In all kinds of promotional material intended to lure tourists to Slovakia you will find words like “natural beauty”, “awesome national parks”, “great hikes”, “amazing trails”, “wonderful environment” etc. Of course, what they say is true. Slovakia is indeed a natural jewel and (forgive us Czech, Polish, Ukrainian and Hungarian fellow neighbours) boasts a great natural beauty that can be hardly challenged.
But Slovak nation also has one of the oldest historical traces in the region. And as a result, this history (common with Hungary, Austria and Germany) gave space to the creation of miraculous architectonic landmarks that can rival ones of much bigger countries. And indeed… the density of these landmarks is pretty high. Though, as usual, we do not want to “bore” your eyes with too many words 🙂 So here it comes! 21 most remarkable historical landmarks of Slovakia! Enjoy! (and give us a like, share or subcribe to the page below, thank you!)
21. BRATISLAVA CASTLE – THE PHOENIX RISING FROM THE ASHES!
Destroyed twice in its writtten history: first by Napoleonic forces, secondly by communists (via “reconstruction”). Now it is being carefully reconstructed according to written documents and is currently being renovated. One of the symbols of the country with a stunning view in the old heart of the capital that definitely deserves its place on this list. The Bratislava Castle.
20. NITRA CASTLE CORONATING THE COUNTRY
From a distance, even before entering the city of Nitra, you can see this complex of ecclesiastical buildings of St. Emeramus Cathedral and the castle complex. Simply Nitra´s most remarkable place to visit and a must when crossing this historical region full of chateaus and old medieval churches.
19. ONE OF THE BEST VIEWS ON MAGICAL BANSKÁ ŠTIAVNICA FROM ITS CALVARY!
A Baroque masterpiece of this UNESCO town with the BEST sunrises over the town. It was once on the UNESCO list of the most endangered landmarks of the world. Currently it illuminates the night sky to prove its past glory! Simply a magical place with stunning views!
18. ITALIAN RENAISSANCE IN THE HEART OF EUROPE REPRESENTED BY THE CHATEAU OF ZVOLEN
His name wast King Louis the Great of Anjou and he decided to have this beautiful chateau designed according to the Italian town palaces, simply in order to use it as his hunting sanctuary. No wonder! Contrarily, today it is used mostly for wedding ceremonies 🙂
17. THE BIGGEST CROWN OF THE WORLD DOMINATING ST. MARTIN’S BRATISLAVA CATHEDRAL
It is not only the mentioned crown, but the masterpiece of Georg Raphael Donner inside, a great organ and a copy of the Sancta Corona Hungariae (with the original one in Budapest’s Parliament) as proof of the common history that should definitely grab your attention! And the best time to visit is during Coronation Days (usually in June) which take you back to the past glory of this great cathedral.
16. HUGE KOMÁRNO FORTRESS ON THE CONFLUENCE OF TWO RIVERS!
What the Turks could not do the Russians managed to do. This fortress, used by Soviet forces as a military base during the occupation of Czechoslovakia after 1968, is one of the biggest fortresses of Europe, with highways as long as a few kilometers. With a little imagination you can still find a Theresian historical spirit in the huge corridors painted occasionally by Russian cyrilic graphitti. The submission to the UNESCO Tentative list only underlines the great importance of it.
15. PILGRIMAGE COMBINED WITH ARCHITECTONICAL MASTERPIECE IN THE NATIONAL BASILICA OF ŠAŠTÍN
A short stopover off the D1 highway snaking its way through the Záhorie region can change your day when you wsee the splendor of Baroque embodied in this beautifully decorated Basilica with an abbey. One of the most important places for Christians all around.
14. ITALIAN BAROQUE EMBODIED IN TRNAVA´S ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST CATHEDRAL
This Baroque Cathedral looks stunning even from the outside. But that is little in comparison to its marvelously decorated interior. Enjoy the paintings and sculptures that have clear a Italian influence in the town called, for its numerous churches and ecclesiastical buildings, “The Slovak Rome”.
13. SPLENDIND MIXTURE OF STYLES INSIDE BRATISLAVA´S TOWN HALL
You may be one of those tourists who just passed the courtyard of the Town Hall or even worse passed it through narrow street leading to Main Square. A mistake. Just give it a chance and enter the magnificent world of different architectonical styles, great baroque halls, a gothic chapel, amazing frescoes and sculptures and then climb up the tower to complete the mosaic of the great Bratislava´s history via the most beautiful view of the capital.
12. SURROUNDED BY THE MIDDLE AGES IN HRONSKÝ BEŇADIK – BENEDICTINE ABBEY
Almost a thousand-year-old Abbey located on the hill where the river Hron flows out of a little canyo. It is full mysteriously dark corridors, beautiful cloister, a relic of the Holy Blood from Veronica´s scarf and one of the most beautiful gothic churches of Slovakia. If you are on your way to Banská Štiavnica, this is simply a MUST!
