St. Urban's Tower

Originally a bell tower of St. Elisabeth's Cathedral, nowadays a wax museum.

The bell-tower that houses the so-called Urban bell blessed by St. Urban - patron saint of winemakers. It is unique also in the sense that under the porticos there is a lapidarian - gravestones which are rare examples of early Gothic to Baroque art. The 45-metres (147.63 feet) high tower also contains the only museum of wax figurines in Slovakia.

Originally a Gothic prismatic campanile with a pyramidal roof dating back to the turn of the 14th and 15th centuries. A marble tablet above the entrance to the bell tower reminds of the modification the tower was subjected to in 1628, when a pyramidal roof was constructed. The bell, which was installed in the tower (its weight equals to7 tones/15,432 lb), was dedicated to St. Urban, the patron of wine-prowers, which was cast in a mould by the bell founder František Illenfeld of Olomouc in 1557. In 1775 the tower underwent further reconstruction, when a pyramidal roof was constructed with annion in the Baroque style with an iron cross preserved to this day.

In the early 19th century the tower was completed with an Empire roof and small shops were built around it. In the years 1911-1912, 1943-1944 and in 1947 an arcade was constructed around the tower. 36 tombstones dating from the 14th century (one of these tombstones is Roman dating from the 4th century!) to the 17th century were put into the outer walls of the tower. In 1966 the tower was damaged by fire, which destroyed the roofing and the bells. In the years 1967-1971 the tower was subjected to restoration and renovation. The East Slovakian Museum set up an impressive exhibition of ironwork. Regrettably, this was removed in 1995.

(Photo © Matúš Braxatoris/