St. Helene (attribute of a cross), an unknown female saint or the Virgin Mary (without an attribute) and St. Elisabeth (a jar and a basket full of offerings) - placed under the western tribune probably stems from the Spital Church of St. Elisabeth. A pair of Late Gothic statues of female saints - St. Catherine's and St. Barbara's from the end of the 15th century of unknown origin is placed in the southern part of the double aisle. An individual stone statue of the Virgin Mary, referred to as the Immaculata, placed in the north-western corner of the double aisle dating back to the 2nd half of the 18th century is an original (its replica is in the court) and it is probably connected with the workshop working on the plaque statue.

In 1992, the new organ made by the company of Varhany Krnov (3,500 whistles, 3 manuals, 47 registers) became a part of the mobiliari.