11. HISTORY OF THE GEMER REGION IN THE BETLIAR CHATEAU
Great English park complex, numerous countryside-like historical structures, one of the biggest taxidermic collections in Slovakia, a collection of Egyptian mummies and, grandest of all, one of the most beautiful libraries in the country… these are only a few of many reasons to visit Betliar.
10. A GOLDEN TOWN WITH THE GOLDEN CHURCH OF ST. CATHERINE
Kremnica itself is a magnificent town. Scattered on the hills with a beautiful centre enclosed by walls; it built its glory on the golden past, backing the Kingdom with golden coins. Now serving as a beautiful tourist spot with the St. Catharine´s Church and castle complex dominating the town. The best time to visit is during the Central European festival of organ music! And… one of the Europe’s geographical centres is just 30 minutes a drive!
9. THE TRENČÍN CASTLE OFFERS BREATHTAKING VIEWS WITH A COCKTAIL OF PAST LOVE
This castle is visible from afar and upon entrance to the town its situation on a bed of steep rock and the vast area of the castle will amaze you. There is also an added bonus of a love story between Fatima and Omar, and a well build by Omar as a proof of their love. It may only be a myth, but definitely a striking one, underlying the magic of this place!
8. ST. AEGID CHURCH IN THE MOST GOTHIC TOWN OF SLOVAKIA
No, you are not in Bavaria! This is Bardejov, UNESCO´s Gothic jewel with a breathtaking square and an even more breathtaking church. Get lost inside and explore the spirit of the Gothic soul hidden between the pillars and old altars.
7. AMAZED BY BARDEJOV CHURCH? JUST WAIT TIL YOU SEE LEVOČA´S ST. JAMES BASILICA
Inside this Gothic masterpiece mentioned in our first post, every altar whispers a a different story from the Middle Ages. And if you are lucky, you can feel the real spirit of the dark past in the silence and in the grandeur of the highest Gothic wooden altar in the world!
6. THE REBIRTH OF THE MAGNIFICENT KRÁSNA HôRKA CASTLE
Not that long ago, news stations around the world broadcasted the horrific story of the Krásna Hôrka castle that was up in flames. Fortunately 90% of the inner showpieces survived and in two years the castle should be prepared to reclaim its glory as one of the main symbols of Slovakia, winning many competitions as one of the most beautiful castles in the country. Be prepared for that! (The picture shows the previous face of the castle, presently it looks even better).
5. OVERLOOKING THE RIVER FROM A STEEP ROCK, THAT IS THE ORAVA CASTLE!
Haven´t had enough of castles? Wait, there are still some waiting to grab your attention. At least you know that you are in the country of castles! As we mentioned in our introductory post , the castle of Orava served as a movie set for the famous Nosferatu. Now you will find a peaceful place high over the Orava river with magnificient views of the stunning Western Tatras range here. You can choose to come on the river as well!
4. SLOVAK VATICAN SURROUNDED BY WALLS AND AGES OF SPIRITUAL SILENCE CALLED SPIŠSKÁ KAPITULA
A special approach and respectful behaviour is expected once you enter this ecclesiastical town where the houses of priests stand opposite the houses of priests. You will be rewarded by amazing views of the huge Spiš Castle and Romanesque-Gothic St. Martin´s Cathedral. Another with simply „boring“ Medieval spirit. And yes, this is yet another UNESCO site!
3. PAYS DE LA LOIRE SPIRIT EMBODIED IN ONE BOJNICE CASTLE!
There is nothing more to say. As we mentioned in first post, this castle combines the best elements and structures of French Loire castles, with a beautiful chapel, a Golden Hall and for those who still have energy, the biggest ZOO in Slovakia is just behind the castle! A must-do day trip!
2. THEY SAY: “THE 5TH BIGGEST IN THE WORLD”, WELCOME TO SPIŠ CASTLE!
Medieval Spiš, again, this time represented by a huge castle, a UNESCO site: one of the main symbols of Slovakia, a tourist hot spot, one of the most iconic and the most photographed places of Central Europe and the location of famous medieval games. Those are only few superlatives that underline the historical importance of this place. And the view from the top offers a country that changed very sligthly since the Middle Ages!
1. GOTHIC MASTERPIECE OF KOŠICE THAT CAN RIVAL ANY CATHEDRAL IN EUROPE!
They say that Bratislava has a castle and the Danube river, but Košice has a CATHEDRAL! And what a Cathedral! St. Elizabeth is a MUST and reason alone to visit Košice! Trust that you will be amazed and fully awarded!
© Expedition Slovakia 2016