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Church of St. Helen, Podpeč

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Address: Podpeč, Podpeč, 6275 Črni Kal
The succursal Church of St. Helen was built in 1489, stands below the village on loose flysch terrain and was substantially damaged in 1966 during the constructi-on of the railroad.

There is only room for the church and the narrow strip of the cemetery on the plateau, as the terrain descends steeply below the church towards Rižana Valley. There are still preserved elements from the time of the origin of the church – i.e. the Gothic presbytery and the Gothic window in the nave. The outside of the presbytery window is carved with the year 1640 and the church was modernised to the Baroque style in 1706, as evident from the date carved in the side portal. The church does not have a bell tower and the bell, which was cast by Francesco Broili in Udine, hangs from a wooden framework in front of the church. The single-nave church has a presbytery with a termination forming three sides of a regular octagon and a vestry that was built in later years. Above the entrance portal is a small round window. Next to the entrance, there are two subsequently incorporated Gothic reliefs featuring St. Helen and Emperor Constantine. The nave has a flat ceiling and the semi-circular arch between the nave and the presbytery is accentuated on the sides by pilaster capitals. The Gothic presbytery contains a ribbed vault. The northern wall has a built in Gothic custodia adorned with a Venetian Gothic geometric decoration. Today, the presbytery only holds the altar table, as the altar equipment and frescoes were removed in 1966 when railroad construction began and the church started sliding due to the unstable terrain. The church used to have a main altar in the presbytery and two side altars in the nave. The finest fresco fragments – Mary with Jesus and Christ on the Cross with John the Bap-tist and Mary, representing the artistic peak of the workshop of John of Kastav – were on the nave’s side walls. The frescoes were discovered in 1949 by Dr. Branko Fučić, who read the year 1489 as the year of their origin. The fragmentary preserved frescoes were removed in 1966 when the construction of the railroad began and they were exhibited in the Koper Regional Museum and the National Gallery of Slovenia in Ljubljana. In 1998, both fragments were returned to adorn the nave of the church in Podpeč again. Between 1966 and 1968, a Gothic ciborium with a metal cover was discovered, as well as traces of older paintings in the nave.

 


GPS Northing (N) : 45,5234 
GPS Easting (E) : 13,9089 
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Administrator : Turistično informacijski center Koper | ++386 5 664 64 03 | | last modified: 07/02/2012
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GPS N: 45,5234
E: 13,9089

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