The Old Marketplace – the oldest street in Kežmarok
Address: The Old Market (Starý trh), (Street from the castle to the Street of Dr. Alexander), 060 01 Kežmarok E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: +421524492135 GPS: 49.139675, 20.432207 (car park next to the castle), 49.139265, 20.430217 (parking on the street The Old Market – middle) 49.138263, 20.427693 (parking on the street The Old Market – Sintra shop) […]
Address: The Old Market (Starý trh), (Street from the castle to the Street of Dr. Alexander), 060 01 Kežmarok
GPS: 49.139675, 20.432207 (car park next to the castle), 49.139265, 20.430217 (parking on the street The Old Market – middle)
49.138263, 20.427693 (parking on the street The Old Market – Sintra shop)
FROM WOOD TO STONE
It started during the time when the town was built from small wooden homesteads. Although there was plenty of lumber in the vicinity of Kežmarok in the 13th century, it was often destroyed by insatiable fires. Therefore, residents decided to use a more durable material to build their houses: stone. And these weren’t just any ordinary houses! They had a tower-like shape and served as small fortresses. As the town developed over time, it became necessary to protect the town with fortification too. Part of the defensive walls have been preserved to this day and can be admired from the park (with a tank) by the castle.
THE OLD MARKET AND THE HUSSITES
The Old Market, as the oldest and, in the past, the town’s most important street, attracted a lot of people. The old stone walls also remember the arrival of the Hussites in 1433. At that time, one of the houses served as a town hall. Although we have not yet found clear evidence of it, indications say that it may have been today’s house Nr. 33 or 47. That town hall burned down and the fire probably spread to other houses. The new town hall was built in today’s centre of Kežmarok, which resulted in a gradual decline of the importance of the Old Market.
FIRE AND FRAUD
As the name suggests, spectacular markets took place between the houses of the most important Kežmarok families. This was made possible by the market right. Prosperity was helped along by the right of storage, which the town acquired by a small scam. The people of Kežmarok claimed that during the town hall fire at the time of the Hussites invasion, the right of the warehouse, which the town did not really own, also burned down. The deceived monarch reaffirmed the right of storage. The 250-year trade war with Levoča thus began.
IGNITED WITHOUT FIRE
Over time, the quarrels between the towns went out of style and were replaced by other pranks. A commemorative plaque from 2007 hangs in the Old Market in the house Nr. 39. It recalls the period of increasing “Hungarianization,” when education in the mother language was increasingly restricted. Slovak students founded a secret society in the mentioned house called Mor ho! These young and very bright heads wanted to spread knowledge and new ideas in the Slovak language. The official power temporarily triumphed over the noble idea, and in 1912 excluded these students not only from the Kežmarok grammar school, but also from all Hungarian schools.
A DISASTER OF PRESENT DAYS
The end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century caused enormous damage to the Old Market. The whole street underwent an insensitive reconstruction, even the liquidation of houses. The messenger with the legacy of our ancestors lost its characteristic face. Nevertheless, the houses at the beginning and end of the Old Market have preserved the gabled roofs. As people change over time, so do the streets, and the Old Market has not escaped this change. However, it still has a lot to offer and the foundations of the oldest street in the town are still guarding more than one secret.
WHERE TO GO FROM THE OLD MARKET?
The closest to the Old Market is the Museum in the castle. The Basilica of St. Cross and the Wooden Articular Church are also some of the jewels of Kežmarok. Both sacred buildings are under UNESCO protection. For a better knowledge of the free royal town of Kežmarok, our advice is: let the historical path guide you.