The best of Gothics in Slovakia

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This re-known architectonic style passed throughout Europe and thus it left its significant mark in Slovakia. One can even say that it has been preserved here the best, and in abundance not found everywhere in what then was the Kingdom of Hungary. The style survived here thanks to several decisive victories against Turkish raids after the Battle of Mohacs. The Gothic style. A noble, glamorous and modestly decorated style of architecture, which has its admirers all over the world and represents the true essence of the medieval spirit.

The places we publish here are just the most famous must-see sites. Slovakia has countless of other lesser-known, but yet still wonderful examples of gothic sites. So let’s start our exploration of the Middle Ages through vaults, altars, frescoes, broken windows, stained glasses, presbyteries and sculptures.

10 | KEŽMAROK 

Kezmarok gives you a choice. The town is known in particular thanks to the wonderful wooden articulated temple, a UNESCO monument and a beautiful castle. However, Kežmarok this former arch rival of nearby Levoča with more than a century worth of records of wars on a “Spiš way” also conceals other ecclesiastical buildings. One of them is a basilica that doesn’t appear promising from the outside, but it has a very pretty interior, which is the result of several reconstructions following the church’s, conversion from Catholic to Protestant and back again to Catholic.

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Photo: Jakub Plasczynski

 

9 | SPIŠSKÁ NOVÁ VES

Spišská Nová Ves cannot compete in terms of the number of landmarks when compared to nearby Levoča. But it has two very important sites. It has the largest square featuring an elliptical shape in the world and a pretty Gothic church which actually has the highest tower in Slovakia. A great observation point from where you can make out the whole square but also see the Tatra mountains in the distance.

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8 | HRONSKÝ BEŇADIK

This monastery was established more than a thousand years ago and it is characterized by a special medieval stillness only to be found in a monastic church with a very rare relic, which Pope Paul II gave to King Matthias Corvinus. This is the so-called “God’s blood” on the loincloth, with which Veronica wiped Jesus’ bloodied face, according to the Bible. The relic is located in the Chapel of God’s Blood and belongs to one of the most important Christian pilgrimages in Central Europe.

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7 | PREŠOV

If you plan to visit Košice and you have the opportunity, do not hesitate to make a stop in Prešov. Certainly this so-called “con-cathedral” does not have the grandeur of its more famous Košice sister. However, its interior with decorations, frescoes and several significant altars is definitely worth a visit.

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6 | SPIŠSKÁ KAPITULA

It can be easily spotted from the world famous Spiš Castle. This Cathedral in the middle of the medieval ecclesiastical town, is something akin to a Slovak Vatican, encircled by walls. This is an important example of medieval architecture in Slovakia with the beautifully illuminated neo-Gothic chapel of the Zápoľský family built on it’s side. It is noteworthy that the Gothic face of this previously Romanesque structure was the result of 18th century modifications along with previous Baroque construction attempts. Thus, the Cathedral was registered in UNESCO mainly thanks to this unique blend of well preserved architecture dating back to the late Romanesque period.

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Photo: Július 

 

5 | BRATISLAVA

A temple that perhaps does needs no introduction. It is known not only in Slovakia but also beyond its borders as one of the major historical landmarks of Bratislava. It is the coronation cathedral of 9 Hungarian queens and 10 kings. WIth a huge gilded crown at the apex of its tower. Also featuring a masterpiece designed by George Rafael Donner, the sculpture of St. Martin riding a horse. This is supposed to be one out of a total of 4 similarly sculptured statues in the world.

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Photo: Expedia

 

4 | TRNAVA

In Trnava it is a bit difficult to choose just one thing. If Trnava is famous for something, it is its significant number of churches. However, if you like Gothic architecture, the choice is clear. The Gothic jewel, the Basilica of St. Nicholas, whose main nave belongs among the most beautiful examples of this architecture in Slovakia. And there’s more:  in the side chapel there is a rare miraculous icon of Our Lady of Trnava, which at the time of Turkish conquests is purported to have shed tears.

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3 | BARDEJOV

A visit to this Basilica is a journey into the Middle Ages and its masterpieces. When you find yourself there, we definitely recommend to explore the main nave, criss-crossed with gothic altars. Do visit the tower to enjoy a magnificent view of one of the most beautiful squares in Slovakia in Bardejov, a UNESCO world heritage town.

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2 | LEVOČA

We guided you through Levoča here not so long ago so just as a recap. One of the main reasons why Levoca is on the prestigious UNESCO list is its basilica. More specifically its amazingly decorated interior, where among a large number of rare medieval altars reigns the highest wooden Gothic altar in the world, the altar of Master Paul. This is clearly one of the top sights in Slovakia and Central Europe.

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1 | KOŠICE

A landmark building inspiring only superlatives, it stands without equal in Slovakia. The biggest, largest and Europe’s easternmost Gothic cathedral in the middle of the beautiful center of Košice. Confidently rivalling some of the most important and visited temples in Europe. During its visit definitely do not miss the view from the tower and the guided tour to the extensive set of paintings on the sumptuously decorated main altar.

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© Expedition Slovakia 2018

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