Hidden Places in Slovakia Worth Visiting – Part 3 – Ancient Katarinka Monastery
Have you already visited a couple of „must see“ attractions in Slovakia and are you a bit tired of crowded places?
Do you like magical places not yet besieged by many tourists and feel excited about being in the middle of nowhere, expecting something to pop up right there in front of you?
Do you like the woods and their hidden treasures and enjoy silent walking interrupted only by bird songs, rustling leaves and twigs crackling under your feet?
If this is the case, then let us guide you to one of the secrets of the Little Carpathian Mountains, the ruins of the ancient Katarinka Monastery.
Some 20 km from Trnava city, between the current villages Dechtice and Nahac, back in the 15th century, an alleged revelation of St. Catherine happened to a shepherd, who created a small cave chapel in the rock. Since that time, a couple of other people also reported similar revelations. Strange things were happening at that place like the sudden death of a young man, the son of a wealthy count from the region, who was found dead the day after his parents forced him to leave this place and come home...
At the end of the 17th century, the owner of the estate, Count Erdody, issued a founding charter for the Franciscan Monastery and here the whole history of the cultural significance of the Church and Monastery of St. Catherine of Alexandria began. It was built gradually. The original Gothic chapel was extended to provide a church and a large monastery was built later.
Also during this time, the Monastery was invaded by the Turks, and later, after the Turks were expelled, it was plundered by imperial soldiers who murdered the nobles hiding here. The Monastery was damaged by soldiers many times during different wars.
At the end of the 18th century, the Emperor Joseph II. of Habsburg abolished the Monastery of St. Catherine´s, like many others which didn´t conduct charitable or pedagogical activities. These actions started the destruction of both the Church and the Monastery. The Monastery was taken over by the state administration, an inventory of assets was made, valuable items were transferred to the surrounding churches, but many were stolen and lost for good.
Out of respect for his ancestors, the Count Joseph Erdody bought the abandoned objects, but did not prevent their destruction and deformation into ruins.
Since 1994, the picturesque ruins have come to life again thanks to young volunteers - monastery rescuers. These young people, together with the Archeological Institute, try to discover and document the remains of the Monastery still buried under the ground, and save the existing ones from decay. You can see the results of their work, experience that mystic place for yourself and enjoy the beautiful view from the preserved tower.
On your way back, just several hundred meters from the ruins, you can also visit a narrow-gauge railway with a railway crossing, along with special wagons for the transportation of wood and raw materials.
How to get to Katarinka:
By car – 1 hour from Bratislava direction Trnava, behind Nahac village turn left from the main road and keep driving until you reach a parking area.
By bus – from Bratislava Bus Station Mlynske Nivy, direction Trnava or Smolenice or Modra and then change there for a bus to Nahac (it could take 1,5-2 hours depending on the connection). From Nahac follow a blue tourist signage and after some 40 minutes you reach Katarinka. We recommend to tourists to take some food and drinks.
Enjoy your trip.