Historical Monuments

This small ancient town situated under the High Tatras is the treasury of historical sights. This is also proved by the fact that it was declared the Historical Town Preservation Area with three national cultural sights. One of them can already boast the registration in the Unesco List of the World Cultural Heritage. The old times are present at each turn here.

This national cultural sight was built almost 300 years ago. It ranks among 8 Slovak wooden churches, which were registered in the UNESCO List of the World Cultural Heritage in 2008.

In the place of the present-day castle, the Church of St. Elisabeth stood in the 2nd half of the 13th century. The church belonged to the village of the Saxon colonists. The bases of the church and the adjacent buildings were uncovered in 1964 and they can be observed in the present-day castle courtyard. The castle belongs to the type of the so-called town castles. It was built right in the area of the Town of Kežmarok in order to protect it against the possible enemies. However, finally, its owners fought against Kežmarok, which did not want to give up its rights of the royal town and to become just an ordinary peasant town.

The building of Lyceum comes from 1774 - 1776. It acquired its today´s look by extensions of the first and second floors in the 19th century. In 1787 - 1852, academic classes with the departments of Philosophy, Law, and Theology were established besides the eight class grammar school, and the school changed into a lyceum. In 1852, the lyceum classes were cancelled and the school became the grammar school again.

In the 2nd half of the 19th century, the Protestants living in Kežmarok decided to build a new and more representative temple. In 1870, a church delegation visited the country´s main architect Teofil Hansen, who gave them his own projects, originally intended for Orient. The project of the church interested them with its uniqueness - its building style should not be uniform but eclectic - the building should include the Byzantine, Romanesque, Renaissance, Moorish and even Oriental elements. The church was commenced in 1872, and in 1880 it was already roofed over. The financial problems caused that the construction was interrupted and the church was completed and sanctified only in 1894.

The Holy Cross Church dates back to the times of founding of the Slavonic settlement. Its oldest stone parts (a part of the tower ground floor) come from the Romanesque church from the half of the 13th century. The church as we can see it today comes from 1444 - 1498 when it was greatly rebuilt in the Gothic style. The church has three naves and as it was rebuilt many times it has a unique vault consisting of three types - reticulated, star and cross.

The first Kežmarok town hall stood on one of the oldest Kežmarok streets - on Starý trh (the Old Market). After the invasion of the Hussites in 1433, the town partly burned down and as a result, the centre was moved to its other part, where the new square was built.

Hradné námestie (the Castle Square street) is separated from Hlavné námestie (the Main Square street) with distance arches. Houses were originally built in the Gothic-Renaissance style. Those at the beginning of the Castle Square have the roofs typical for the Spiš Region. Most of the houses were rebuilt in the 19th and 20th century.

The Main Square witnessed all the important events, which took place in the town. In the 15th century, the Hungarian king Sigmund and Polish king Vladislav visited the town, in the 19th century the Saxon king Friedrich August II., in the 20th century the Siamese Prince, the President of the Czechoslovak Republik T. G. Masaryk, and all the presidents of the Slovak Republic.

Close to the Holy Cross Church, there is a Renaissance belfry from 1591. It is considered to be the most beautiful campanile in the Spiš region. It is white, decorated with black sgraffito ornaments. In the past, there used to be gold paintings on it.

In the place of the present-day Redoute, a watchtower used to stand in the past which the Thököly family, the owner of the town castle, let rebuild into a mansion in the 17th century. In 1705 – 1708, it became the printing house of Matej Glaser Vitrarius. In 1818, the building was rebuilt into a Redoute in the style of Classicism. There is a Latin inscription on its facade: VigILIIs hospItIbV aC obLeCta MentIs DestInata (Intended for guards, guests and entertainment). The tower was removed in 1846.

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