Church of St. John the Baptist

The biggest and most splendid church in Trnava is the two-towered Church of St. John the Baptist, the first building in Slovakia built in the Baroque style, based on the design of the Jesuit University Church in Vienna. The construction of this monumental temple did not only mean prestige for the town, but it also became the model of a new sacral architectural concept in the whole country. The representative church of the Jesuit Trnava University is quite simple on the outside, however it is abundant in colours and gold on the inside. It was built by Peter Pázmaň, the Jesuit archbishop, on the former place of the Gothic Dominican church between 1629 and 1637. The basic building works were carried out by craftsmen from Trnava and its surroundings. Bricks were provided by the town brick factory, as well as the community of Anabaptists (Habans) from Dechtice. Foreign masters were entrusted with the artistic decoration. Italian stuccoers, G. B. Rooso, G. Tornini and Pietro Antonio Conti, and Vienna painters, Carl Ritsch and Franz Joseph Graffenstein, whose monograms are directly incorporated in two frescoes, worked on the spectacular stucco decoration for more than half a century.The interior´s dominant element is a monumental main altar, considered to be the biggest early Baroque altar in Central Europe. However, the most significant interior elements are the life stories of the church´s patron, St. John the Baptist, from his birth to martyrdom in the line of main altar pictures and four oval mirrors in the middle of the vault.Besides artistic richness, the Church was an inseparable part of all ceremonial services as well as academic music festivals. A two-level platform was set up for a numerous musical ensembles. One of the levels was probably for instrumentalists, while the second one was for soloists and the choir, mainly composed of students and seminarians.The key source of financing for the Church’s costly construction was provided by Mikuláš Esterházy from Galanta, a benefactor and palatine. His son, Pavol, later continued in his work. The church´s history is sadly linked with another palatine’s sons, Ladislav, František, Gašpar, and Tomáš, who were buried in the crypt with great pomp and with the participation of representatives from throughout the kingdom following their deaths in the battle at Vozokany.The church is nowadays the Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Trnava.

Church of St. John the Baptist


Church of St. John the Baptist
Univerzitné námestie
91701 Trnava

N 48.380437677687546 / E 17.588323655294744

Phone: +421 33 5912111

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