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 ...
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

Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba

The Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba, also known as the Great Mosque of Córdoba and the Mezquita is regarded as one of the most accomplished monuments of Moorish architecture.

According to a traditional account, a small Visigoth church, the Catholic Basilica of Saint Vincent of Lérins, originally stood on the site. In 784 Abd al-Rahman I ordered construction of the Great Mosque, which was considerably expanded by later Muslim rulers. The mosque underwent numerous subsequent changes: Abd al-Rahman II ordered a new minaret, while in 961 Al-Hakam II enlarged the building and enriched the Mihrab. The last of such reforms was carried out by Almanzor in 987. It was connected to the Caliph"s palace by a raised walkway, mosques within the palaces being the tradition for previous Islamic rulers – as well as Christian Kings who built their palaces adjacent to churches. The Mezquita reached its current dimensions in 987 with the completion of the outer naves and courtyard.

In 1236, Córdoba was conquered by King Ferdinand III of Castile, and the centre of the mosque was converted into a Catholic cathedral. Alfonso X oversaw the construction of the Villaviciosa Chapel and the Royal Chapel within the mosque. The kings who followed added further Christian features, such as King Henry II rebuilding the chapel in the 14th century. The minaret of the mosque was also converted to the bell tower of the cathedral. It was adorned with Santiago de Compostela"s captured cathedral bells. Following a windstorm in 1589, the former minaret was further reinforced by encasing it within a new structure.

The most significant alteration was the building of a Renaissance cathedral nave in the middle of the expansive structure. The insertion was constructed by permission of Charles V, king of Castile and Aragon. Artisans and architects continued to add to the existing structure until the late 18th century.

Architecture

The building"s floor plan is seen to be parallel to some of the earliest mosques built from the very beginning of Islam. It had a rectangular prayer hall with aisles arranged perpendicular to the qibla, the direction towards which Muslims pray. The prayer hall was large and flat, with timber ceilings held up by arches of horseshoe-like appearance.

In planning the mosque, the architects incorporated a number of Roman columns with choice capitals. Some of the columns were already in the Gothic structure; others were sent from various regions of Iberia as presents from the governors of provinces. Ivory, jasper, porphyry, gold, silver, copper, and brass were used in the decorations. Marvellous mosaics and azulejos were designed. Later, the immense temple embodied all the styles of Morisco architecture into one composition.

The building is most notable for its arcaded hypostyle hall, with 856 columns of jasper, onyx, marble, granite and porphyry. These were made from pieces of the Roman temple that had occupied the site previously, as well as other Roman buildings, such as the Mérida amphitheatre. The double arches were an innovation, permitting higher ceilings than would otherwise be possible with relatively low columns. The double arches consist of a lower horseshoe arch and an upper semi-circular arch.