Classicistic architecture

By the mid 18th century it was already clear that the Austro-Hungarian monarchy lagged considerably behind the rest of Europe in political, social and economic terms, yet reform could not be fully implemented because of resistance from privileged circles. The initiators of reform and the carriers of new ideas were mainly Empress Maria Theresa and her son Joseph II. The most important artists and architects who created magnificent constructions in towns as well as in the countryside (Primate’s Palace, the Theresianum at Bratislava Castle, the mansions at Holíč and St. Anton also came mostly from court circles. Their style linked the dynamic forms of the Baroque with the temperate elements of Classicism. This new style, inspired by antiquity, came into existence in Slovakia as late as the early 19th century and was to remain for the next few decades. Art was mostly affected by the fact that Slovakia had lost its privileged position in the Kingdom of Hungary when Joseph II transferred the central offices from Bratislava to Buda (present-day Budapest). Secular constructions, the growth of which required changes in production, trade and transport, were the ones which mostly conformed to the Classicist style and to its pragmatic and symmetrical forms. Many smaller-size mansions, the typical permanent or summer residencies of the aristocracy, were built in the countryside (Čečejovce, Abovce, Michalovce, Veľký Blh, Bohunice, Kalinčiakovo and Dolná Krupá). These are situated in almost every Slovak municipality, many of which even contain several of such buildings. Building activity in the towns and boroughs started to grow in the 19th century. Not only were the facades of older houses changed, but new specific-purpose buildings such as county houses, town halls, theatres, hospitals, alms houses, schools, stations and inns were also built, along with other production buildings generally referred to as industrial architecture (Holíč, Prešov, Harmanec, Uhrovec). Arts and crafts, in demand at all levels of society, were also represented by a high number of artists.