Itinerary

Specific samples of sacral architecture in Slovakia are wooden churches. Their folk builders expressed the perfect harmony of the human soul with nature and the effort to disengage from earthly worries. Among the oldest are Gothic wooden churches (Hervartov, Tvrdosin). Evangelical "articled" churches are other type of wooden churches (Svaty Kriz, Lestiny, Kezmarok, Hronsek). The "articled" churches are those built under the article of the law issued by Emperor Leopold I at the end of the 17th century.
There is also a third type of wooden churches built in eastern Slovakia, mostly originate from the 18th century. First they were owned by the Greek Catholic denomination, later some of them were changed into Orthodox churches. The special features of the East Christian rite are reflected in their interior decoration and furniture where the unique Carpathian icons dominate. They are normally fitted into iconostases ornamented in the Baroque and Rococo styles.

Wooden churches of the Slovak part of Carpathian Mountain Area, which were added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2008, possess an extraordinary worldwide value. The churches include: Roman Catholic churches in Hervartov and Tvrdosin, Evangelical articled churches in Kezmarok, Lestiny and Hronsek, and churches of Eastern rite in Bodruzal, Ladomirova and Ruska Bystra.
While discovering wooden churches of Slovakia we will visit many interesting places, which are on the way of this tour- Monument Reserve of Folk Architecture in Vlkolinec, Orava castle, Museum of the Orava village in Zuberec, Kezmarok town, Bradejov town and Kosice city.

  1. Day 1 Arrival in Zvolen, Slovakia.

    - Arrival in Slovakia; Zvolen town
    - Accommodation
    - Free time

  2. Day 2 UNESCO sights: wooden articled churches in Hronsek and Lestiny villages.
    Optional program: Folk architecture in Vlkolinec village (UNESCO) or Orava castle.

    - Breakfast
    - Visit wooden church in Hronsek
    - Visait wooden church in Lestiny
    - Transfer to Zuberec, accommodation

    Wooden articled church in Hronsek along with seven other wooden churches of the Slovak part of Carpathian Mountain Area was included in the UNESCO Word Heritage List in 2008. The wooden church and wooden belfry are from 1726. There are 1100 chairs and organ was fitted in 1764. Four bulky lime trees grow in its yard. In early November 2000, Prince Charles from British Royal Family visited the church.

    The wooden articled Evangelical church in Lestiny has lavishly painted interior decoration dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries. Visitors are attracted especially by the main altar from the beginning of the 18th century, church pews with coats of arms and Renaissance baptistery from the 17th century.

    Options:
    1. Monument Reserve of Folk Architecture in Vlkolinec village (UNESCO)
    2. Orava Castle in Oravsky Podzamok

  3. Day 3 Visit to open-air Museum of the Orava Village in Zuberec, wooden church in Tvrdosin (UNESCO), wooden church in Kezmarok (UNESCO).

    - Breakfast
    - Open air museum of the Orava Village in Zuberec
    - Wooden church in Tvrdosin
    - Wooden church in Kezmarok
    - Accommodation in Kezmarok

    A unique open-air Museum of the Orava Village covers an area of about 20 hectares.Typical folk buildings wre moved here from various regions of Orava. Visitor can see authentic peasant houses, larders, lumber rooms, farmsteads, shepherd's huts, haylofts, sacral buildings (a wooden church, cemetery and belfry) and the craftsman's and linen-maker's houses (a Wallachian mill and sawmill, a potter's furnace and fulling mill).

    The pride of Tvrdosin and its oldest preserved building is the Gothic wooden Roman-Catholic church of All Saints situated in the local cemetery. Its origins date back to the second half of the 15th century and it was rebuilt in Renaissance style in the 17th century. The Baroque altar from the end of the 17th century with the painting of All Saints dominates the interior of the church. The wonderful dome paintings (a sky with stars, angels and a panelled ceiling) complement the Gothic mysticism of the space.

    One of the best preserved Slovak wooden sacral buildings is the articled Evangelical church in Kezmarok. The church was built in 1717 next to an older sacral stone building from 1593, which today serves as a sacristy. This unique wooden building made of yew and red spruce wood was built without using a single metal component and its ground plan is in the form of a Greek cross. Baroque interior of the church and the organ is also made of wood.

