Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ruská Bystrá, Slovakia

This small Greek Catholic wooden church is found in the tiny village of Ruská Bystrá, located in a remote region of eastern Slovakia a few kilometres from the Ukrainian border. The church has been inscribed on the UNESCO world heritage list, largely because of its extremely well-preserved iconostasis paintings and icons.
The Baroque iconostasis dates from the 18th century, while the Czar door at the centre of the panel is from the 17th century. The highly decorative door has small round paintings depicting scenes from the lives of four evangelists and an image of the annunciation. An unusual feature is that the side icons are placed on the walls because of the narrow space for the iconostasis panel.
The church is a three-roomed structure with a high sloped roof which is also unusual for this type of Greek Catholic design. The nave is divided from the entrance room by a wall of wooden beams which is decorated with carved columns. The key for the church is kept by the family who live in the house opposite the pub in the centre of the village. When visiting churches like these you should always leave a donation of a few Euros in front of the icons.
Ruská Bystrá is quite difficult to reach by public transport, but there are two or three buses per day from the town of Michalovce, which has frequent train and bus connections to Košice and the rest of the country.

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