Church of St. James in Levoča
Address: Bazilika minor svätého Jakuba a Evanjelický kostol (Basilica minor of St. James and Evangelical church) Námestie Majstra Pavla 53, 054 01 Levoča Web: www.chramsvjakuba.sk Tel.: +421534512347 GPS: 49.026441, 20.588651 (Square of Master Paul) https://www.tatryspispieniny.sk/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/levoca_bazilika.mp3 GOTHIC SACRAL JEWEL CASE The most admired building in Levoča is the Basilica minor of St. James. The church was […]
Address: Bazilika minor svätého Jakuba a Evanjelický kostol (Basilica minor of St. James and Evangelical church)
Námestie Majstra Pavla 53, 054 01 Levoča
GPS: 49.026441, 20.588651 (Square of Master Paul)
GOTHIC SACRAL JEWEL CASE
The most admired building in Levoča is the Basilica minor of St. James. The church was built on the foundations of an older church, whose fragments date back to 1280. After 1300, the construction of today’s church began. Due to the vastness of the church, it grew in stages for almost a hundred years. The year 1400 is considered an important milestone. At that time, according to the preserved records, the three-nave church was completed. However, it was not in its present form. This was acquired later, thanks to additional extensions and modifications.
A UNIQUENESS OF WORLD SIGNIFICANCE
After entering the temple, what most attracts the eye is the massive late-gothic wing altar reaching the height of 18.62 m. Its size makes it the highest altar of its kind in the world. Exceptional historical value is added to the work by the extraordinary artistic design of more than five centuries.
The main altar is also remarkable in that it is the only undisputed masterpiece of Master Paul, which has been preserved in the written report. Information about the works from the legendary workshop is minimal because, in 1550 Levoča was engulfed in a huge fire. It also destroyed the documents in the city archives. Part of the masterpiece is a depiction of the Last Supper. In addition to the Biblical message, this part also most likely hides Master Paul’s self-portrait. Specifically, one of the apostles has a carving cap commonly used in the Middle Ages on his head. The whole main altar is the artist’s best masterpiece.
One legend mentions Senator Wildner, as he and his family went on a trip out of town despite an approaching storm. It brought lightning bolts that swept through the sky and rattled the surrounding area. One of them hit the Senator’s daughter, who was left lying as though dead. The Senator had no other offspring, and therefore decided to put the valuables which she would have inherited after his death in the coffin next to his daughter. The only one who was secretly happy about the disaster was the local gravedigger. On the very first night, he dug up the grave again, for he could not wait for the shining loot. To his great surprise, he found a living girl in the coffin, who immediately ran home. The whole of Levoča spoke of it, and they all regarded the event as a miracle. The Senator, with great gratitude and for an eternal memorial of this event, made a forged cross, which, to this day, is at the Basilica of St. James.
The classicist Evangelical church from the 19th century closes off the southern part of the Square of Master Paul. Its majestic dome, mounted on a Greek cross-shaped base, invites one to visit the interior.
Of particular interest is a large painting by the famous Levoča painter Jozef Czauczik. It depicts Christ walking on the sea. There is also a valuable historical library in this temple of God.
For those who want more history, we recommend visiting the equally attractive town of Kežmarok (28 km). Spiš Castle and Spišská Kapitula are other essential stops on the road of Spiš treasures (19 km). The thermal baths in Vrbov, which are open all year, will not leave anyone cold, even in winter months (22 km).