Itinerary

Main role of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage is to create a list of the world's natural and historical monuments to guarantee their preservation and protection.

Three localities from Slovakia were inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage List of cultural monuments already in 1993: Castle of Spis and its environs, Banska Stiavnica and Vlkolinec. In 2000, the historic town Bardejov was added and in 2008, wooden churches of the Slovak part of Carpathian Mountain Area.

Slovakia's unique natural phenomena are represented in the UNESCO List by caves and abysses of Slovak karst and by Dobsinska ice cave. In 2007 the Carpathian primeval beech forests of the Bukovske vrchy and Vihorlatske vrchy Mts. in the east of Slovakia were added to this list.

Fujara is the most typical Slovak musical instrument. It was inscribed into the UNESCO List of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Fujara is an overtone fipple flute that can be up to 1.8m long. It is usually made from elder tree and has a characteristic meditation tone. It is known nowhere else in the world but Slovakia. This country is considered to be the place of origin of this instrument, especially the region of Polana and North Gemer. It used to be the typical instrument of shepherds. Fujaras were decorated by ornaments or figural decorations.

  1. Day 1 Arrival in Bratislava, Slovakia.

    - arrival in Slovakia; Bratislava city
    - accommodation, free time

    Overnight in Bratislava

  2. Day 2 Bratislava old town visit, transfer to Banska Stiavnica town - sightseeing.

    Morning meeting with your guide, short sightseeing in Bratislava old town followed with departure to Banska Stiavnica UNESCO town.

    Banska Stiavnica along with the historic technical structures existing in its environs is the biggest Slovak locality inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
    The urban and industrial compound of Banska Stiavnica and its environs is an oustanding example of a medieval mining centre of great economic significance, which has lasted until modern times and gained a special characteristic form. In population that town was ranked the third largest in the Kingdom of Hungary.
    The central Slovakian mining region is among those regions of Slovakia that attracted attention of the whole of medieval Europe. Rich ore deposits were the reasons why several towns were founded in this region. Banska Stiavnica became famous for gold and silver mining. Surviving authentic architecture and the irreplaceable historical, scientific and technological significance of the region were principal reasons why Banska Stiavnica and the historic technical structures in its environs were included in the List of the World Heritage.

    The inscribed territory was delimited in the way that included important centres: the Monument Reserves of Banska Stiavnica and Stiavnicke Bane; the Monument Zone of Banska Hodrusa and localities with important national cultural monuments such as Vyhne, Banska Bela, Ilija and Svaty Anton; including all the most significant technical monuments associated with mining, albeit some of them abandoned. The structures covered are pits, shafts, surface and underground mines, pit heaps, mining towers and other mining facilities and buildings connected with the administration of mines and their machine equipment. They also include factories and even a miner's hospital. The inscription contains 33 water reservoirs called "tajchy" by the natives, which constitue an essential part of the original water managing system.

    Overnight in Banska Stiavnica

  3. Day 3 Visit to the wooden articled church in Hronsek village, Monument Reserve of Folk Architecture in Vlkolinec village. Transfer to Kezmarok.

    After breakfast we will drive to Kezmarok town. On the way we will stop and visit wooden articled church in Hronsek village and the Open air museum of folk architecture in village Vlkolinec.

    The wooden articled church in village Hronsek was along with seven wooden churches of the Slovak part of Carpathian Mountain Area included in the UNESCO Word Heritage List. The history of the church itself dates back to the period of strong Catholic influence prevailing and its pressure against the Protestant religion.
    The construction of the wooden church commenced on 23rd October 1725 and was consecrated on the 31st October 1726 on Martin Luther´s reformation anniversary. The nave has the form of a cross and is 8 m high, 26 m in length and 11 m wide. There are 30 windows. Vaults are barrel shaped, ionic columns are made from oak with decorative carving. Spruce and larch are used for other parts of the interior. The lower edge of the gallery has carved ornamentation, with the typical Slavic symbol - limeleaves.
    The church has 1,100 seats arranged amphitheatricaly. In 1754, Master Martin Podkonicky from Banska Bystrica constructed the splendid organ (positive - without pedals). The separate belfry was built at the same time as the church, it has three bells. In front of the church stand four old time lime-trees, two of them are the same age as the church itself.

    Monument Reserve of Folk Architecture Vlkolinec is the only complete and simultaneously independent settlement in Slovakia that has been inscribed into the UNESCO World Heritage.
    It is a remarkably intact settlement with traditional features of Central European log architecture often found in mountainous areas. The ground plan of the settlement remained practically unchanged with completely preserved architecture. It is the region's best preserved and most complete settlement of its kind. It consists of 45 unchanged houses with many traditional and original features of construction.
    The entry was supported by the comparative analysis of the ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) where under the title Traditional villages in the Carpathian Arch and Their Immediate Environs Vlkolinec was identified as the best preserved settlement of its kind in the region.

