UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Slovakia

Levoca

Levoča town has a historic center with a well preserved town wall, a Renaissance church with the highest wooden altar in World, carved by Master Paul of Levoča, and many other Renaissance buildings. Levoča is part of the UNESCO to World Heritage List of Levoča, Spiš Castle and the associated cultural monuments. Levoča was inhabited as early as the Stone Age. In the 11th century, this regio ...
Founded: | Location: Levoča, Slovakia

Spis Castle

The ruins of Spiš Castle (Spišský hrad) is one of the largest castle sites in Central Europe. It was included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1993 (together with the adjacent locations of Spišská Kapitula, Spišské Podhradie and Žehra). Spiš Castle was built in the 12th century on the site of an earlier castle. It was the political, administrative, economic and cultural centre of Szepes County of th ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Spišské Podhradie, Slovakia

Banská Stiavnica Town

The town of Banská Štiavnica and the technical monuments in its vicinity represent a unique symbiosis of the technical landscape and the urban environment resulting from its mineral wealth and the consequent prosperity that this engendered. Banská Štiavnica is the oldest mining town in Slovakia; its town seal of 1275 is the earliest known bearing a mining emblem. It lies on the steep slopes of the Glanzenberg and Par ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Banská Štiavnica, Slovakia

Bardejov Town

The fortified town of Bardejov provides exceptionally well-preserved evidence of the economic and social structure of trading towns in medieval Central Europe. The plan, buildings and fortifications of the town illustrate the typical urban complex that developed in Central Europe in the Middle Ages at major points along the great trade routes of the period. There is evidence of human settlement there as early as the Pala ...
Founded: | Location: Bardejov, Slovakia

Vlkolínec

Vlkolinec is a remarkably intact unitary settlement of a characteristic central European type with log-built architecture, which is often found in mountainous areas. The layout of the town has remained virtually unchanged and the architectural style has been fully retained. There are 45 unaltered buildings in the ensemble, retaining many early constructional features. It is the best preserved and most comprehensive set of ...
Founded: | Location: Vlkolínec, Slovakia

Spisskà Kapitula

Spišskà Kapitula, a unique fortified ecclesiastical ensemble, began as a small fortified settlement overlooking Spišské Podhradie in the 12th century. It was the site of the residence of the Provost of the castle, in the no longer extant St Martin"s monastery, and later became a capitulary. This was destroyed in by Tatars in 1241-1243, but the pilgrim"s chapel, in rotunda form and dedicated to the Virgin, survived unt ...
Founded: 1285 | Location: Spišské Podhradie, Slovakia

Spisské Podhradie

The town of Spišské Podhradie was founded as a settlement, at the base of the castle mound, which was already fortified at that time, but quickly it became independent of the castle. The first church, destroyed in a Tatar raid, was rebuilt in Romanesque style in 1258-73, probably by the same Italian masons who constructed the first castle. It was granted town privileges and became an important textile centre ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Spišské Podhradie, Slovakia

Kezmarok Church

The Wooden articular church in Kežmarok was built by the local Lutherans during a period of religious persecution, when they were allowed to erect only wooden churches. That is why even nails were made exclusively of wood. The construction was financially supported by Protestants from various countries, including Sweden and Denmark. The only stone part of the church is its sacristy, originally built in 1593 as a pub out ...
Founded: 1593/1717 | Location: Kežmarok, Slovakia

Saint Francis Church

The earliest historical proof of existence of the Hervartov village is from the year 1340. The exact date when the wooden church was built is not known. According to the saved remains of the original Gothic altar, which was probably in place in the second half of the 15th century - the altars of St. Catherine, Virgin Mary and St. Barbara are from the years 1460-1480. This assumption is supported by the fact that the archi ...
Founded: c. 1480 | Location: Hervartov, Slovakia

Hronsek Church

Reformation in central Slovakia already had many sympathisers and devotees by the middle of 16th century. In particular, the influence of the neighbouring mining towns and the frequent contacts between German traders and craftsmen and local residents, helped them to disseminate and accept new reformation ideas. That is why it is unsurprising that by that time, Hronsek"s aristocracy, and consequently their liege peopl ...
Founded: 1725 | Location: Hronsek, Slovakia

All Saints Church

The pride of Tvrdošín and its oldest preserved building is the Gothic wooden All Saints church situated in the local cemetery. In 2008, along with seven wooden churches of the Slovak part of Carpathian Mountain Area, it was included on the UNESCO Word Heritage List. Its origins date back to the second half of the 15th century and it was rebuilt in Renaissance style in the 17th century. The Baroque altar from the end of ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Tvrdošín, Slovakia

St. Nicholas Church

St. Nicholas Church is a wooden Greek Catholic Church of the Eastern Rite situated in a village Bodruzal in Svidnik district in the Presov region. It is registered on the UNESCO"s World Heritage List as part of the Wooden Churches of the Slovak part of the Carpathian Mountain Area. The church is part of a unique urban entity situated on an elevated place in the village centre. Apart from the church it is made up of ...
Founded: 1658 | Location: Bodružal, Slovakia

St. Michael Archangel Church

St. Michael Archangel Church cbelongs to the so-called Lemkov"s group of the eastern Carpathian wooden churches of the eastern rite (Greek Orthodox Church). The horizontal segmentation of the spacious nave reveals the conjunction of different geometric formations of roof level, a substantial height zoning and a Baroque form of a multi-staged roofing over a single room. This confirms the thesis that Lemkov"s grou ...
Founded: 1742 | Location: Ladomirová, Slovakia

