UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 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

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

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

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

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 ...
Founded: | Location: Banská Štiavnica, 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

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, eco ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Spišské Podhradie, 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 ...
Founded: 1285 | 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Königstein Fortress

Königstein Fortress is located on the left bank of the River Elbe. It is one of the largest hilltop fortifications in Europe. The 9.5 hectare rock plateau rises 240 metres above the Elbe and has over 50 buildings, some over 400 years old, that bear witness to the military and civilian life in the fortress. The rampart run of the fortress is 1,800 metres long with walls up to 42 metres high and steep sandstone faces. In the centre of the site is a 152.5 metre deep well, which is the deepest in Saxony and second deepest well in Europe.

The fortress, which for centuries was used as a state prison, is still intact and is now one of Saxony's foremost tourist attractions, with 700,000 visitors per year.

By far the oldest written record of a castle on the Königstein is found in a deed by King Wenceslas I of Bohemia dating to the year 1233. It is probable that there had been a stone castle on the Königstein as early as the 12th century. The oldest surviving structure today is the castle chapel built at the turn of the 13th century. In the years 1563 to 1569 the 152.5 metre deep well was bored into the rock within the castle - until that point the garrison of the Königstein had to obtain water from cisterns and by collecting rainwater.

Between 1589 and 1591/97 Prince-Elector Christian I of Saxony and his successor had the castle developed into the strongest fortification in Saxony. The hill was now surrounded with high walls. Buildings were erected, including the Gatehouse (Torhaus), the Streichwehr, the Old Barracks (Alte Kaserne), the Christiansburg (Friedrichsburg) and the Old Armoury (Altes Zeughaus). The second construction period followed from 1619 to 1681, during which the John George Bastion was built. The third construction period is seen as the time from 1694 to 1756, which included the expansion of the Old Barracks. From 1722 to 1725, at the behest of August the Strong, coopers under Böttger built the enormous Königstein Wine Barrel, the greatest wine barrel in the world, in the cellar of the Magdalenenburg which had a capacity of 249,838 litres. It cost 8,230 thalers, 18 groschen and 9 pfennigs. The butt, which was once completely filled with country wine from the Meißen vineyards, had to be removed again in 1818 due to its poor condition. Because of Böttger, Königstein Fortress is also the site where European porcelain started.

Even after the expansion during those periods of time there continued to be modifications and additions on the extensive plateau. The Treasury (Schatzhaus) was built from 1854 to 1855. After the fortress had been incorporated in 1871 into the fortification system of the new German Empire, battery ramparts were constructed from 1870 to 1895 with eight firing points, that were to have provided all-round defence for the fortress in case of an attack that, in the event, never came. This was at this time that the last major building work was done on the fortress.

Because Königstein Fortress was regarded as unconquerable, the Saxon monarchs retreated to it from Wittenberg and later Dresden during times of crisis and also deposited the state treasure and many works of art from the famous Zwinger here; it was also used as a country retreat due to its lovely surroundings.

The fortress played an important role in the History of Saxony, albeit less as a result of military action. The Saxon Dukes and Prince-Electors used the fortress primarily as a secure refuge during times of war, as a hunting lodge and maison de plaisance, but also as a dreaded state prison. Its actual military significance was rather marginal.

Since 1955 the fortress has been an open-air, military history museum of high touristic value.