Are you a history lover? Bardejov town, hidden in North-East Slovakia is a true jewel where you can admire history. Some of our clients say it is a textbook of history. Read our travel blog and watch our short video on our YouTube channel. Enjoy!
Where do I start our tours?
I walk to the Heart of the Old town – to Town Hall square. I look around and enjoy the atmosphere. From 3 sites the square is surrounded by colorful fairy-tale houses (former burgher houses) and there are 2 dominant buildings – Basilica of St. Egidius and former Town Hall. Welcome to the most preserved medieval town of Slovakia.
1, Basilica of Saint Egidius – one of the dominants of the square, standing in the northern part of the square, is a Roman-Catholic gothic three-nave structure. The oldest parts of the church go back to the 14th century.
Inside, there are 11 late-gothic altars from the 15th and 16th centuries.
Two historical bells are located outside of the basilica, the smaller one – St. John was cast in 1486 was used until 1990, the bigger one – St. Urban was cast in 1584.
I recommend getting to the top of the church tower (no elevator, just stairs) and enjoy breathtaking, bird’s eye views. (there’s a small extra fee, but, it is definitely worth it).
2, Town Hall – built between 1505 – 1511, in a Renaissance style.
The town hall was once the center of the city administration, nowadays, it is an exposition of the Saris Museum here.
3, Town Hall square – the rectangular square is the Heart of the historical town. It is surrounded from 3 sides by burgher houses, St. Egidius basilica, and Old town hall. Nowadays, in these houses are lovely and authentic little cafes, town hall, Tourist information office, museum of Icon (exhibition of Iconography).
4, Fortification system – it was Louis I who ordered the construction of the fortifications in 1352.
The walls and bastions are still standing and you can admire Powder Bastion (where gun powder and weapons were stored), Royal Bastion, the North Bastion (where archives were stored), and much more.
5, Jewish Suburbia
The historical Jewish quarter – Jewish Suburbia is located out of the city walls, it contains a number of Jewish sights built between the 18th-19th centuries. The Old Synagogue, bet bidras (school), a mikvah (ritual bath). The Bardejov Holocaust Memorial is near the entrance. It is a very well reconstructed complex.
6, Franciscan church and monastery – standing near the town walls, built in the 14th century. Up to 1528, the church belonged to the Order of St. Augustin, later the Franciscan order moved in.
7, Bikur Cholim Synagogue – it is located in Klastorsk street, few steps from the Town Hall square, an example of a well-preserved synagogue. The synagogue was established in 1929 by a Jewish charitable association called Chevra Bikur Cholim.
A SHORT HISTORY OVERVIEW
The oldest written documents go back to 1241. The arrival of German colonists after the Tartar invasion (an invasion between 1240-1241 at present-day Slovakia and neighboring countries) started the development of a prospering and flourishing medieval town.
The location was strategic as it lies on an ancient trade route connecting the Baltic Sea with the Black sea.
Hungarian king Louis I gave privileges to Bardejov – a free royal town and also ordered to build city walls and bastions around the town.
As trade and crafts expanded, the 15th century became “a Golden Age” for Bardejov and is ranked among the most important towns of the Kingdom of Hungary.
On the contrary, in the 17th and 18th centuries, the series of Anti-Habsburg uprisings (uprising against the Habsburg Monarchy), the black plague epidemics paralyzed the city economically and demographically.
Nowadays, Bardejov is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Slovakia. In the year 2000, it was inscribed into the UNESCO World Heritage list.
They remind the rich history with an annual Bardejov fair – Bardejovsky jarmok, an event held every year in August when Bardejov comes to life.
Around 4 days, hundreds of dancers, musicians, theatre, handicrafts, attractions, games, and competitions for children. Bardejov fair is the closing event of the official Bardejov Cultural Summer.
RECOMMENDED TRIPS AROUND BARDEJOV
1, Bardejov SPA
Only 10min by car you can find the Bardejov Spa, located in a picturesque valley surrounded by woods. The SPA has all the conditions to provide appropriate treatments for the respiratory system, circulation conditions, and digestive tract.
Among the numerous guests were also Marie Louise – wife of French emperor Napoleon I, Russian Tzar Alexander I, Empress Elisabeth (Sisi) – wife of Francis Joseph I (Austrian emperor), and other prominent noblemen.
2, Bardejov open-air museum (skanzen)
Near the Bardejov SPA, you can find a Museum of Folk Architecture, the oldest open-air museum in Slovakia, where you can go back in time to the 19th – 20th century.
