On the top of a hill overlooking the peaceful village of Cerin (Čerín) in Slovakia sits a quiet church with a gothic history.
Cerin is located 12 miles from the edge of Banska Bystrica (Banská Bystrica) in central Slovakia. (Google map directions from Banska Bystrica to Cerin).
We toured the perimeter of the church, and the entrance to St. Martin church was locked.
Satisfied with our visit, we turned to leave, but not before a couple climbed the hill and held a key up (while explaining in Slovak that they could give us a tour).
Meet our tour guides, Robert and Katalina!
While we spoke as much Slovak and they did English (little to none), we had an amazing tour and learned a surprising amount about the church and belltower.
Robert asked if we were from America, and when he found out we were from Minnesota, he smiled and excitedly said “hockey”! In fact, my husband brought a little bit of Minnesotan hockey to Slovakia, as he’s playing for a nearby team.
In 2015, the church celebrated it’s 700th year anniversary. Katalina pointed out that the church was built in 1315. In comparison, the oldest continuously occupied settlement in the United States is St. Augustine, Florida, founded in 1565.
Watch your step going down from the balcony. The steps are about half the size of regular stairs. I’m guessing the church parishioners in the 14th century weren’t over six feet tall!
The interior of the church still contains many original fresco murals.
Impressively, several pieces, like the church stone christening water basin (shown in aerial view of church in earlier image), are originals.
Other pieces and art inside the church were added over the last several hundred years.
In recent years, the church and bell tower were renovated.
The gate was built by Robert’s own hands. Katalina planted the flowers on the steps leading up to the church.
This little guy was trying to get inside the
pearly wood gate! Worry not; “All dogs go to Heaven”!
Katalina encouraged me to explore and climb throughout the church grounds. The bell tower ladder reminded me of climbing up a barn hayloft (which made me feel at home).
Robert followed us right up the ladder and even rang the bell for us.
Slightly off the beaten path, Cerin is well worth the short drive out of Banska Bystrica. Step onto the grounds and back in time.
Do you know our guides?
If anyone knows Robert and Katalina, of Cerin, and can put me in contact with them, I would be most appreciative. I’d love to share this post with them and thank them for their tour.
If you’re in the area for the day, hike the Pol’ana forest to Waterfall Bystre. See my post on “Vodopád Bystré: Slovakia Travel”.
And take a day trip to Bratislava (see my post “24 hours in Bratislava”).
Enjoy your time in Slovakia! Join the Native Gypsies adventure on Instagram (@nativgypsies). Been to Slovakia? Tell us what other must-see Eastern European spots should be on the travel list.
*All prior photos by Brooke