UNESCO monuments in Slovakia

Despite the fact that Slovakia isn't a big country, there are many UNESCO monuments. Here is the brief information about them.


Historic Town of Banská Štiavnica and the Technical Monuments in its Vicinity (since 1993)

Banská Štiavnica is situated in the central part of Slovakia. As if by magic the historic centre wasn't spoiled by modern times. Its history is mesmerizing, the old medieval mining centre became a town with Renaissance palaces, Gothicc churches, elegant squares and castles. For centuries it had been the centre of mining and education in Europe, it used to be one of the most significant towns in the Middle Ages. Štiavnica used to be called “Silver Town” due to the rich gold and silver resources. Its hidden underground treasures financed construction of the palaces in Vienna and Budapest and the town itself used to be the third biggest one in the Kingdom of Hungary. The establishment of the first Mining and Forestry Academy in Europe in 1762 demonstrates the importance of this town as a centre for the education of mining experts. Also, it was here that gunpowder was used for blasting rocks for the first time in human history. Among the town highlights are Old castle and the Renaissance watchtower of the New castle, the Gothic Church of Saint Catherine, the grand Late Gothic and Renaissance burgher houses, the town hall and the only surviving of the town gates – the Baroque-style Piarg Gate. Open Air Mining Museum is the most visited mine and its visit takes about one and half hour. One of the most sophisticated and the largest hydro-power systems was also developed in Banská Štiavnica: artificial water reservoirs called tajchy. Moreover, it is the place where a famous Slovak poet Sládkovič fell in love with his Muse Marína.


Bardejov Town Conservation Reserve (2000)

Town of Bardejov is located in the north-eastern part of Slovakia, in the region Šariš. Bardejov is historically and culturally rich city, considered one of the most beautiful Slovak towns. The historic center of Bardejov, together with a complex of buildings forming a Jewish suburb of the early 18th century, was in 2000 enlisted in the UNESCO - World Cultural and Natural Heritage Site. The first written mention of Bardejov dates back to 1241 and consists of entry in Ipatievsky annals. Extensive privileges granted by King Charles I in 1320 strengthened further development. By the 15th century, Bardejov was a buzzy medieval town with large economic growth. Bardejov was based on a checkerboard plan with a regular division of streets around a spacious market square. The sightseeing highlights include Town Hall Square with its Reneissance Town Hall built between 1505 and 1509 situated in the centre of the square, Gothic Basilica of St. Giles with a precious collection of eleven late Gothic altars, townhouses around the square, executioner's house, statue of St. Florian, historical water well, Prayer Bikur Cholim. The historic town centre is encircled by the fortification system that was, at the time of its construction, one of the most advanced in Central Europe.  Well-known Bardejovské kúpele (Spa) are situated 5km (3,11 miles) from city centre.



Spišský Hrad and the Associated Cultural Monuments (since 1993)

The remains of Spiš Castle, situated in the eastern Slovakia, form one of the largest castle sites in Central Europe. The Spiš Castle was built in the 12th century on the site of an earlier castle and it was owned by the kings of Hungary until 1464. Later it belonged to he Zápolya family (until 1528), the Thurzó family (1531–1635), the Csáky family (1638–1945) and (since 1945) to the state of Czechoslovakia then Slovakia. Originally a Romanesque stone castle with fortifications, a two-story Romanesque palace and a three-nave Romanesque-Gothic basilica were constructed by the second half of the 13th century. A late Gothic chapel was added around 1470. The Csáky family, last owners of the Spiš Castle, made their mark by many building reconstructions. Once again, the castle had to be fortified during anti-Habsburg uprising led Imrich Tököli and František II. Rákóczi. The castle was abandoned in the early 18th century, except for a small garrison that remained to look after it. In 1780, the castle was destroyed in a fire. It was partly reconstructed in the second half of the 20th century and extensive archaeological research was carried out on the site. The reconstructed sections serve as exhibitions of torture room, medieval kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and armory. 


