Levoča – Fortification system
Address: Information office of the town Levoča (Informačná kancelária mesta– IKLE), Námestie Majstra Pavla 58, 054 01 Levoča E-Mail: email@example.com Phone: +421534513763 GPS: 49.027675, 20.589539 (IKLE), 49.024966, 20.592677 (car park between the Menhard gate and the Bastion (Bašta) https://www.tatryspispieniny.sk/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/levoca_hradby.mp3 FEAR AND COURAGE It was fear, fear that had been creeping into the streets of rich […]
Address: Information office of the town Levoča (Informačná kancelária mesta– IKLE), Námestie Majstra Pavla 58, 054 01 Levoča
GPS: 49.027675, 20.589539 (IKLE), 49.024966, 20.592677 (car park between the Menhard gate and the Bastion (Bašta)
FEAR AND COURAGE
It was fear, fear that had been creeping into the streets of rich Levoča since ancient times. The property of talented merchants and the skills of craftsmen attracted thieves and those who could afford a thieving expedition against the whole city. The fear of the people of Levoča in the 13th century grew into anger and anger intoa determination to build a defensive fortification around the whole town. The defence wasn’t just stone walls. The entire fortification system also provided for a moat, which could be quickly flooded when needed. Two gates were erected in the double walls, to which a smaller Menhard Gate was later added. Of course, there were also 15 medieval bastions and defence turrets. The courage to build a fortification, which has survived to this day as the best preserved in the whole territory of Slovakia, deserves a more detailed inspection.
THE LOWER GATE
This is what our ancestors called the now non-existent third passage behind the town walls. If it had been preserved, it would be seen it from the roundabout on the main road coming from Poprad toward Prešov. Let’s continue along Probstner Street towards Prešov. Why Probstner? The street was named after a family that started a mining business. They were so successful, that thanks to their acquired property, the immigrant family was accepted among the full citizens of Levoča.
Keeping to Probstner Street, high stone walls and the first of the preserved bastions begin to appear after only a few meters. Behind it, the smallest Menhard Gate fills the fortification. The passage to the centre of Levoča is so narrow that the no-entry sign is justified. The parking area between the Menhard Gate and the Bastion is a suitable place for parking and subsequent sightseeing walking tour of the town walls.
This massive structure projected from the walls cannot be overlooked. The loopholes themselves, at several height levels, reveal its original protective purpose. As time went on, and the bloodshed became less and less, the bastion lost its significance and began to decay. It fell under the custody of the guilds. First they were tailors and later merchants from whom the name is derived. Today it serves as a restaurant.
THE KOŠICE GATE AND MINORITES
It is unbelievable that this gate has been preserved in very good condition, and today it is admired by history lovers and serves as the main entrance to the centre of Levoča. Immediately behind the Košice Gate, the Church of the Holy Spirit and the Minorites Monastery (Order of Frairs Minor Conventuals) are worth noticing. The order has been associated with Levoča since 1308. This is evidenced by an entry in Lányi’s chronicle, which mentions a monastery by the town walls. Both buildings stand on the site of the oldest church in Levoča, which burned down in 1747 and was subsequently demolished. The temple is open to visitors during churchceremonies. It is of interest for its late Baroque essence and the altarpainting“Sending of the Holy Spirit”by the important painter Jozef Czauczik.
MEETING WITH MIDDLE AGES
The inconspicuous passage opposite the Church of the Holy Spirit carries you back in time. Asphalt disappears under your feet, to be replaced by a simple natural path reminding you of the Middle Ages. The walls are solid and, from inside the town, not very high, which allows a wonderful view of the surrounding area and the Mariánska Hora (Hill). Another of the defensive bastions also deserves a look.
PRACHÁREŇ WILL BE A NICE SURPRISE
In the northwest corner of the town fortification is the largest bastion called the Pracháreň (the Gunpowder room). It leads to the old road leading to Kežmarok–Levoča’s trade rival. Today, the bastion houses a boutique hotel and a restaurant.
THE POLISH GATE IS NOT A GATE
The end of the preserved fortification belongs to the Polish Gate. In fact, it was never an actual gate in the true sense of the word. It is an arched passage under the tower belonging to the Church of the Virgin Mary, the Queen of Angels and St. Ladislav. The locals know this church belonging to the Order of Minorites as the Gymnasium Churchor the Black Church. In this sacral building too, you should pay attention to the image of St. Joseph – foster – on the main altar by Jozef Czauczik. It is open to the public only during church ceremonies.
3X CZAUCZIK AND THAT’S ENOUGH
The third altarpiece by Jozef Czauczik is located in the Evangelical Church on Master Paul’s Square and represents a scene from the Gospel – Christ walking on the sea and saving the drowning apostle Peter. Yourwalkfrom this church leads back to the car park between the Menhard Gate and the Bastion, but without the stone walls of the town.
AND WHAT’S NEXT?
The historical heart of Levoča offers a lot. A popular stop is Mariánska hora (Hill – 5km). Spiš Castle and Spišská Kapitula (Spiš Chapter) are other indispensable stops on the way to the treasures of Spiš (19 km). If you liked Levoča, you should definitely visit the historic town Kežmarok (28 km).