History of Smokovce

Some people cannot imagine a holiday without a visit to a historical or cultural monument. Are you one of them? We will be happy to present you some tips for famous and lesser-known cultural and historical treasures in the High Tatras region. We have prepared a few tips for you, which are only a few kilometres away from Mengusovce.

Swap the hiking trail for the educational trail “History of Smokovec” and get to know the history of the existence of the Tatra settlement Starý Smokovec (14km). Through informative stops you will learn more about the past of settlement and life in Smokovec.

Gothic Way

If you want to experience an adventurous journey across the Spiš – Gemer region, take the Gothic Route. This is the first thematic cultural and cognitive journey in Slovakia. Through castles, monument reserves and zones, manor houses, churches, national cultural monuments you will get to know the history of the Spiš and Gemer regions better. The Gothic Route has four circuits, namely the Spiš-Gemer, the Spiš-Tatra, the Spiš-Pennine, and the Gemer-Rimava.

The region of the High Tatras falls under the Spiš-Tatra Circuit, which includes the following Gothic Route sites: the Church of St. Servác in Vrbov (28km), the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in Ľubica (29km), the Wooden Evangelical Articular Church, the Basilica of St. Cross and Kežmarok Castle in Kežmarok (27km), Church of St. Catherine of Alexandria in Veľká Lomnica (21km), Church of St. Egidius in Poprad (14km), Church of St. George in Spišská Sobota (17km) and Church of St. Stephen the King in Matejovce (17km).

Wooden churches

In addition to the above-mentioned churches, the so-called wooden churches of the Tatras are well-known and often sought after in the Tatra region. The most famous ones can be found in Stary Smokovec, Dolny Smokovec and Tatranská Javorina.

The church in Stary Smokovec (14km) is known from various promotional materials. It is the second oldest church in the Tatras with distinctive stained glass windows by Vincent Hložník. The church in Dolný Smokovec (19km) from the end of the 19th century is unique in that its two naves are partly in the air. It is an example of Tatra wooden architecture that is worth a visit. The church in Tatranská Javorina (54km) is open to the public every Thursday by appointment, with the first entry at 11.00 am and the last at 2.00 pm.

Cultural-historical monuments

The Podtatranská region has, besides sacral monuments, other cultural and historical monuments that are worth seeing. The district towns of Poprad and Kežmarok have a rich history. Poprad, known as the gateway to the High Tatras, has several cultural and historical gems. In the historic centre of Poprad, the most important monument is the Church of St. Egidius, where medieval wall paintings from the 15th century have been preserved.

Next to the church stands a Renaissance bell tower from the 16th century, which is typical for “Upper Silesian” towns. The urban part of Poprad – Spišská Sobota is an urban conservation area. It is dominated by the Church of St. George from the middle of the 13th century with a Gothic interior and an altar from the workshop of Master Paul of Levoča. The main square is bordered by 16th- and 17th-century townhouses, which today serve as cultural or state institutions. Many of them provide restaurant and hotel services.

Town of Kežmarok

Kežmarok is often referred to as a historical town under the Tatras. There are several reasons. The historic core of Kežmarok is declared a town conservation area. The wooden Evangelical Articular Church and the Evangelical Lyceum are national cultural monuments. The Wooden Evangelical Articular Church is even inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The dominant feature of the town is the Kežmarok Castle, which was built in the 15th century for the purpose of defence. Later, however, the castle was rebuilt and transformed from a defensive to a representative residence. The tour of the castle is in the period May – September from 9.00 to 18.00, the last entrance is at 16.30. Entrances are every full hour and the tour is only possible with an escort. An overview of the price list can be found here.

Manor House Strážky

Not far from Kežmarok is the Strážky Manor (31km), which is the dominant feature of Spišská Bela. The manor house has a typical four-circle plan with an inner courtyard. There is an English park from the 19th century, which multiplies the charm of the manor. The Strážky Manor serves the Slovak National Gallery for the presentation of several exhibitions. Opening hours are from 10.00 – 18.00. Opening hours and entrance fees can be found here.