The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity

Kostol sv. Štefana kráľaHorný val No.1

The Cathedral is one of the most important and oldest buildings in the town. Legends say that a castle stood in its close vicinity and on the site of the present church. According to latest discoveries undoubtedly there was a castle in Žilina but it stood in a different place, not  in the area of the present church. Primarily, the church was sacred to the Virgin Mary.

In the 16th century, Rafael Podmanický captured the town and rebuilt the church into a fortress. A later owner of Žilina, named Mikuláš Dersffy repaired the building and restored it to its original purpose in 1583. The repaired church was consecrated to the Holy Trinity in 1586. From 1595 until 1708 - with minor breaks – the church belonged to the Evangelical Church of Augsburg Confession. In 1610, the so called Žilina Synod (assembly of evangelists from the Hungarian territory unoccupied by the Turks, who established the first organizations of the Evangelical church here) was held in the church under the auspices of palatine Juraj Thurzo.

As a result of rebuilding, the original Gothic church bears Renaissance features and has a 3-nave structure. The main altar of Holy Trinity was built in 1697. The picture was painted by Jozef Božetech Klemens in 1870. There are 6 crypts and two internal wells under the church. There is also a seventh crypt under the Calvary on the eastern side of the church, built in 1699.  

Burian´s Tower
So called Burian’s Tower (46 m high) is a free-standing church belfry. It is reminiscent of famous Italian city belfries – campanillas. Strečno castle’s owner from 1526 to 1529 Burian Světlovský of Vlčnov, who was the hereditary mayor of Žilina at the time, built this Rennaissance building. We cannot exclude the possibility that its construction was completed by the Podmanický brothers, who made it into part of the fortifications. Primarily it was known as the New Tower. During a fire which destroyed Žilina in 1678, the bells of the New Tower melted. Loud ringing of the bells in the New tower in 1693 and 1747 helped scare off heavy clouds of grasshoppers which had invaded the fields around Žilina.

In 1762, the Chapel of St. Ján Nepomucký with its statue was built on the western side of the church. During a large fire in the town in 1848, the church collapsed and the bells melted again. After this fire, the church was repaired in 1869 according to the plans of the painter Joseph Božetěch Klemens. In another fire in the town in 1886, the tower burnt too. It was repaired in 1890 and then the church clock tower received its present form. The last major reconstruction of the church was in 1942 - 1943.     

Church Bells
At the end of the 19th century the tower was named Burian after the name of the bell (2336 kg). The other bells were Median (655 kg) and the lightest (25 kg) Umieráčik (Death bell). The bells placed on the tower were used for military and other purposes, so they were replaced in 1923 with six new bells. Consecration of the new bells, which took place on 15th August 1923, was a great event. The bells were produced by a company called Richard Herold from Chomutov.

They bear the names of their patrons and have a significant size and weight. The heaviest is the Trojica (Trinity) that weighs 2785 kg, followed by Mária (Mary) (1728 kg), Jozef (Joseph) (1165 kg), Andrej (Andrew) and Benedikt (798 kg), Anna (Ann) (425 kg) and the smallest Štefan (Stephen) (325 kg). In 1942, the tower received a new  walkway (balcony). Since 2008, the church has been a cathedral of the Žilina’s Diocese. Currently the Burian’s Tower is opened up to the public through the guided tours organized by Tourist Information Office Žilina.
Source: TIO Žilina (researched from academic literature).

It can be visited
■ working days: 7.00 - 19.00 hod.
Saturdays, Sundays: before worship.
during a guided tour of TIO Žilina.

Position of the monument on the map: B4
Number of the monument on the map: 1

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