Gothic Route – Crossroad of Cultures and Heritage – Conference Proceedings

Since 2007, the Gothic Route Association has been trying to systematically help to make the medieval sacral heritage of Gemer and Malohont accessible, to promote it, research and restore it. In recent years, we have also been promoting these precious monuments of this multicultural and multi-confessional region in Hungarian and English, so that people from abroad can also get acquainted with them. One of the ways to help the sacral monuments is through conferences that we organize every two years in the heart of the region – in Rožňava. These events are an opportunity to share and exchange scientific knowledge about monuments from several disciplines and thus to contribute to a better understanding of the historical and artistic values of monuments in the region.

In 2022, for the first time, we held this conference in an international format. Thanks to the financial support from Visegrad Funds, we managed to achieve this goal and to organize the conference with the participation of historians, art historians, architects, epigraphers and preservationists from Slovakia, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic. Our thanks also go to the partner institutions from three countries that are culturally, historically and geographically close to Slovakia, namely Centrum raně středověkých studií Semináře dějin umění Filozofické fakulty Masarykovy univerzity (Centre for Early Medieval Studies, Department of the History of Art), Teleki László Alapítvány (Teleki László Foundation) and Uniwersytet Jagielloński, Wydział Historyczny (Jagiellonian University, Faculty of History).

Thanks to the interesting contributions of the authors from Hungary, we had the opportunity to get to know the architectural values and artistic contacts of Gemer and the wider surroundings, but also the phenomenon of the so-called magic pits. Colleagues from Poland opened the topic of sacral architecture and art in the wider Central European context with their contributions. The contribution from the Czech Republic highlighted the important links between the Czech and Hungarian kingdoms in the Middle Ages. And contributions from Slovakia opened up a broader discussion on sacral heritage in terms of geography, history, art history, architecture, epigraphy, and monument care.

At the conference we had the opportunity to see the great interconnectedness of Central Europe and the many parallels between the countries. Also, the informal discussions in the beautiful setting of the Baroque Franciscan monastery in Rožňava showed that, when people from these countries meet, it is as if they are old acquaintances – the debates quickly and spontaneously turn to discussions about common history, but also about common problems that the scholars are 8 struggling with in their research. The event ended with an excursion that allowed conference participants to marvel at the wealth of monuments that the Gothic Route Association seeks to promote.

We believe that in this way it was possible to put Gemer and Malohont back onto the intellectual map of Central Europe (not only) for a few days.


Michal Augustovič and David Raška