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Spectator's guide to local UNESCO sites

Sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List are considered to have exceptional cultural and natural value. Although Slovakia is small, it has several such sites. The Slovak Spectator brings you a brief description of each and invites you to visit them.

THE LARGEST in Central Europe, Spiš Castle lords over the hills.
photo: Anton Frič

Sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List are considered to have exceptional cultural and natural value. Although Slovakia is small, it has several such sites. The Slovak Spectator brings you a brief description of each and invites you to visit them.

Banská Štiavnicawas the country's most important mining city from the 13th to 18th centuries, and grew into a town with Renaissance palaces, 16th century churches, elegant squares, and castles. Its Mining Academy, founded in 1762, was the first institution of higher education of its kind in the world.

Spiš Castleis the largest medieval castle in Central Europe, dating back to 1113, when it laid along an important trade route to the Baltic Sea. The historical settlements of Spišská Kapitula, which was founded as an independent religious community under the castle, and the village of Žehra, which is home to the Gothic Church of the Holy Spirit, are also UNESCO heritage sites.

Vlkolínecis an old village settlement in the mountainous region of north-central Slovakia. It has more than 40 wooden houses built between the 15th - 19th centuries in a style typical for this region.

Bardejovis a Gothic town founded in the 14th century that bears a well-preserved castle complex, as well as Gothic and Renaissance houses. Its St. Egidius Church, from the 15th century, and Town Hall, built from 1505-1511, are national cultural monuments.

Slovenský kras(Slovak karst) is a part of the Karst territory that stretches to Hungary. In 1995, it and Aggtelek were inscribed onto the UNESCO World Heritage List. Four of its caves in eastern Slovakia (Domica, Gombasek, Silická and Jasovská), as well as the Ochtinská Aragonit caves, belong among the most beautiful in the area.

In 2000, the Dobšinská ľadová jaskyňaice cave was approved as part of the Aggtelek Karst and Slovak Karst World Heritage sites. This ice cave, which holds 145,000 cubic metres of ice that is 7,000 to 9,000 years old, was discovered in 1870 and opened to the public in 1872. It is the first cave in Europe to be illuminated by electricity.


Prepared by Marta
Ďurianová from www.sacr.sk
and www.unesco.org

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