Name of the project
Preservation, presentation and development of traditional handcrafts in the cross-border area of the City of Bardejov

Project Interreg V-A Poland-Slovakia 2014 – 2020 for cross-border cooperation called "Preserving, presentation and the development of traditional crafts in the cross-border area" was based on the needs to develop the tourist potential of the cross border area of the town of Bardejov and the town of Grybów that are connected with common history and the needs to preserve the development of traditional crafts. The aim of the project was to create handcraft centers in these historic cities, which would continue the tradition of production of handcraft products. Both centers were established in historical buildings, in the building of the former physical education unit Sokół in Grybow and in Bardejov in the Franciscan monastery.

Condition for the creation of the handcraft center in Bardejov was the restoration of the national cultural monument of the Franciscan Monastery in Bardejov that was in a dire strait state of disrepair at the time. Since the origins of the monastery dates back to the end of the 14th century, the preparation for its restoration required a very sensitive approach.

The monastery underwent a comprehensive reconstruction in the period November 2020 to September 2021 – roofing was replaced, windows and doors opening were replaced, facade was restored, interior plastering, floor coverings were renewed, technical infrastructure of the building was renewed and so on.

During the reconstruction, inappropriate interventions in the monument that occurred during the second half of the 20th century were minimized and the identified monument values of the building were restored. New, unknown information about the object were revealed, and the archaeological research carried out in the monastery area enriched the picture of the historical development of the site with its immovable and movable finds. One of the most beautiful discoveries was the discovery of the medieval exterior decoration of the Augustinian monastery together with the sundial. During the restoration of the facades, the baroque exterior decoration was presented that decorated the completed monastery in the 18th century during the activity of the Franciscan order in the monastery.

In the south-western part of the monastery, between the castle wall and the fence wall, two shooting holes were discovered. This finding helped to identify the so-called "rectangular" bastion of the city fortification from the middle of the 16th century, which historically merged with the monastery building. At present, these shooting holes in question are presented and they form an interesting historical relic.

The interior of the monastery also underwent a complex reconstruction and revealed several rare finds. In the refectory (monks' dining room), as one of the most representative rooms of the monastery, paintings in circular medallions, a stone sink and original flooring material from the end of the 19th century were found.

After the reconstruction of the monastery, the City of Bardejov proceeded to equip individual workshops in the monastery and the traditional kitchen that will be located in the original refectory. The handcraft center is also equipped with a honey workshop, a pottery workshop, a workshop for the production of musical instruments and a carving workshop. The widest possible range of visitors is also be ensured by tools for disadvantaged citizens (leaflet in Braille writing or staircase platform).

For a better presentation of the entire project, the City of Bardejov provided various promotional materials, such as leaflets, a map of the craft center and a video.

The goal of the project was to give back the life of the cultural monument of the Franciscan monastery by its restoration and giving it a new function, which is a handcraft center. The realization of the project reconstructed the ancient monastery, but also created a new space for the presentation of the cultural heritage of the Polish-Slovak borderland.

Mgr. Jana Ličková