You can admire almost 30 different objects (wooden houses of peasants, mayor house, barns, wooden churches from Upper Saris region and North-eastern Zemplin region.
3, Hervartov UNESCO wooden church
Only 15min by car from Bardejov, you can find the oldest (and best-preserved) wooden church in Slovakia, the Roman-Catholic church of Saint Francis of Assisi. It was built at the end of the 15th century in a gothic style, located at the end of the village Hervartov. Since 2008 it is on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
4, Greek-Catholic wooden churches
If you would like to see more wooden churches, visit remote villages located from Bardejov to the North-East, East.
Where to have tasty food?
We love Cactus restaurant located 5min by car.
Contact: Web: Cactus Restaurant
Address: Stefanikova 61, 085 01 Bardejov
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Peter, founder & CEO of Best Slovakia Tours
Our visit starts with walking up to the Trencin castle. There are few narrow streets leading to the castle or you can use a covered staircase (16th century).
Trencin castle is the dominant of Trencin city and the whole region. In the old days, it ancient trade routes connecting Hungary, Central Slovak mining towns with Czechia and Poland.
From all the owners of this castle, the most famous was Matus Cak Trenciansky (13-14th century), nicknamed as well as the Lord of the Vah river and Tatra Mountains. He used to own around 50 more castles. We climbed on the very top of the castle, in the so called “Matus’s tower” from where we can enjoy stunning views of the whole region.
Other castle owners, king Louis from Anjou built here Loui’s palace, king Sigismund of Luxemburg built Barbara’s palace, at the end of the 15th century, the castle owner became Stefan Zapolsky who started with many reconstructions.
Further you can see the Barracks (used to house garrison and as a storage place for munition) Cannon bastion (used for protecting the bridges of the Vah river), Well of Love (and the famous legend of love between a Turkish man Omar and his beautiful young lady Fatima. Fatima was a prisoner of the castle during the times of lord Stefan Zapolsky. For Omar to free Fatima, he was tasked with digging a water well into the hard rock of the castle which he and his companions succeeded after many years. When Omar carried the newly freed Fatima away from the castle, her veil got stuck on a rose bush.
The oldest inn in Trencin was called The Veil and was built on the same spot. Nowadays it is there restaurant Fatima.
Beautifully reconstructed square connecting Hotel Elisabeth with the Lower gate/ City tower. Full of great ice-cream places, bars, and restaurants.
THE ROMAN INSCRIPTION
What is this mysterious inscription on the rock beneath Trencin castle? The inscription was discovered in the 19th century, nowadays, it is visible through the window from Hotel Elisabeth. It says that 855 Roman soldiers in the year 172 won a battle over Germanic tribes. This is the easternmost evidence of the Romans in Slovakia.
The tower was a part of the city fortification system built in the 15th century, called also a Lower gate (today City tower). We recommend climbing to the top to get the views of Trencin castle, the parish church of Virgin Mary and Piece’s square – the main square of Trencin.
THE PARISH CHURCH OF THE BIRTH OF THE VIRGIN MARY
It belongs to the oldest sacral objects in the city, it was a part of the former city fortification. Originally gothic, several times rebuilt.
THE PIARIST CHURCH OF ST. FRANCIS XAVIER
In the western part of the Piece’s square, there is a Roman-catholic church of St. Francis Xavier (originally, a Jesuit church, later Piarist) belongs to the most beautiful sacral baroque monument of Slovakia.
The patron saint of the church, St. Francis Xavier is also the patron saint of the Trencin city.
It is the only preserved building of this type in Trencin city which was not many times rebuilt.
It is believed that in this house in the 17th century, a town’s executioner lived here and part of the building was a prison.
Today, it serves as a museum where you can see some torture instruments and swords.
Where to stay an overnight?
Undoubtedly, the best choice is the historical hotel Elisabeth, a beautifully reconstructed historical hotel located under the castle. The hotel is the winner of Best Historic Hotel of Europe in 2015 and of course many other international awards. Hotel Elisabeth
THANKS for reading my travel blog. I do believe it was useful, interesting, and motivational for you.
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WHERE DO WE GO NEXT?
The next adventure is Spiss castle and Levoca town.
WHEN WE ARE LIVE WITH OUR “15 MINUTES THURSDAY TOUR”?
On Thursday, May 21, 2020
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At 5 pm local time (Slovakia is on GMT +2) Live Stream from Trencin
WHO’S JOINING ME THIS TIME?
Martin – our colleague and guide.
Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Peter, founder & CEO of Best Slovakia Tours