Danse Macabre of Hrastovlje July 2019

On our way to the Venetian seaside town of Piran, we stopped at a small church in Hrastovlje which has a very special fresco.  Holy Trinity Church in Hrastovlje in southwestern Slovenia is known for its fresco called Danse Macabre or Dance of Death.  From the road, Holy Trinity doesn’t look like a church, it looks more like a small fortified castle.  The church is surrounded by a stone wall built to protect itself from Turkish attacks in the 16th century.  All you can see is the tower of the church peeking out above the walls.  The entire interior of the church is painted with frescoes of the story of Jesus Christ, the creation of the world in 7 days, Adam and Eve being banished from the Garden of Eden, etc and the most famous being Danse Macabre or Dance of Death.  The frescoes are believed to be painted in 1490 and have been perfectly preserved underneath layers of plasters until their discovery in 1949.  The Dance of Death fresco here depicts 11 skeletons leading people from all walks of life from a child, a beggar, a peasant to a cardinal, a queen, a king, and a pope towards a freshly dug grave with a 12th skeleton holding open a coffin.  The message here is the fragility of all life and the universality of death where all are equal in the eyes of God.  There are also markings in the now-extinct Glagolitic script which is a very early Slavic writing system.  The Danse Macabre here in Hrastovlje is said to be one of the most famous, beautiful, and best preserved.  The church is usually open during the day and if not, there is a phone number posted on the door for you to call the caretaker who will come to unlock the doors.

DSCF9481Holy Trinity Church in Hrastovlje

DSCF0175Doesn’t look like a church at all with the fortified walls built around it


DSCF9488Telephone number to call if you find the church closed.


DSCF9527Frescoes cover all the interior walls of the church

DSCF9492The famous Danse Macabre or Dance of Death fresco.


DSCF0179The message of the Danse Macabre fresco is that nobody escapes death whether child or pauper or merchant, not even the king or the pope.

DSCF0180Here you can see someone trying to bribe the skeleton with a bag of money.


DSCF9514The queen, the king, and the pope

DSCF9494Freshly dug grave with a 12th skeleton holding open a coffin.


DSCF0185God creating the sun and the moon


DSCF0186God creating Adam and Eve

DSCF9505The story of Adam and Eve

DSCF9517Adam and Eve after being banished from the Garden of Eden.  Adam now has to work and Eve bear children as punishment.


DSCF9510St Catherine


DSCF9520This fresco depicts the Ascension of Christ and you can see the bottom of his robe and his feet at the top.


DSCF0184St Barbara


After a short stop here, we continue to the Venetian seaside town of Piran for some dinner and sunset/blue hour shots of the city.  Stay tuned!

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