    Overnight in Kezmarok

  4. Day 4 Sightseeing: Levoca town, Spis castle, Spisska Kapitula town, Zehra church.

    We will visit wooden articled church in Kezmarok town and afteroon we will do sightseeing tour of Levoca and visit the Spis Castle, Spisska Kapitula and village Zehra.

    One of the best preserved Slovak wooden sacral buildings is the articled Evangelical Church of the Holy Trinity (Kostol sv. Tojice) in Kezmarok. It was built in 1717 next to an older sacral stone building from 1593, which today is a sacristy. Of immense artistic value is also the church organ with wooden pipes.

    The historic town of Levoca situated in the east of the Spis region is a true cultural and historic jewel among the Slovak towns as it possesses a great number of architectural monuments linked with the glorious past of the town. The dominant part of the old Levoca is the large rectangular square, with the Roman-Catholic St. James church from the 14th century, which is one of the most important sacral buildings in Slovakia. The tall slender church tower from the first half of the 19th century is the most distinct feature in the city's silhouette. The Late Gothic wooden main altar of St. James with the height of 18.6 m is the highest of its kind in the world. It was made of lime wood in 1507-1517 in the workshop of  Master Pavol of Levoca.

    The Spis Castle and the monuments in village Spisske Podhradie, Spisska Kapitula and Zehra represent a remarkable set of structures of military, political and ecclesiastical nature that were normal for medieval Europe but few of them have been preserved in such a complete and good state.
    In June 2009, the Committee for World Heritage decided that this locality would be expanded to the town of Levoca with the artistic work of Master Pavol. This expansion includes the fortified town founded in the 13th century.

    Spisska Kapitula is sometimes also referred to as the Slovak Vatican. Church life not only  in Spisska Kapitula (The Chapter of Spis) was organised from here by the bishops, provosts, and canonists. The most important building of Spisska Kapitula is the Late-Romanesque St Martin's Cathedral. It acquired its massive form of a three-nave building with two towers in the years 1245-1275.
    The Spis community of Zehra is known for its precious local Roman-Catholic Holy Spirit church that is, along with other monuments around the Spis Castle, included in the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage List.  Unique medieval wall paintings that were created gradually, from the second half of the 13th century till the end of the 15th century, were preserved in the church interior.

    Overnight in Kezmarok

  5. Day 5 Visit to the wooden church in Hervartov village, Bardejov historic town sightseeing.

    Morning car transfer to UNESCO World Heritage town of Bardejov, on the way stop in Hervartov village. The Roman Catholic wooden church of St Francis of Assisi in Hervartov was built by the end of the 15th century (probably between 1499 and 1500). It is the oldest and best preserved wooden church in Slovakia. The Gothic pictures and wall paintings from 1655 and 1805 are the most valuable parts of its interior. In 2008, along with seven wooden churches of the Slovak part of Carpathian Mountain Area, it was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

     Bardejov, one of the oldest Slovak towns, rightly awarded the European award, gold medal of ICOMOS Foundation of UNESCO in 1986 was inscribed into the List of the World Cultural Heritage of the same organisation in 2000. The buildings in the historic centre are included in the Town Monument Reserve. Bardejov is spoken of as the “most Gothic of towns in Slovakia”. Its centre consists of a set of historical buildings arranged in the area limited by an almost continuous belt of town fortifications. The principal area of the historical core is the rectangular Radnicne square skirted by rows of antique burgher houses with typical gable facades.
    The most significant monument of the square is the Roman-Catholic Basilica of St. Egidius that is located in its northern section. Its construction started at the beginning of the 15th century. It was conceived as a majestic Gothic basilica with three isles. There is an interesting set of 11 Late Gothic altars from the 15th and the 16th centuries and some of those wood carvings are considered to be supreme works of European art.

    Overnight in Bardejov

  6. Day 6 Greek Catholic wooden churches in Bodruzal and Ladomirova villages. Transfer to Snina.

    On this day we will visit 2 Greek Catholic wooden churches found in Ladomirova and Bodruzal villages.

    The Greek Catholic wooden church of St Michael the Archangel in Ladomirova was built in 1742 without a single metal nail. Independent belfry with column construction stands by the church. The area, part of which is a cemetery, has a log fence. Valuable iconostas and altar are from the mid-18th century. It is a five-row wooden architecture filled with icons, part of which was destroyed in the World War II.

