Uncovering the words of the Bible in a UNESCO church

The mural paintings on the wall resemble Giotto’s work.

Spiš Castle and ŽehraSpiš Castle and Žehra (Source: ARCHÍV ARNIKA TRAVEL)

This article was published in the Košice Region Travel Guide. Discover the region on the border between Western and Eastern European culture with our regionial guide.

Žehra ranks as one of the oldest inhabited villages of the Spiš region and its Church of the Holy Spirit is on the UNESCO World Heritage List as part of the “Levoča, Spiš Castle and Associated Cultural Monuments” grouping.

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While this onion-domed church is noted for its age, with initial construction dating to 1245-1275, and its romanesque and gothic architecture, the mediaeval mural paintings remotely resembling Giotto’s work make it truly special.

The murals depicting Biblical scenes spread from the floor up to the ceiling, with the oldest one dating to 1275. The best of the murals are in the sanctuary on the triumphal arch and the north wall.

The paintings were originally intended as a way for the illiterate mediaeval church-goers to access the Bible. They were whitewashed after the plague outbreak in the middle of the 17th century and the first attempt to reveal them occurred in the late 19th century. They were only completely uncovered in the 1950s.

Opening hours:

The church is open on Mondays through Saturdays. Booking a visit in advance is necessary.

Ticket prices:

Admission for adults is 1,7€.

Related article Košice Region travel guide: discover the region on the border between Western and Eastern European culture with our guide. Read more 

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