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Rotunda of Twelve Apostles

Category: Sacral architecture

Bíňa

Municipality of Bíňa, part of Malá Bíňa, was documented in writing in 1135. The first written reference to rotunda comes from 1391.

Origin of rotunda is dated to the 12th century, also opinion on construction at the end of 12th up to beginning of 13th can be found. On the basis of archeological sources exists a hypothesis on origin in the 11th century, supported also by the most actual evaluation of architectonical-historical research of 2006 that puts origin of rotunda between the end of the 10th century and the 1st half of the 11th century.

Romanesque circular brick rotunda has non-traditional architectonical solution of sanctuary created by reduction of material of outside wall with twelve niches distributed around internal perimeter. Rotunda went through substantial rebuilding in 1755 when it was falling in disrepair for almost eighty years after being devastated by Polish armies. The building got a new roof, casement window, exterior facade and interior were reconstructed in Baroque style.

Monument was restored in 1954 when Romanesque origin of the building was highlighted. Original windows were reopened and those Baroque were walled up, more recent plasters were removed, surface of exterior facade was adjusted with glazed plaster without coating, Baroque crown molding was rebuilt in cavetto. In 2009 the second restoration of facade was realized, preceded by restoration research. Remains of Romanesque plaster finishing were revealed under layer of plaster, with white limestone coat, according to which reconstruction of plaster on facade was applied. Since it is not possible to identify original height of Romanesque rotunda, plaster’s reconstruction was done up to the height determined by height of Romanesque triumphal arch in the interior. Plaster from the last restoration was kept on remaining part of the masonry. From Romanesque architectonical elements preserved are Romanesque portal, situated on south-eastern side, circular window on western side, two slot windows on the south and three slot windows illuminating apse oriented in eastern direction. In twelve niches, distributed throughout internal perimeter, are situated sedilia. On internal walls of rotunda there were found precious medieval mural paintings from two periods. On apse’s window parapets there are depicted figures of apostles of high level of visual art, from period around 1220. In the second period, between 1320 and 1350, figures of saints were depicted on apse’s walls. In rotunda’s nave there are other fragments of medieval paintings, dating is not specified.