Dolany Historical Trail

A Brief History of Doľany

The first reference to the area in which the village of Doľany is situated, is in a document dating from 1256 in which it is called “terra Ompudini” (meaning “Ompudinis´ territory”. The village, however, was established in the 14th century by German settlers. The first written reference, with the name “Ottondal” (Otto’s Valley”) dates from 1390. It was later called by the slightly different name of “Ottenthal”. In the 17th century the name Ompitál (“Ompid´s Valley”) occurs in the written sources. This name was also used by Slovaks.

Initially Doľany was a German village. The Slovaks settled here in the second half of the 16th century. Between 1543 and 1550 Doľany obtained “market status”. This meant that Doľany had municipal jurisdiction and four or six markets could be held each year. The village was based on viticulture. The area was owned by the Fuggers and later the Pálffys. The aristocratic Palfy family established a glass factory 5 km (3,10 miles) from Doľany in the second half of 17th century. Near the glassworks a settlement with the German name Glasshutten grew up, which the Slovaks called Hute. The glassworks became uneconomic and was closed in 1750. The population of the settlement was decreasing.

In the middle of the 18th century the nationality ratio changed. Slovak speaking habitants became predominant. From this time onwards municipal documents are written in the Slovak language and the name Ottenthal was changed to Ompitál.

In the 20th century the village was enlarged rapidly through extensive building. It saw the most rapid development in its history. In 1948 the Ministry of the Interior changed the name of the village to Doľany. Nowadays there are more than one thousand inhabitants and the village has an area of 1255 hectares.

1. Memorial to Juraj Fándly (Historic Landmark)

This stone memorial was built by Matica Slovenská ( the most important Slovak cultural association) in 1926, in honour of Juraj Fándly, the most productive writer in Slovak language at the turn of the18th and 19th centuries.

On the memorial there are three boards with texts. On the front board is written: „To Juraj Fándly, Slovak revivalist and writer, who died in this village on March 7th 1811. Matica Slovenská." On the left hand board is written: „Juraj Fándly lived in this village during his youth, he retired here, died here on March 7th 1811 and is buried here. Doľany 1990.“ On the right hand board is written the quotation from Fándly´s work: „Where I lived the gladsome youth, in this enjoyable place, there I settled down, for the last serenity“. Juraj Fándly, 1807.“

2. Juraj Fándly´s Family House (Historic Landmark)

An influential Slovak writer and national revivalist, Juraj Fándly grew up in this house. He was born on October 21st 1750 in Častá, a village near Doľany. Both his parents came from Doľany, so after a couple of years of living in Častá they moved back to Doľany. He graduated in Divinity and was ordained in 1777. He officiated as a priest in Sereď, Lukáčovce and Naháč. In 1807 he retired early and settled in Doľany. He built his own house behind his parents’ house, where he lived till his death on March 7th 1811.

Juraj Fándly was a prominent member of Bernolak´s movement. (Anton Bernolák codified a literary Slovak language based on the Trnava dialect.) He was the cofounder of “Slovak Scholastic Joernywork”, a writer, poet, historian, and an advocate of improvements in agricultural science and hygiene. His first book was published in 1789. It was the very first literary work in the first codified Slovak language. In the next few years he wrote educational works for farmers, and books on history and religion. He wrote a total of 38 works.

3. Belltower (Historic Landmark)

There are no written documents about the origin of this stone tower. It is thought to have been be built as the municipal tower at the same time as Doľany became a town, in the middle of the 16th century.

Its ground-plan is square. Its walls are 4.5m (13.12 ft) wide and 18.22m (59.05ft) high. It served as a bell tower and a watchtower to guard against invasion by enemies during times of war. For these reasons the bell was situated up in the tower. Originally the ground floor of the tower was open and was used as a passage over the creek. The entrance into the tower was on the first floor.

Its location above the dried up creek is what makes this tower unique in comparison with other towers. Juraj Fándly wrote about this unique point with patriotic feeling. He described it as a rarity in Europe, because „... such a type of special feature does not exist in Vienna, Paris nor in Rome.“

4. Juraj Palkovič´s Family House (Historic Landmark)

Juraj Palkovič lived in this house during his childhood and returned as an adult. He was a translator, publisher and a patron of Slovak literature. He was born on May 24th 1763 in Veľké Chlievany. Both his parents came from Doľany, so after some years they moved back with Juraj to Doľany, probably in 1774. Juraj Palkovič studied Divinity and in 1788 he was ordained. He held the highest clerical positions as a canon and an archdeacon and from1825 he was a priorin St. Stephen´s Church in Ostrihom where he died on January 21st 1835.

Juraj Palkovič, as a generous patron, supported many Slovak writers such as the poet Ján Hollý to whom, following the death of the Slovak revivalist Anton Bernolák, he published a five language dictionary of Slovak, Czech, Latin, German and Hungarian. He also published works by Hugolín Gavlovič, M. Rešetka and A. Rudnay.

