906 05 Sobotište, Slovakia
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Monument zone Sobotište – Hutterite court

The religious current of the Anabaptists formed in the early 16th century in Switzerland. Through their faith, they sought to bring themselves closer to early Christian society, gave up private property, and introduced new social and economic principles into society. From the beginning, they were persecuted and gradually expelled from all the countries where they settled. In the eyes of the Catholic Church, it was a heretical idea that the baptism of children was wrong, and one should decide to join the church on the basis of one’s own consciousness only in adulthood. The relationship to the papal church, secular power and society was also a crucial issue. In their faith and life, they were subject to God as a matter of priority. They formed their own communities based on economic and social equality, which sought to separate themselves from secular power. All the fraternal courts together formed one municipality (Gemeinde), administered by the bishop (Vorsteher). Its members were unwilling to take up arms and serve in government offices. Village abolished private property and introduced a new social order. The fraternal courts were an independent economic unit, a church community that itself judged and punished its members, jointly brought up and educated children.

Already in 1546, the Anabaptized in Sobotište established the first fraternal court in Slovakia. They settled here at the invitation of Count František Nyáry, who knew them from his property in Bohemia. They bought a mill and a desolate mayor from the peasant Kliment Papp, who was outside the village at that time. After the expulsion of the Anabaptisms from Bohemia in 1622, Sobotište became the seat of the bishop (Vorsteher) and the center of the social life of the Hutterite community in our territory. The bishop was the chief judge, administrator, leader and overseer. The Hutterites were famous craftsmen: potters, jugs, blacksmiths, metalworkers, knife makers, locksmiths, belt makers, saddlers, masons, carpenters, drapers, weavers, tailors, watchmakers, millers, winegrowers, gardeners, etc. For their skills they received various privileges from the lords, for example, they did not pay tithes, taxes on the mill, pub and slaughterhouse, the lords paid modest fees, in case of mobilization they sent one rider equipped with armament, otherwise they were exempted from military service and shelter.

At the end of the 17th century, due to the political and economic development of the country (war conflicts, raids by troops, looting and burning of dwellings), economic decline and moral disintegration of the Hutterite community took place, culminating in the demise of joint ownership in 1686. A royal mandate was issued in 1733, strictly ordering all Hutterite children to be baptized by Catholic priests, and despite Catholic baptism, children continued to be raised on their own in Hutterite families, but by 1763 most Hutterites had converted under the pressure of new ordinances. The Hutterite court in Sobotište has been managed by the Catholic Novodvoranská society since 1766. A year later, at the initiative of Maria Theresa, the construction of a chapel in the Hutterite court began. In 1810, about 250 Hutterites lived in thirty houses in Sobotište.

They still formed an independent village with its own governor, a school, a municipal treasury, which flowed the income from leased land, gardens and income from the Hutterite tavern, mill and slaughterhouse. They spoke German to each other. Its so-called they maintained their “autonomy” until the 1950s, when the management of the common property was definitively terminated. The descendants of these families still live in the village. In 1999, the Hutterite court was declared a monument zone. The oldest Hutterite court in Slovakia is a unique urban structure. The monument zone consists of about 73 buildings and there are 7 immovable national cultural monuments. The “Educational trail through the Hutterite court” will take you through the Hutterite architecture of the monument zone, which will convince you that the Hutterites have left a deep indelible mark in Sobotište.

Hutterite BARN

National cultural monument

An important part of the building stock of the monument zone are farm buildings. The most important building is the original barn dated to the end of the 18th century with significant elements of Hutterite architecture. The one-room building is made of unfired bricks on a stone foundation with low side walls. The dominant atypical mass of the building is the roof, which extends to the terrain. The gables of the barn are formwork and advanced in front of the facade.

There are several other barns from the 19th century in the monument zone. Together with the barns and stables, their architecture does not differ significantly from the traditional folk farm buildings of the region. Their building materials are unfired brick, stone and wood. Many barns and stables still have the preserved Hutterite angled roof truss.

FOLK HOUSE /h.n. 497 /

National cultural monument

The folk house is a typical building, which is a combination of folk architecture of Záhorie or Kopanice with Hutterite architecture. Objects of this type were built by the descendants of the Hutterites from the first half of the 19th century. All of them were built before the beginning of the 20th century, as follows from the historical land map of the village Sobotište from 1900. The building now belonged to the now-rehabilitated Hutterite barn, from which a stone foundation has been preserved in the garden.

