Discover Levoca and Spis region’s Hidden Gothic Gems
Discover Levoca and Spis region Hidden Gothic Gems, in Eastern Slovakia. You’ve probably heard the word before Bratislava. You might even know that really is a city somewhere in Eastern Europe like Levoca. However, very few people know that, in Bratislava, Slovakia, comfortable capital city is very attractive, unique and well-preserved old town and back to back to the times before Christ was born.
Our Little Big City Levoca was hidden behind the Iron Curtain for many years. However, even the long rule of the communist regime could not destroy the unique character of the city on the Danube. Bratislava was unveiling itself recently become very popular with tourists. The main low-cost airlines, plus the destination list, Bratislava, more and more visitors to find out what gem Bratislava.
Over the past decade, tremendous growth in the number of countries traveling an expanding European Union and the Eastern Slovakia was particularly popular. People have discovered what a fabulous city of Bratislava, for example, and only 60 km from Vienna, it is easily accessible to many people. Now is a real enthusiasm for exploring the less well-known in this fascinating, landlocked country is – a small town Levoca fabulous selection.
Levoca and the Spis Region , with less than 15,000 inhabitants, is a historical Slovakia at its most picturesque and attractive. Approximately 370 km from Bratislava, and part of what is called “Gothic Route Levoca is extremely picturesque Spiš heart. Close national parks Slovak Paradise and the High Tatras, which are popular in both summer and winter tourists Levoca makes an ideal base for exploration of all of this attractive area.
Slovakia Online will show you that Levoca and the Spis region is the only city that was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage list since June, 2009 – but the visitors quickly appreciate the fact that this recognition was well deserved. Well-preserved city walls – 6 watch towers, still the same old three gates – the majority of buildings in the city center still have their original walls dating back to the Middle Ages.
The main portal of the city, Kosice gateway is directly behind the ornate Baroque church and monastery from the eighteenth century. Town Square, which is a photographer’s dream location, home of the 14th century St. Jacob’s church, Town Hall, dating back to 15th century, parts, and several other impressive buildings and grand symbolic and strange “shame” Cage.
The medieval old town is quite small, but it is packed with historical monuments, shops and nice cafes, restaurants and bars creates a unique atmosphere. It’s great just to sit in cafes and soak up the spirit of the place.
Unlike the crowded colorful neighborhood in Prague, Vienna and Budapest, you can actually enjoy the local flavor in Levoca and the Spis region. Come and experience the unique atmosphere of this Little Big City.
Levoča is located in the historical region of Spiš (formerly Szepes), which was inhabited as early as the Stone Age. In the 11th century, this region was conquered and, subsequently, became part of the Kingdom of Hungary and remained such until 1918. After the Mongol invasions of 1241/1242, the area was also settled by Germans. The town became the capital of the Association of Spiš Germans, with a form of self-rule within the Kingdom of Hungary. The oldest written reference to the city of Levoča dates back to 1249. In 1317, Levoča (at that time generally known by the German name of Leutschau – see Chronology below for lists of changing names) received the status of a royal town. In 1321 a wide storing right was granted enticing merchants, craftsmen and mine owners to settle in this town.
In the 15th century the town, located on an intersection of trade routes between Poland and Hungary, became a rich center of commerce. It exported iron, copper, furs, leather, corn, and wine. At the same time the town became an important cultural centre. The English humanist Leonard Cox taught around 1520 in a school in Levoča. The bookseller Brewer from Wittenberg transformed his bookstore in a prolific printing plant, that lasted for 150 years. Finally, one of the best-known medieval woodcarvers Master Paul of Levoča settled here.
The town kept this cultural and economic status until the end of 16th century, in spite of two damaging fires : the first in 1550 destroyed nearly all of the Gothic architecture and another in 1599. In this period of prosperity several churches were built and the town had a school, library, pharmacy, and physicians. There was a printing press as early as 1624. Levoča was a center of the Protestant Reformation in Northern Hungary. The town started to decline during the anti-Habsburg uprisings in the 17th century.
In a lurid sequence of events in 1700, the mayor of the town was accidentally wounded by a local nobleman during a hunt, generating a series of revenge attacks, finally resulting in the murder of the mayor, Karol Kramler, a Saxon magistrate. The mayor’s arm was then cut off, embalmed, and preserved in the town hall as a call to further revenge. This became the subject of a Hungarian novel about the town, The Black City, by the writer Kálmán Mikszáth.
The economic importance of the town was further diminished in 1871 when the important new Košice–Bohumín Railway was built just 8 km (5.0 mi) to the south, bypassing Levoča and going through the nearby town of Igló, (today known by its Slovak name, Spišská Nová Ves). Later, in 1892, only a spur line was built from Spišská Nová Ves railway station to Levoča.
After the Treaty of Trianon and the dismantling of the Kingdom of Hungary, the city became part of the newly formed Czechoslovakia and its Slovak name Levoča was formally adopted. Later, during World War II, under the auspices of the First Slovak Republic, 981 local Jews were deported from the town to concentration camps.
On July 3, 1995 Levoča was visited by Pope John Paul II. He celebrated a mass for 650,000 celebrants at the traditional pilgrim site of Mariánska hora, a hill about 2 km north of Levoča with a spectacular view of the town.