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The Castle of Spis is the largest medieval castle complex in Central Europe along with the little town of Spisske Podhradie (with its typical Renaissance and Baroque burgher houses), the Church town of Spisska Kapitula (including several sacral monuments and above all the impressing two tower cathedral of St Martin) and the Gothic church of the Holy Spirit in Zehra from the 14th century with its 14th and 15th century interior frescoes. Well conserved monuments along with the charming natural setting of the travertine territory of the National Nature Reserve Drevenik, forms a unique whole. In June 2009, the historic town of Levoca was included into this group of Spis monuments.
Castle of Spis / © Alexander Vojček │Source: Slovak Tourist BoardCastle of Spis / © Ladislav Struhár │Source: Slovak Tourist BoardCastle of Spis - interior / © Ladislav Struhár │Source: Slovak Tourist Board
Castle of Spis / © Roman Malega │Source: Slovak Tourist BoardCastle of Spis / © Ladislav Struhár │Source: Slovak Tourist BoardSpisska Kapitula / © Bedrich Schraiber │Source: Slovak Tourist Board
Spisska Kapitula / © Ladislav Struhár │Source: Slovak Tourist BoardSpisska Kapitula and Castle of Spis / © Alexander Vojček │Source: Slovak Tourist BoardZehra - Holy Spirit Church / © Ladislav Struhár │Source: Slovak Tourist Board
Zehra - Holy Spirit Church - interior / © Bedrich Schraiber │Source: Slovak Tourist BoardLevoca - Cage of Opprobrium / © Róbert Buga │Source: Slovak Tourist BoardLevoca - fortification / © Bedrich Schraiber │Source: Slovak Tourist Board
The Castle of Spis – the area of the castle complex, partially in ruins, is more than 4ha and forms one of the largest castle sites in Central Europe. The castle is situated above the town of Spisske Podhradie and the village of Zehra. Construction of the medieval castle on a travertine hill dates back to the beginning of the 12th century. It was the political, administrative, economic and cultural centre of the Spis County of the Kingdom of Hungary. At present, the collections of the Spis Museum are placed in the castle, along with medieval arms and feudal jurisdiction.

Spisska Kapitula The town, is sometimes also referred to as the ‘Slovak Vatican’. The most important building of Spisska Kapitula is the Late-Romanesque St Martin’s Cathedral. It acquired its massive form of a three-nave building with two towers in the years 1245 to1275. In 1382, a Corpus Christi chapel was added to it, though it was replaced by the contemporary one in the years 1488 to 1493. This chapel of the Zapolsky family imitates the French chapel of Saint Chapelle. Baroque traits were erased by reconstruction in the years 1873 to 1889 in an attempt to give it a medieval character in line with the taste of the period of Romanticism. The Bishop's Palace was built together with the Cathedral as a provost’s palace. In the eastern part of Spisska Kapitula on narrow Gothic plots, the Chapters of the Canonists are accessible only by one narrow lane. The fortifications of this ecclesiastical town, with two entrance gates, were built in the 14th century and rebuilt several times.
 
Zehra – The village of Zehra is known for its precious local Roman Catholic Holy Spirit church. The oldest part of the two-nave church with a square presbytery is a mixture of two styles preserved until the present time. It is a sensitively accomplished combination of the Romanesque and Early Gothic building elements. Lovers of art and history can admire the unique medieval wall paintings that were created gradually, from the second half of the 13th century till the end of the 15th century and were preserved in the church interior.
 
Levoca – This historical town is a true cultural and historic jewel as it possesses a great number of architectural monuments. The driving force of the Levoca's development was trade which gradually acquired an international dimension. The citizens of Levoca traded with Krakow, the Hanseatic towns and even with Venice. The craftsmen of Levoca produced not only for local consumption but also for the markets and fairs throughout Old Hungary and Poland. Later Levoca became one of the main centers of the Renaissance and humanism in Old Hungary. The Town Monument Reserve of Levoca represents a complete set of important cultural and historical monuments bordered by the oblong, relatively well-preserved town walls. The dominant part of the old Levoca is the large rectangular square, with the Roman Catholic St. James Church from the 14th century, which is one of the most important sacral buildings in Slovakia. The tall slender church tower from the first half of the 19th century is the most distinct feature in the city's silhouette. Especially precious is the interior of the church, which is in fact a unique museum of medieval sacral art.
 
The Late Gothic wooden main altar of St. James, at 18.6m is the highest of its kind in the world. It was made of lime wood in 1507 to 1517 in the workshop of Maestro Pavol of Levoca. Maestro Pavol is said to have depicted himself as one of the statues of the twelve apostles in the exquisite composition of the Last Supper scene in the altar`s predella. The church neighbours with the arcaded building of the former Town Hall, was rebuilt after a fire in 1550 and is one of the finest buildings of secular Renaissance architecture in Slovakia. The so-called cage of opprobrium located in the square is from the 16th century and was used in the past as a pillory for public humiliation. The central square is skirted by more than 50 remarkable burgher and patrician houses, many of which carry the name of their former owners. Of special interest is Thurzo's house, which acquired its Neo-Renaissance sgraffito facade in 1904. 
 

Slovakia

The Castle of Spis, Levoca and the Associated Cultural Monuments: Location

Slovakia GPS latitude/longitude: 49.01895 , 20.58631

 

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