Spiš Castle and Levoča day tour, explore the history of Slovakia
During the tour around the Spiš Castle and the town of Levoča you will learn all about the great historical sites that we have in our Spiš Region.
The biggest castle, the highest wooden gothic altar in the world, old frescoes and much more…
We start our day trip at Spiš Castle – one of the biggest European castles with the area of (41 426 m²).
Brief history of the Spiš Castle
It was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List 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 a previous castle. It was a political, administrative, economic and cultural centre of Szepes (Spiš) County of the Kingdom of Hungary.
Before 1464, it was owned by the kings of Hungary, afterwards (to 1528) by the Zápolya family, theThurzó family (1531–1635), the Csáky family (1638–1945), аnd (since 1945) by the state of Slovakia. Originally a Romanesque stone castle with fortifications, a two-story Romanesque palace and a three nave Romanesque-Gothic basilica were constructed by the the end of the second half of the 13th century.
The second extramural settlement was built in the 14th century and thus the castle area was doubled. The castle was completely rebuilt in the 15th century; the castle walls were heightened and the third extramural settlement was constructed.
A late Gothic chapel was built around 1470. The Zápolya clan contributed to the late Gothic transformations, which remade the upper castle into a comfortable family residence, typical late Renaissance residence of the 16th and 17th century.
The last owners of the Spiš Castle, the Csáky family, abandoned the castle in the 18th century because they considered it to be too uncomfortable to live in. They moved nearby to the newly built village castles/palaces in Hodkovce near Žehra and Spišský Hrhov.
In 1780, the castle burned down, and has been deserted ever since.
The castle was partly reconstructed in the second half of the 20th century. An extensive archaeological research was carried out on the site. The reconstructed sections house displays of the Spiš Museum.
The second place to visit is the town of Levoča.
The main entrance to the old town is via the monumental Košice Gate (15th century) behind which the ornate baroque Church of the Holy Spirit and the New Minorite Monastery are located.(c. 1750).
The town square (Námestie Majstra Pavla – the Master Paul’s Square) boasts three major monuments:
- the quaint Old Town Hall (15th-17th century) in which a museum is situated
- the domed Evangelical Lutheran Church (1837)
- the 14th century Roman Catholic Church of St. James (in Slovak: Chrám svätého Jakuba, in English often mistakenly referred to as St. Jacob’s). It houses a magnificently carved and painted wooden Gothic altar, the largest in Europe, (18.62 m (61.09 ft) high), created by Master Paul around 1520.
The square is very well preserved (despite one or two modern incursions) and contains a number of striking buildings which were the townhouses of the local nobility in the late Middle Ages. The iron “Cage of Shame”, dating back to the 17th century, used for public punishment of miscreants is also situated here.
A plaque on one of the houses commemorates the printing and publication of the most famous work of Comenius, the Orbis Pictus. Historical Museum and a museum dedicated to the work of Master Paul can be also found here in the square.
|DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION||Poprad or the Tatra Mountains in Slovakia|
|DEPARTURE TIME||Picking you up from your hotel at 9 AM|
|RETURN TIME||Approx. at 5 PM|
|WEAR||Leisure clothes, sunscreen is great in summer|