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THE ANNUAL DAYS OF MASTER PAVOL FESTIVAL REVIVES THE TOWN'S LEGENDS

Top pick: The White Lady of Levoča returns

MASTER Pavol Square in front of Levoča Town Hall will serve as the stage for a play every Thursday this summer. And in the Cage of Shame - used in the past to publicly humiliate those who misbehaved - will sit the legendary White Lady of Levoča.
"Master Pavol and the White Lady of Levoča are the town's most famous legends," says Ladislav Péchy the programme director of the Days of Master Pavol.
The wood-carver is most famous for the 18.6-metre high Jacob's altar, the tallest such altar in the world, which sits in St. Jacob's Church on Master Pavol Square. Juliana Korponay-Géczy, alias the White Lady, is a historical figure that played a role during the Rákoczy uprising - a revolution aimed at freeing Hungary from Austrian rule.


LEVOČA's White Lady (inset) is said to still prowl Town Hall.
photo: Ján Svrček

MASTER Pavol Square in front of Levoča Town Hall will serve as the stage for a play every Thursday this summer. And in the Cage of Shame - used in the past to publicly humiliate those who misbehaved - will sit the legendary White Lady of Levoča.

"Master Pavol and the White Lady of Levoča are the town's most famous legends," says Ladislav Péchy the programme director of the Days of Master Pavol.

The wood-carver is most famous for the 18.6-metre high Jacob's altar, the tallest such altar in the world, which sits in St. Jacob's Church on Master Pavol Square. Juliana Korponay-Géczy, alias the White Lady, is a historical figure that played a role during the Rákoczy uprising - a revolution aimed at freeing Hungary from Austrian rule.

For three years both Master Pavol and the White Lady have been the inspiration for Levoča's annual Days of Master Pavol, which runs through the entire summer. In addition to concerts of classical music, pop and jazz, demonstrations by craftsmen, and mime performances, the story of the White Lady of Levoča comes alive every Thursday at 11:00 and 14:00.

The 20-minute show performed by the Divadlo na hradbách theatre company is inspired by the legend created by Hungarian novelist Mór Jókai. The White Lady though, really existed.

Legend has it that the lady fell in love with a captain of the enemy army. To prove her love to him, she let his soldiers into the town of Levoča through a secret corridor. In doing this she betrayed her husband and her people. She was sentenced to death and executed in 1714. Since then her ghost has been wandering the halls of Levoča Town Hall.

"The play is quite demanding, because for each performance we need a new actress, as her head gets cut off," Péchy, the brains behind the play, jokes.

According to historian Pavol Dvořák, the truth is that Korponay-Géczy was one of those who negotiated the settlement of the Rákoczy uprising.

The White Lady of Levoča remains immortal thanks to the legend. And her portrait, painted by Viliam Forberger, which shows her in a white dress with a red scarf, is one of the first things visitors to Levoča Town Hall see.

The programme of the Days of Master Pavol runs from Tuesday to Friday every week through August 29. For more information visit www.spisnet.sk/suzlevoca or call 053/4510-416.

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