Levoča (2009)

Levoča, with a number of historical monuments, is one of the most important towns in Slovakia. It is situated in the eastern part of Slovakia, in the Spiš region. The town has a beautiful historical centre with more than 50 Gothic, Renaissance and Early-Baroque patrician houses with arcade interior courtyards. Surrounding the historic town centre are well preserved town fortification walls from 14th and 15th century that are about 2km (1,24miles) long. Several towers, bastions, and Košická and Menhardská town gates have been reconstructed. The Town Hall was built in the gothic style in the 15th century, and it was rebuilt in the renaissance style at the beginning of the 17th century. It has allegorical fresco paintings on its southern wall. The bell tower from 1656 - 1661, which in the 18th century gained some baroque features is connected to the Town Hall. The former Town Hall is today a museum of Spiš culture. There is a so-called "cage of shame" from the year 1600 in front of the Town Hall. The Gothic St. James Church is also the National Cultural Monument and Its late gothic interior, with several fresco paintings from the late 14th century, is very unique. The most unique is primarily the main altar, the tallest wood-carved late-gothic altar in the world that is 18.6m (61ft) high and 6m (19.69ft) wide carved by Master Ján Pavol from Levoča at the beginning of the 16th century. Thurzo House, is the most interesting of the townhouses, created in the 16th century by connecting two Gothic houses it has attractive facade color graphics and the unique gable architecture. 

Vlkolínec (1993)

The best preserved site of folk architecture Vlkolinec is located at the foothills of the mountain chain of Velka Fatra near the town Ružomberok in the north-central part of Slovakia. Vlkolínec is a remarkably intact and complex settlement of the traditional wooden architecture of a central European village in montane and submontane area. It is the region’s most complete group of traditional log houses. The village consists of more than 45 log houses each of them made up of two or three rooms in the middle of a landscape background formed by narrow strips of fields and pastures. Among the surviving houses are also the wooden bell tower from the 1770, museum Peasant House with exposition of original housing and instruments of daily life and work, the baroque Church of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary built in 1875 and a school. Vlkolinec is the only Slovak village that has not been disturbed by new buildings and is still located at its original site. The first written reference about the village dates back to 1376 when it was established as a village of woodcutters and coalmen. 


Wooden Churches of the Slovak part of the Carpathian Mountain Area (2008)

The Wooden Churches of the Slovak part of Carpathian Mountain Area mirror the lives of their builders that wished to live in the harmony with nature. Churches are very simple without luxury proving that simple is beautiful. Two Roman Catholic, three Protestant and three Greek Orthodox churches represent local tradition of religious wooden architecture from the late Middle Ages to the end of 18th century. The most of them were built in quite isolated villages, using traditional construction techniques, at higher, harder to access places that distinguishes them from other village buildings. The churches present unique example of a clash of two cultures Byzantine and Latin. Each of the churches is unique and outstanding in its own way, but they all have interior divided into three parts anteroom, temple and sanctuary. Interiors are decorated with icons (paintings on wood) and paintings on the walls and on ceilings as well as other works of art enriching the cultural significance of the properties.

Caves of Aggtelek krast and Slovak krast (1995)

The UNESCO World Natural Heritage cave formations are located at the south-eastern border of Slovakia and the north-eastern border of Hungary. It forms exceptional group of 712 of different types of caves found in a concentrated area. They display an extremely rare combination of tropical and glacial climatic effects. The most significant cave system is that of Baradla-Domica, a cross-border network richly decorated with stalagmites and stalactites that is an important active stream cave in the temperate climatic zone. Also worth mentioning are two ice-filled caves: the Dobsina Ice Cave, one of the most beautiful in the world and the Silica Ice Cave located at the lowest latitude within the Europe. Another unique cave formation is Ochtinská Aragonit cave, the only one of its kind in Europe, the other two are in Mexico and Argentine. The Aragonite creates various white formations, branches and clusters of aragonite with its spikes and needles. 

Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians - Poloniny/ Bukovské vrchy (2007, 2011, 2017)

Primeval and ancient natural beech forests stretching over 12 European countries. The expansion across European continent is due to tree’s adaptability to different climatic and geographical conditions. Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians situated in Poloniny National Park at the north-eastern border of Slovakia with Ukraine is divided to ten component parts. Four of the components are in Slovak territory (Havešová, Rožok, Stužica, Vihorlat) and six in Ukraine. Some parts of the primeval beech forest are characterized by big differences in altitude (512 – 1,210 m a.s.l.) with 200 year old beech trees as well as 300 year old silver firs and sycamore trees, some have the tallest beech trees in the world reaching up to 56 metres. Globally endangered species of faunu, fungus and flora have been preserved. Lynxes, wolves, bears, bison and elk all inhabit this fascinating wilderness. Natural, cultural and historical beauty and the uniqueness of the territory of transboundary International Biosphere Reserve of the Carpathians were captured on several documents and photographic exhibitions that are appreciated by professionals as well as general public.

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