Catastrophe for the Kingdom of Hungary followed when in 1526 the Turks defeated King Louis Jagellon at the battle of Moháč. Many towns on the territory of modern-day Hungary, Croatia and Serbia were totally destroyed, villages plundered, precious monuments devastated. It meant a tough end especially for many precious medieval monuments and buildings. One part of the kingdom remained almost intact; however, thanks to its succesful defences. And so today we can still admire a lot of amazing architectural examples of medieval glory in the territory of Slovakia.
Many of you probably explored Bratislava and its precious medieval monuments. Only a few tourists, though, are probably familiar with the medieval masterpieces outside of the capital city.
Now is the time to discover them! Take our tour and come to explore and be amazed by the medieval beauty of the towns of Slovakia. Get out of Bratislava and…enjoy!
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13. JUST ONE SQUARE BUT…WITH WHAT AN ATMOSPHERE
When you are in Poprad just look more carefully at the map and after a small while you will find a jewel. And it is even not that far from city centre. Spišská Sobota, a district of the city, is this small jewel with a beautiful medieval square which, not once, charmed King Matthias Corvinus. And no wonder. So if you are up to explore some interesting places in Poprad after going on a hike, definitely visit this place.
12. A SMALL GEM IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE
A rather underrated town when compared to its other more famous Spiš neighbours, it has a large medieval lens-shaped square with burgher houses, an old monastery surrounded by walls and a fine example of the Spiš Renaissance. If you are travelling to the famous Lubovňa castle, definitely give Podolínec an hour of your time. You won´t regret it.
11. ROMANTIC HISTORICAL JEWEL ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF PICTURESQUE WINE COUNTRY
Near to the Czech border you can find splendid history embodied in ten ecclesiastical monuments of various architectural styles from Romanesque to Baroque and beautifully decorated houses. And when you try the local delicacy, a sweet cake called Trdelnik together with a glass of the local wine you will be delighted you came to visit beautiful Skalica.
10. MORE THAN JUST A CASTLE
The medieval square of Spišské Podhradie is bordered on one hill by the medieval UNESCO listed ecclesiastical complex of Spišská Kapitula (a magnificent medieval walled town ) and by the spectacular rocky giant of Spiš Castle on another. Looking for a better reason to visit this place than this one?
9. SMALLER THAN KOŠICE, THOUGH NO LESS CHARMING
Situated less than 45 minutes from Košice, Prešov resembles Košice in every sense. Having the same lens-shaped, though smaller, square with a Cathedral and several churches and with a lot more really fine examples of Renaissance architecture, Prešov is a perfect blend of town and city.
8. THE GOLDEN HEART OF SLOVAKIA AND…EUROPE!
It is not only its location in the hills, its glorious history, and the beautiful Church of St. Catharine with neighbouring castle complex which makes this town special. It is also the fact that it is home to one of the oldest continuously working companies in the world (the National Mint) and close to the spot which is considered by some to be very geographical centre of Europe. Whoever visits Kremnica will soon be charmed by this beautiful medieval town.
7. BE AMAZED BY THE HISTORY AND…BY THE MARVELOUS VIEWS
Here you can find both. For centuries, Kežmarok and Levoča competed to be the crown of the Spiš region. Even though Levoča won, it does not mean that Kežmarok lacks any of Levoča’s historical splendour. With its great Renaissance castle, neoclassical town hall, Gothic basilica and UNESCO listed wooden Articular church with its spectacular interior, the town is well worth a visit. And when we count the beautiful views of the Tatra mountains, that is something Levoča does not have on a daily basis..
6. MEDIEVAL CASTLE SILHOUETTE VISIBLE FROM VERY FAR
You won´t find a lot of towns like this one in Central Europe. Squeezed between a steep rock topped by the medieval castle and the River Váh, Trenčín boasts some really fine examples of medieval houses and a Gothic church, though the majority of the town is predominantly baroque in character. However, it still deserves a place on this list thanks to the minimum changes it has gone through thanks to its location. Perhaps the Romans who left here their famous inscription on the rock may have said to each other: “This really is a very nice place in which to settle down” 🙂
5. MIDDLE AGES WITH MARVELOUS VIEWS
In a place where the River Hron snakes it way between two hills lies one of the most beautiful Slovak towns. Banská Bystrica is not only a gateway to the magnificient Low Tatras National Park, but also a home to many great museums, medieval buildings and even a town castle complex. So have a sip of the tasty local Urpiner beer and enjoy the atmosphere of this great place.
4. THE MOST GOTHIC TOWN
When it comes to the Gothic spirit and its masterpieces there is hardly any rival in Slovakia. Everything from the houses, the town hall to the Church of St. Aegidius have traces of Gothic architechture. The town looks very much like typical a Bavarian town and there is no similar example in Slovakia or any of its neighboring countries. Welcome to the UNESCO town Bardejov , a pure medieval Gothic jewel.
3. A TRULY MEDIEVAL RENAISSANCE PEARL
Whether among the mysterious arcades of the Renaissance town hall, the dark Gothic cloister or the pillars of St. James the Basilics , the medieval spirit permeates this beautiful town. Just spend one day discovering the medieval town houses, admiring the highest wooden Gothic altar of the world and hiking up the Marian hill to explore an area that has barely changed since the Middle Ages. Does it sound like a dream? UNESCO Renaissance pearl Levoča offers an invitation for such a dream!
2. EXPLORE ONE OF THE BIGGEST LENTICULAR SQUARES IN THE WORLD!
St. Elisabeth´s Cathedral has already been mentioned here, but it would be a mistake not to not mention its marvelous surroundings. Walk along Košice´s Main street (which is actually one of the biggest lenticular squares in the world) and you will find an amazing historical world where medieval houses and churches are mixed with the most beautiful neoclassical architecture in Slovakia.
1. A MUST SEE FOR MEDIEVAL LOVERS!
It is said that in this magical UNESCO town you can only go only up or down hill. Medieval burgher houses, churches, museums, castles, medieval fortresses charming cafes… All located in a steep terrain of an extinct volcano as a remembrance of a past mining glory. There are no flat spaces here but the effort of getting around is well worth it.. Surely one of the most beautiful towns in Europe with an inimitable genius loci. Welcome to Banská Štiavnica.
© Expedition Slovakia 2016 with the much appreciated help of Mr. Jonathan Gresty
The cover photo was provided by Peter Olekšák
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In the next post we will show you the beauty of Slovak Paradise National Park!