    The Greek Catholic wooden church of St Nicolas from 1658 in Bodruzal. The log building consists of three parts. Its shingle roof is dissected and has three little towers. The area of the church has a log fence with shingle tops. Remains of wall paintings from the 18th century survive in its interior. Iconostas and several icons are from the end of the 18th century. The church was completely reconstructed in summer 2004.
    Both churches belong to seven wooden churches of the Slovak part of Carpathian Mountain Area, which were included on the UNESCO Word Heritage List.

    Overnight in Snina

  7. Day 7 Visit to the wooden church in Ruska Bystra, Viticultural region of Tokaj, Kosice historic town sightseeing.

    We will drive to town of Kosice. On the way we will have stop in Ruska Bystra village and in Viticultural region of Tokaj

    Ruska Bystra The wooden church was built at the beginning of the 18th century, in the years 1720 to 1730. The log building consists of three parts. It is covered by shingle roof. The interior in the Baroque and Rococo style is from the beginning of the 18th century.

    The smallest Slovak viticultural region Tokaj, its core in fact is in Hungary and its one of few regions in the world where the grown grapes are suitable for the production of natural sweet wines. At present, in the Slovak part of the Tokaj region, the varieties like- Furmint, Lipovina, Muskat zlty, dry wines - Omsové, Tokajske samorodne suche a and sweet wines - Tokajske samorodne sladke, Tokajsky vyber are grown.

    Kosice is not only the centre of eastern Slovakia but also the core of the Eastern Carpathians where several ethnicities live. Almost all monuments of Kosice are concentrated in the historical core of the town, size of which makes it the biggest Town Monument Reserve of Slovakia. The spindle-shaped Main square of Kosice is the heart of the town and rightly considered one of the most beautiful squares in Slovakia. It is closed to traffic and skirted by numerous wonderful historical buildings. The most valuable monuments are situated in its centre. The dominant of the square and the town is the monumental Gothic Cathedral of St. Elisabeth. This building, rather isolated from the rest of the square, is the largest church of Slovakia and the easternmost situated Gothic cathedral of western type in Europe.

    Overnight in Kosice

  8. Day 8 Slovak Karst National Park - Dobsinska Ice cave and Orchtinska Aragonite cave visit.

    We will visit two most unique caves which are part of National Park of Slovak Karst and Slovak Paradise.

    Dobsinska Ice Cave was included into the List of the Cultural and Natural Heritage of UNESCO. This 1,232 m long and 112 m deep cave is one of the largest ice caves in Europe. Except for the Alps, this is the only place in Europe with 110 thousand cubic metres of ice in places thicker than 25 m. The thickest layer of ice amounting to 26.5 m is in Velka sien (The Grand Hall) of the cave. The cave is also the lowest situated one in the world in terms of sea level altitude, which enhances its originality. Ice survives in the cave thanks to the form of the cave, which is similar to a sack. As the cave is situated lower than its entrance, the cold air maintains in its bottom and its temperature never increases above zero.

    Ochtinska aragonite cave in Central Slovakia is a world rarity and unique natural phenomenon. It is interesting for variety and abundance of aragonite filling and a rare development of underground space. Due to its significance and unique ornamentation, it was included into the UNESCO List of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. It is obvious that it is not a large cave, but it is all the more rare and valuable for its aragonite ornamentation (the form Srdce Hradku is famous), the only of the kind in central Europe. There are not many similar caves in the world either.

    Overnight in Kosice

  9. Day 9 Farewell.

    Farewell and departure from Kosice

Basic information

from €1078 per person

Duration: 9 days

Type/style: Guided sightseeing and cultural discovery tour

Level of difficulty: Easy

Languages: English, French, Deutsch

Pick up & Drop off: On your request

Banska Stiavnica Trinity Square Vlkolinec Monument Reserve of Folk Architecture The Articled Protestant Church in Hronsek UNESCO heritage St James church in Levoca Spiska kapitula medieval monastery Spisky Castle Bardejov medieval main square The Church of St. Francis of Assisi in Hervartov UNESCO heritage The Church of St Nicholas in Bodruzal UNESCO heritage The Church of St Nicholas in Ruska Bystra UNESCO heritage Kosice Dobsinska Ice Cave Ochtina Aragonite Cave

Included

- Trip transport (fuel, parking, etc..)
- Accommodation in stylish hotels/pensions with breakfast:
1 night in Bratislava
1 night in Banska Stiavnica
2 nights in Kezmarok
1 night in Bardejov
1 night in Snina
2 nights in Kosice
- Tour guide as your driver and an interpreter
- Wine tasting in Tokaj region
- Information materials and maps

Excluded

- meal (lunch, dinner)
- entries to proposed sites (estimated cost 40,-EUR/person)
- transfers on arrival and departure days (possible to arrange)