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However, the town's path through history was not always easy. It suffered an endless war with the neighbouring town of Kežmarok and, despite being a hub of trade and culture, resisted the onset of humanism and the Renaissance, which were opposed by the Habsburg monarchy and the local Catholic Church.
Yet two major reform movements did manage to take hold in Levoča in the 16th century: Lutheranism and Anabaptism. Preacher Andrej Fisher was a major promoter of the latter, and his efforts caused Levoča to undergo the most dramatic changes it has ever experienced.
Fisher gave secret sermons in the shadows of the town's fortification wall and in private houses. This gradually divided the townspeople, and Fisher was banished. But the stubborn priest refused to be silenced, even by attempts to execute him. (Legend has it he fell from gallows half alive).
In the end, it was bountyhunters for the powerful tycoon Bebek that finally did away with Fisher some time between 1539 and 1540 by throwing him from the walls of Krásna Hôrka Castle.
This postcard from 1926 depicts one of Levoča's renaissance courtyards.
Prepared by Branislav Chovan
17. Jul 2006 at 0:00