  4. Day 4 UNESCO heritage: wooden church in Hervartov village and Bardejov historic town.

    - Breakfast
    - Wooden church in Hervartov
    - Bardejov town sightseeing
    - Accommodation in Bardejov

    The Roman Catholic wooden church of St Francis of Assis in Hervartov was built by the end of the 15th century. It is the oldest and best preserved wooden church in Slovakia. Gothic pictures and wall paintings from 1655 and 1805 are the most valuable parts of its interior.

    Bardejov town, one of the oldest Slovak towns, rightly awarded the European award, gold medal of ICOMOS Foundation of UNESCO in 1986. The buildings in the historic centre are included in the Town Monument Reserve (UNESCO). Bardejov is known as the "most Gothic town 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 most significant monument of the square is the Roman-Catholic Basilica of St. Egidius from the 15th century that is located in its northern section.

  5. Day 5 UNESCO sights: wooden churches in Bodruzal and Ladomirova villages. Transfer to Snina.
    Optional program: The Museum of Ukrainian Culture in Svidnik.

    - Breakfast
    - Wooden church in Ladomirova
    - Wooden church in Bodruzal
    - Transfer to Snina
    - Accommodation in Snina

    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. Valuable iconostasis 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.

    Greek Catholic wooden church of St Nicolas in Bodruzal was built in 1658. The log building consists of three parts. Its shingle roof is dissected and has three little towers. Remains of wall paintings from the 18th century are preserved in its interior. Iconostasis and several icons are from the end of the 18th century. The church was completely reconstructed in 2004.

    Option:
    Museum of Ukrainian Culture in Svidnik - an ethnic institution that documents the fundamental phases of cultural, historical, political and social development of Ruthenians - Ukrainians in Slovakia from earliest times up to the present.

  6. Day 6 Greek Catholic wooden churches in Topola, Rusky Potok, Ulicske Krive and Ruska Bystra. Transfer to Kosice.

    - Breakfast
    - Visit wooden churches in Topola, Rusky Potok, Ulicske Krive, Ruska Bystra
    - Transfer to Kosice
    - Short walking in Kosice city center
    - Accommodation in Kosice

    The Church of St Michael the Archangel in Topola was built at the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries. The church with a log structure on a low stone foundation has three spaces. Its massive roof in the shape of a truncated pyramid is ended just by one tower.The iconostasis from the 18th century architecture has four rows. Especially notable is the icon Deesis on the banister of the choir.

    Greek Catholic wooden church of St Nicolas the Bishop in Ruska Bystra 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.

    Kosice city, as the first in Slovakia, was awarded the prestige title of European Capital of Culture with its Interface project. "We support creativity" is the main message of the project and a new vision for Kosice, a city that has always been known for its rich history and interesting cultural life.
    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. Dominant of the main square and the city itself is monumental Gothic Cathedral of St. Elisabeth - the largest church in Slovakia and the easternmost situated Gothic cathedral of western type in Europe.

  7. Day 7 Farewell.

    - Breakfast
    - End of the tour

Basic information

from €756 per person

Duration: 7 days

Type/style: Guided sightseeing and cultural discovery tour

Level of difficulty: Easy

Languages: English, French, Deutsch

Pick up & Drop off: On your request

Articled Protestant Church in Lestiny UNESCO heritage The Articled Protestant Church in Hronsek UNESCO heritage The Articled  Protestant Church of Holy Trinity in Kezmarok UNESCO heritage Zuberec Orava Village The Church of All Saints in Tvrdosin UNESCO heritage The Church of St. Francis of Assisi in Hervartov UNESCO heritage Bardejov medieval main square The Church of St Nicholas in Bodruzal UNESCO heritage The Church of Archangel Michael in Ladomirova UNESCO heritage Kosice The Church of St Nicholas in Ruska Bystra UNESCO heritage

Included

- Trip transport
- Accommodation in stylish comfortable pensions and hotels with breakfast:
1 night in Zvolen
1 night in Zuberec
1 night in Kezmarok
1 night in Bardejov
1 night in Snina
1 night in Kosice
- Tour guide as your private driver and interpreter for 5 days
- Information materials and maps

Excluded

- Meals (lunch, dinner)
- Entries to proposed sites (amount of entries to churches is mostly voluntary)
- Transports on arrival and departure day