Kežmarok
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    This town has 17 500 inhabitants. It is situated in the northern Slovakia, in picturesque Spiš land under the High Tatras mountains, 626 m above the sea. It is a centre of the district and one of cultural and tourist centres in the Spiš region.
    The town was founded by unification of several originally Slavic settlements with a settlement of German immigrants.
    The first written notice about the town comes from the year 1251. In 1269 Kežmarok gained some of the King´s privileges. In the 15-th century it gained some more - the right to organise two open markets per year, the right of sword and the right to use its own sign etc. Whereas the town has a suitable position, it was a crossing point of important trade routes coming from Orient to the Northern Europe. From the 15-th to the 19-th century about 40 guilds worked in the town. This was the reason why it was one of the four most important towns in Slovakia in past (there were 263 craft plants in 1715).
    Kežmarok was an important educational, cultural and art centre. Many writers, artists and scientists famous all around the Europe lived here. The first written notice about a school is from the 14-th century. This was the begin of musical, creative and dramatic arts in this region.
    The town had a multinational character. Nowadays you can find there Slovak, Czech, Polish, German, Hungarian, Ukrainian and Roma people.
    More than seven centuries long history of the town influenced its architecture, too. It contains the Roman, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles. A very peculiar feature of the town is its cradle shaped centre with a Mayor House in the middle and a castle at the end. Kežmarok is one of important reservations of historical monuments in Slovakia. It is full of churches and old townsman houses (the most interesting are the following National Cultural Monuments: a wooden Evangelic church from 1717 and an Evangelic Lyceum from 1775. The Roman-Catholic Church of St. Cross from 1498 was awarded the title Basilica Minor by the pope.
    The tradition of folk crafts remained till today and has been presented each year in the second week in July since 1991.

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