Caraffa’s prison, a monument commemorating bloody events from the times of anti-Habsburg revolts in the eastern Slovak city of Prešov, will in all probability open to the public as a museum. The Gothic-style building in which 24 burghers, rich and influential citizens of Prešov, were imprisoned before their execution in 1687 will first undergo reconstruction costing almost €440,000. The city intends to apply for EU funds.
“The aim is mainly to make this unique monument available to the public and make it more attractive for tourists,” Marta Martausová of the City Office in Prešov told the ČTK newswire. The historical building in the centre of the city, which dates back to the early 16th century, could be open for visitors in several years. Originally the building was used primarily for wine storage and later some of its parts served as a prison.
Martausová said the building would probably have never become famous had it not been part of the bloody events in the 17th century called the “Prešov Slaughterhouse”. More than 150 years after the building was erected, the Italian commander of the Habsburg army, Antonio Caraffa, held about two dozens Prešov burghers as prisoners there. That was when the Great Hungarian nobility strove to extend its power and religious influence throughout the territory of current Slovakia through several rebellions by nobles. After invading Prešov with the imperial army, Caraffa, a fanatic Catholic, accused 24 men of preparing a conspiracy and after a bogus trial, he had them guillotined and quartered. Even though the executions were not carried out in the building itself, it has remained connected with the event.
In the future, a museum on the ground floor of the building should commemorate these events along with exhibited period documents. The museum will be completed with a hall for small concerts or literary performances and a tourist centre is planned in another part. The city would like to complete the reconstruction of Caraffa prison – which is a national cultural monument – in the next year.