Secrets of St Lawrence Church – the revealed history of Crkvari

Tajne crkve svetog Lovre – otkrivena prošlost Crkvara

Organisers: Archaeological Museum in Zagreb, Institut za arheologiju / The Institute of Archaeology

Venue: Archaeological Museum in Zagreb, 19 Nikola Subic Zrinski Square

Duration: June 7 – August 19, 2018

Authors of the exhibition: dr. sc. Tatjana Tkalčec (IARH), dr. sc. Siniša Krznar (IARH), Anita Dugonjić (AMZ)

Exhibition design, graphic design and prepress: Atelier ANII

Associates: dr. sc. Zorislav Horvat, dr. sc. Mario Šlaus, dr. sc. Željka Bedić, dr. sc. Vlasta Vyroubal, dr. sc. Mario Novak, Dora Kušan Špalj, Damir Doračić

Illustrations: Kristina Turkalj, Nela Kovačević, Marijana Vojtić, Kristina Vujica, Zorislav Horvat, Dora Kušan Špalj, Ana Mrazek Lugarov, Pavle Dugonjić

Photographs: Tatjana Tkalčec, Siniša Krznar, Ivan Valent, Dora Kušan Špalj, Damir Doračić, Tajana Sekelj Ivančan, Vlasta Vyroubal, Hrvoje Jambrek, Arhiva KUD Crkvari, Vladimir Grgurić, Pavle Dugonjić

Translation and proof-reading: Koreo

Technical support: Ivan Troha, Robert Vazdar, Vedran Mesarić, Damir Zbukvić

The project is financially supported by: City of Zagreb, Archaeological Museum in Zagreb

Exhibition summary:

The St Lawrence Church and its graveyard are located on a hill adjacent to the village Crkvari near Orahovica. Systematic archaeological research conducted by the Institute of Archaeology from 2003 to 2013 was financed by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia, and City of Orahovica. During eleven research seasons, archaeologists uncovered various segments of the rich and turbulent past of the people who populated this region in Middle and Modern Ages, and the importance of this position was additionally affirmed by the discovery of a major sacral complex.

The first sacral building was built in the position of an early mediaeval graveyard from the 11th century, which grew from a smaller building into a single-nave early Gothic hall church, which, at the pinnacle of its construction, extended into a large three-nave Gothic church surrounded by deep defensive mounds, with a bell-tower at its western face. The church lost its significance due to Turkish depredations at the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Modern Ages, and was modified into a smaller late Gothic structure with a sacristy. However, burials around the church did not stop during the aforementioned period. After the liberation of Slavonia from the Turkish influence, the church again expanded in the 18th century, and assumed the configuration it has today. The church' mediaeval phase of existence is connected to the activities of Count Nikola of Orahovica (of Ilok), and other members of aristocratic family of Ilok (Iločki). It had to be an important spot in the late mediaeval Orahovica landscape dominated by two large fortresses: Stari Grad and Ružica Grad. The graveyard around the church points out the continuity through four burial horizons, in the period from the 11th century to the 18th century. One grave, considered to hold a member of the higher class, stands out among other interesting burials due to a very unique find: a round lead seal, that is, the Bull of Pope Callixtus III (1455-1458).   

Archaeological research of Crkvari has shifted the borders of our past knowledge, and changed our image of the settlement of this part of mediaeval Slavonia.