Historic Town in Northern Slovakia

Kezmarok (Käsmark)

Kezmarok is located in the north part of Slovakia near High Tatras mountains. The town has 18,000 inhabitants and recently it celebrated 725th anniversary of granting town's privileges. Its history is rich and interesting and represents the symbiosis of Slovaks and Germans that lived together side by side since the foundation of the town.

Kezmarok was established in combining several settlements of original Slavic inhabitants and settlements of German colonists. It received urban rights in 1269. The sovereign royal town was given some further privileges, among which the most important ones were the right of two annual markets in 1419, probable right of store 1435, the right of sword 1438, the right of using its coat-of arms 1463, etc.

The suitable geographical situation of this town, lying near traderoads linking the north of Europe with Orient, hastened its economic development. During 15th - 19th century many guilds worked in Kezmarok. Because of the number of guilds, the town was placed among the first four towns in the Slovak territory. The development of crafts and trade demanded better education of people. First reports about an urban school came from 1383-1392. At that time only less than ten schools were in the whole of Slovakia. First mentions about the sacral music are from the 13th century and about theater from the year 1523-1524. 

The development of the town was interrupted by several wars. About 13 wars were fought within Kezmarok area. Two of them are of particular interest. The first one took more than 100 years and in this war, Kezmarok fought against the nearby town Levoca, for the right of store. The second one carried on from 1463-1702. The Kezmarok dwellers fought for their liberty against the owners of the Kezmarok castle, the Zapolsky family, the Lasky and Reuber family and four generations of the Thokoly family.

The architecture of the town is marked by more than 700 years of its existence and it contains every architectural style, starting from Romanesque. In the town you can see two national cultural monuments, the Lutheran church and the lyceum. The town of Kezmarok itself belongs to sixteen Slovak urban historical memorial reservations.

In the town you can see also the wooden articular church from 1717. This church was built behind the official walls of the town only from wood. The wooden church was restored several times in the past, in 1765, 1798, 1893, 1923, 1932, 1949-50. Since 1970 the sondage works were brought over to be finished in 1981-1983 in the first period of the general restoring. In 1967 the church was given to the Kezmarok museum, which used it as the exposition area. The result is that the general restoring was still unrealized. In spite of it the church was proclaimed a national cultural monument. On the 12th June 1991 the church was given back to the Lutheran church, and in their charge the general restoration of the interior started.

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