Lestiny Church

The wooden articled Evangelical church in Leštiny was built 1688 with wooden belfry. The lavishly painted interior decoration of the church is from the 17th and 18th centuries. Visitors are attracted especially by the main altar from the beginning of the 18th century, church pews with coats of arms, Renaissance baptistery of the 17thcentury, a copy of the burial flag of J. Zmeškal, and an epitaph of M. Me&sc ...
Founded: 1688 | Location: Leštiny, Slovakia

St. Nicholas Church

The wooden church in Ruska Bystra was built by worshippers in the first half of 18th century, in approximately 1720-1730. As it is considered to be the result of folk sacral civil engineering, there is no knowledge of an exact date of its origin or the name of the master builder or the master carpenter. During the canonical visit of Bishop Michael Emanuel Olsavsky from Mukacevo on 25th June 1750, the church was mentioned ...
Founded: 1720-1730 | Location: Ruská Bystrá, Slovakia

Zehra Village

Zehra is one of the earliest Slovak settlements in the region. In the later feudal period it formed part of the castle domain, with a manor in the village. The village was first mentioned in local records in 1245, when Count Johann of Žehra was given permission to construct a church there by the church authorities of Spiš. The Church of the Holy Spirit was completed in 1275. It is noted both for its picturesque appeara ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Zehra, Slovakia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Veste Coburg

The Veste Coburg is one of Germany's largest castles. The hill on which the fortress stands was inhabited from the Neolithic to the early Middle Ages according to the results of excavations. The first documentary mention of Coburg occurs in 1056, in a gift by Richeza of Lotharingia. Richeza gave her properties to Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne, to allow the creation of Saalfeld Abbey in 1071. In 1075, a chapel dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul is mentioned on the fortified Coberg. This document also refers to a Vogt named Gerhart, implying that the local possessions of the Saalfeld Benedictines were administered from the hill.

A document signed by Pope Honorius II in 1206 refers to a mons coburg, a hill settlement. In the 13th century, the hill overlooked the town of Trufalistat (Coburg's predecessor) and the important trade route from Nuremberg via Erfurt to Leipzig. A document dated from 1225 uses the term schloss (palace) for the first time. At the time, the town was controlled by the Dukes of Merania. They were followed in 1248 by the Counts of Henneberg who ruled Coburg until 1353, save for a period from 1292-1312, when the House of Ascania was in charge.

In 1353, Coburg fell to Friedrich, Markgraf von Meißen of the House of Wettin. His successor, Friedrich der Streitbare was awarded the status of Elector of Saxony in 1423. As a result of the Hussite Wars the fortifications of the Veste were expanded in 1430.

Early modern times through Thirty Years' War

In 1485, in the Partition of Leipzig, Veste Coburg fell to the Ernestine branch of the family. A year later, Elector Friedrich der Weise and Johann der Beständige took over the rule of Coburg. Johann used the Veste as a residence from 1499. In 1506/07, Lucas Cranach the Elder lived and worked in the Veste. From April to October 1530, during the Diet of Augsburg, Martin Luther sought protection at the Veste, as he was under an Imperial ban at the time. Whilst he stayed at the fortress, Luther continued with his work translating the Bible into German. In 1547, Johann Ernst moved the residence of the ducal family to a more convenient and fashionable location, Ehrenburg Palace in the town centre of Coburg. The Veste now only served as a fortification.

In the further splitting of the Ernestine line, Coburg became the seat of the Herzogtum von Sachsen-Coburg, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg. The first duke was Johann Casimir (1564-1633), who modernized the fortifications. In 1632, the fortress was unsuccessfully besieged by Imperial and Bavarian forces commanded by Albrecht von Wallenstein for seven days during the Thirty Years' War. Its defence was commanded by Georg Christoph von Taupadel. On 17 March 1635, after a renewed siege of five months' duration, the Veste was handed over to the Imperials under Guillaume de Lamboy.

17th through 19th centuries

From 1638-72, Coburg and the Veste were part of the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg. In 1672, they passed to the Dukes of Saxe-Gotha and in 1735 it was joined to the Duchy of Saxe-Saalfeld. Following the introduction of Primogeniture by Duke Franz Josias (1697-1764), Coburg went by way of Ernst Friedrich (1724-1800) to Franz (1750-1806), noted art collector, and to Duke Ernst III (1784-1844), who remodeled the castle.

In 1826, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was created and Ernst now styled himself 'Ernst I'. Military use of the Veste had ceased by 1700 and outer fortifications had been demolished in 1803-38. From 1838-60, Ernst had the run-down fortress converted into a Gothic revival residence. In 1860, use of the Zeughaus as a prison (since 1782) was discontinued. Through a successful policy of political marriages, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha established links with several of the major European dynasties, including that of the United Kingdom.

20th century

The dynasty ended with the reign of Herzog Carl Eduard (1884-1954), also known as Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a grandson of Queen Victoria, who until 1919 also was the 2nd Duke of Albany in the United Kingdom. Under his rule, many changes made to the Veste in the 19th century were reversed under architect Bodo Ebhardt, with the aim of restoring a more authentic medieval look. Along with the other ruling princes of Germany, Carl Eduard was deposed in the revolution of 1918-1919. After Carl Eduard abdicated in late 1918, the Veste came into possession of the state of Bavaria, but the former duke was allowed to live there until his death. The works of art collected by the family were gifted to the Coburger Landesstiftung, a foundation, which today runs the museum.

In 1945, the Veste was seriously damaged by artillery fire in the final days of World War II. After 1946, renovation works were undertaken by the new owner, the Bayerische Verwaltung der staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen.

Today

The Veste is open to the public and today houses museums, including a collection art objects and paintings that belonged to the ducal family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a large collection of arms and armor, significant examples of early modern coaches and sleighs, and important collections of prints, drawings and coins.