Podpeč – Zanigrad – Hrastovlje


Holy Trinity

Only a couple of minutes away lies Hrastovlje. The church stands on a small elevation above the village, within the walls built to protect the village from plundering of the Turks, providing shelter for the inhabitants of the nearby settlement. A belfry was added to the facade, left from the entrance, the same as in Zanigrad. Two rows of columns divide the church interior into three aisles topped by a barrel vaulting. Of the three apses only the central one is a projecting polygonal apse. The northern one is inscribed, and on the place of the southern is the entrance to the sacristy. The interior is entirely covered with a fresco cycle, the best known in the Slovenian part of Istria. John from Kastav, whom we have recently met, can already be considered a friend. We know by the preserved inscription that he painted here, which is why this cycle can be attributed to him with great certainty. Everything else is attributed to him because of stylistic resemblances.

In the central apse in the conch stands the Throne of Mercy, beneath which lies a row of Apostles below the arches. An unusual scene appears in the northern apse. The three Wise Men are seated on the throne and next to them stand SS. Cosmas and Damian. On the site of the southern apse, above the door, protectors from infectious diseases look upon us: St. Roch, St. Sebastian and St. Fabian. The arch part of the central nave, above the apse, is adorned with the Coronation of the Virgin. In the vault of the central nave are scenes form the Genesis, Creation of the World, and in the side ones is the cycle of months. All along the northern wall stretches the long procession of the Adoration of the Magi. Under the scenes of the Christological cycle on the southern nave is the Dance of Death. The density of painted surfaces in the church interior nearly makes us dizzy. We can only imagine what impression it had on the viewer of the time!

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