Hutterite Chapel

Based on some sources, it is believed to stand on the site of the original Hutterite prayer house. The Hutterite chapel bears the date 1837 on the gable. It is problematic to determine whether it is the same building, the construction of which was initiated in 1767 by Maria Theresa, when the Hutterites converted to Catholicism. It is dedicated to the Holy Cross. A sanctuary has been preserved from the original chapel – a shrine from the old prayer house. It features Rococo furniture and sculptures from the 18th century. The Hutterites proceeded with re-Catholicization on condition that they had their own German-speaking priest. He served Mass daily in the chapel, but on Sundays they went to the parish church in the village. To this day, masses are served regularly in the chapel every Tuesday.

Hutterite key house / pub /

National cultural monument

The origin of the building dates back to 1711. In the current building there is a dating from 1785, when the Hutterites received permission to build a two-storey wine bar above the still accessible stone cellar carved into the rock. The library consists of 4 main spaces, which are still preserved. Upstairs was the bartender’s apartment, below the apartment was a common room where meetings, briefings and important guests of the Hutterite community took place. A hall was built towards the street. Its shield dates back to 1846. It served as a daily “tavern”, but social entertainment and theater performances also took place here. It is interesting that the actors entered the stage through the windows from the street.

Folk house /h.n.485/

National cultural monument

Some buildings in the monument zone differ significantly in their material-dispositional solution from the traditional folk architecture of the region. After the disintegration of collective ownership in the 17th century, individual Anabaptist families built economically independent houses, while remaining different from traditional folk architecture. They took the form of wider elongated houses with a high angled roof covered with thatched nurseries and a residential attic. They were built during the 18th and early 19th centuries. They were dominated by a large room, most often serving as a workshop, with an autopsy room with a black kitchen and an open chimney. In the black kitchen there was a stove with a fireplace and from there the tiled stoves located in the adjacent rooms were also heated. On the ground floor there was also a dining room and a pantry. In the attic on the first floor, there were two workshops on two levels and small rooms of chamberlains, which were used for sleeping.

Hutterite Town Hall (Štíbel, Štíbl)

National cultural monument

The building dates from the second half of the 18th century. As the name suggests, the Hutterites built the town hall as a place where the representatives of the Hutterites community met and decided on general affairs and management. We know from folk tradition that after the re-Catholicization, the elections of the “forstand” – the administrator of the Hutterite property and its assistants as well as the clerk – took place here every year at the Three Kings, and the “numbers” from the farm for the previous year were composed here. Hutterite “numbers” were the second largest holiday of the Hutterite village after the feast. After the elections and “numbers”, a big general feast was held in the barracks and in the gnome. Each participant / Hutterite or not Hutterite / had half a liter of wine and free food.

Hutterite bell tower

National cultural monument

The late Baroque bell tower is one of the most interesting buildings in Hutterite court. The Hutterites built a vaulted cellar in the sloping terrain and in 1753 they built a brick tower above it – a bell tower with a clock. There are three clocks on the tower, which are located above the sound windows. The rarity is that the clock has only one hand and strikes only half and a full hour. The sound of the bell escorted the Hutterites on their last journey. Today, the bell tower rings from seven o’clock in the morning to nine o’clock in the evening.


National cultural monument

The mill is one of the dominants of the monument zone. The Hutterite community bought it in 1545 from the peasant Kliment Papp. Four dating cartridges have been preserved on the façade (1739, 1816, 1822, 1921). The year 1739 is probably connected to the oldest plaster layer and the current floor plan of the building. During the 19th century, the mill was rebuilt with coarse-grained plaster. The interior of the flour castle dates back to 1850 and is probably related to the renewal of the mill technology. Until 1945, the mill was jointly owned by the Hutterite community, which leased it and transferred the profit to the common treasury. It stopped grinding there with the abolition of private trades in 1951. It fell into disrepair for half a century. In 2001, the reconstruction of the truss and roof was carried out, and in the years 2019 -2020 it underwent a comprehensive reconstruction within the project “In the footsteps of the Hutterites”. The most valuable late Renaissance form was restored to him.