Juraj Palkovič was an active writer. He translated some works from German, Greek and Latin. His lifelong work was a translation of the Bible into Bernolak´s Slovak language, which he published himself in two volumes in 1829 and 1832. It was the first published Slovak translation of the Bible!

5. Vincent Lechovič´s Family House

Vincent Lechovič came from this house. He was a missionary on the island of Timor, a writer, translator, composer and a publisher of works in native Timorian languages such as Davan and Indonesian.

He was born on June 14th 1922 in Doľany. He studied Philosophy and Divinity in Slovakia and Italy. In 1949 he was ordained in Rome. In 1950 he went to the Indonesian Island of Timor to be a missionary. He was active there until 1979, when he had an apoplectic stroke which left him partially paralysed. His missionary activity ended because of this and for the rest of his life he lived in a missionary house in Mödling in Austria. He died there on October 24th 1995.

He made an important contribution to the development of Timor’s literature and music. He compiled, translated and published several works such as a prayer book, three hymnals, and translations of some parts of The Old Testament and The New Testament into the native Davan and Indonesian languages. He wrote one stage play and translated another from German. He published a Catechism and wrote „The History of Chaprelry Soa“. He published all these works at his own expense or with the help of various donors.

His last book was „Memories on Timor“ (1992), in which he described his fruitful and interesting life from his childhood until the year 1955.

6. Parish Church (Historic Landmark)

There is an indirect reference to the existence of the church in the first written mention of Doľany in 1390. The original gothic church dates from the 14th century. The church was bastioned by a stone defensive wall with loop holes. Most of the wall still remains standing. The church has been rebuilt and enlarged many times during the centuries:

  • In 1664 construction of a bigger nave was started.
  • In 1678 the wooden roof support was rebuilt in stone and enhanced.
  • Between the years 1731 and 1756 a new sacristy was built and the old, damp one was pulled down sometime between 1756 and 1781.
  • From 1782 to 1786 the church was enlarged by the addition of a stone choir loft.
  • From 1832 to 1834 the church was further enlarged with a church tower. Most of the construction was funded by Juraj Palkovič.
  • The last extension was done in 19??? when the sacristy was extended on the right side of the church.

The church is 13.8m (42.650 ft) wide and 36.4m (118.110 ft) long.

7. The Calvary

The Calvary dates from 1894. It consists of the traditional 14 chapels built in Neo-Gothic style. Scenes of the crucifixion are painted on tin plate. The Calvary ends at the top of the hill. The Calvary includes three crucifixes, situated behind it. They date from 1758 and were added by the then priest Jozef Plecho. The middle one represents the crucifixion of Jesus and the side ones represent the crucifixion of the two criminals.

The Calvary was designed by a native of Doľany, Konštantín Várdai, an academic professor of drawing. He designed the structures and the scenes in the chapels.

Konštantín Várdai worked at the Budapest University of Creative Art for 46 years, after studying at the Hungarian Royal State School for teachers of drawing. Thanks to him drawing lessons started to be given not only in universities but also in high schools. After the death of his wife in 1923 he often stayed in Doľany where he supported the parish and the poor. He is the architect of the chapel at Častá´ cemetery too. He died on April 23rd 1936 in Doľany. His tomb, with typical brick facing, is situated 50 m (164 ft) to the right side of the Calvary road.

8. The Small Church of St. Sebastian

The Small Church of St. Sebastian is situated at the top of the Calvary hill. It was built in baroque style in 1708 with the help of the estate of the priest Pavel Hartperger (who served in Doľany in 1659 – 1673 and 1677 – 1685). The small church is 8,2m (26.25 ft) long and 6.5m (19.68 ft) wide.

9. The Small Church of St.Leonard (Historic Landmark)

The Small Church dates from the 14th or 15th century and is built in gothic style. A unique feature of this church is that its left part is set into rock. Most of the rock juts into the interior of the church and it fills the space under the wooden church gallery. Sometime after the year 1645 the church was enlarged with a chapel built out from behind vertically to the original church. The ground-plan of the present church is L-shaped - in size about 14.1 m (45.93 ft) x 17.3m (55.77 ft). Today it is the only medieval church in the area.

A small cave is situated behind the church. According to an ancient folk legend this cave stretched to France and St. Leonard came this way from France to Doľany.

Long ago anchorites lived near the church. The last anchorite who lived here, probably until the year 1759, was Remigius from Moravia.

The small church is widely known in the area because catholics from Doľany and surrounding villages come here for a pilgrimage on the seventh Sunday after Easter every year. Within living memory morning services continued to be held at 5 am every Sunday in the church between St. Leonard’s day (November the 6th) and Easter Monday.

10. Juraj Fándly's Grave