Early-Romanesque Church of St. Elias on Meraja, Vinkovci


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The foundations of the oldest church belong to the early-Romanesque structure which was built as a single-nave church with exterior decorative-support elements (originally called "lezena") with the overall length of 11.45 m. There was a graveyard around the church, and burials were carried out before its construction, so that care was taken about the graves during the construction. Dating of the church is based on the money found in graves belonging to Ladislav I, which indicated that the church was built during the rule of Koloman (1095-1115), so that this early-Romanesque church could be placed in the year of 1100. The early-Romanesque Church of St. Elias is one of the rare old-Croatian sacral structures in the continental Croatia. The church must have been demolished during the onslaught of the Tartars in 1242. It was probably reconstructed later, but it was also insufficiently large, which resulted in construction of a new and bigger church which was partly situated on its southern longitudinal foundation. It can be assumed that it must have served as an additional structure along with the new church for a while, i.e., as a chapel or a sacristy.

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