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Slovakia - Castles, Manor houses See all

Castle of Kežmarok

Kežmarok castle is the only one well-preserved urban castle in the area of Spiš. The Castle of Kežmarok has entered the history of tourism in the High Tatras as the salient point of the first known tourist trip to this mountain range. The noble Princess Beata Laska of Kežmarok Castle certainly possessed. Otherwise she would never have set out on a trip accompanied by several burghers from Kežmarok to the not too distant Snow Mountains today called the Tatras in 1565.
Castle of Kežmarok
Castle of Kežmarok
Slovakia, Prešov region
City: Kežmarok
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Expositins of Kežmarok Castle

The Archeological Exposition

It displays the documents about the first settlement of Kežmarok surroundings and about the establishment of the town itself. In the first room of the exposition you can find several objects dated from to the oldest period, Stone Age up to the migration of particular tribes. The tools were found in several settlements by which the town of Kežmarok itself was established later. The second room displays the documents about the archeological research done at Kežmarok castle´s courtyard.

The Town Hall Room

The room shows only a bit of the original furniture of Kežmarok town hall. Only a few parts of the town hall furniture have been preserved- the equipment for sealing documents from 1802, the ballot box, the swearing cross from 1713, the town mayor´s armchair. Kežmarok received its town privileges in 1269 from the Hungarian King Bela IV. The town was allowed to elect his own chairman. In 1463 it was given the right of using its coat-of-arms, in 1438 it was given the right of sword.

Castle of Kežmarok


Guilds and Crafts

During the Middle Ages and modern times Kežmarok was one of the leading centres of craft and trade in the territory of Slovakia. In the town of Kežmarok there exist some documents about the work of 42 independent guilds. The oldest guild in Kežmarok was the locksmith´s, first mentioned in 1433 and is probably the oldest one of the kind in all of Slovakia. Kežmarok was famous for its manufacturing by the guild of fishermen, butchers, bakers or blacksmiths.The exposition presents the products and tools of individual guilds. The wooden bike dated to 1888 is on of the most interesting products in the room as well as the machine for making the candles or the blacksmiths´ windbag.

The Family Thököly

Family Thököly was one of the most famous owners of the castle - four generations of the family - Sebastian, Stephen I., Stephen II. and Emerich resided in the Kežmarok castle from 1579 - 1684. The family initiated the rebuilding the originally gothic fortress into the luxurious renaissance residence. The most famous member of the family - Emerich became the leader of the hungarian aristocracy´s uprising against the Habsburg dynasty. Confederates Turks declared Emerich the Hungarian King. Two rooms linked by a gothic portal are dedicated to Family Thököly. One of the room shows the remains of the old paintings and morality texts from 1639.

Castle of Kežmarok


The Castle Chapel

The chapel is the newest part of the Kežmarok Castle. The reconstruction of the chapel was initiated by Štefan Thököly II. in 1657 who devoted the chapel for Maria Gyulaffy, his young sickly wife. She got married at fourteen, died at twenty-two and left six children. The chapel was built in the Newbaroque style; the stucco and fresco roof decorates the chapel hitherto.

Castle of Kežmarok
 

Attractions

The Weapon´s expositions

Arms and parts of the Middle Ages fighter´s armour are placed on the first and second floor of the eastern tower. The tower is older than the castle. It had been the old part of the town fortification to which the castle was annexed in one half of the 15th century. In the first floor of the exposition you can see different kinds of shooting weapons from the 16th to 17th century, the iron hook-weapons, crossbows and barrels for gunpowder. The second floor is devoted to cold arms ( various sorts of sabres, the beating ones by maces an pickaxes, and the piercing ones by swords and daggers...) and different parts of armour from the 15th - 17th century.

Exhibition of historical vehicles

In our new exhibition of historic vehicles and firefighting equipment, you can see unique cars and motorcycles on loan from members of the Veteran Car Club of Poprad and collections of the Museum in Kežmarok. The exhibition can be found as Praga Alpha Phaetonin which Bata traveled around the city of Poprad, when looking for a place for their new factory built in Svit. Unique fire car Skoda 154 (1 929), one of its kind in Europe, Škoda Popular (1937 - 1938) and many others.

Castle of Kežmarok


The sightseeing tower

The sightseeing tower - the dungeon - is the memento of wife of the town-castle owner, Beata Laska´s sorrowful destiny. Her husband Albert Lasky married Beata because of her money in spite of the fact that Beata was 20 years older than he. In summer 1565 Beata carried out the first official trip to High Tatras accompanied by Kežmarok townsmen. After her return home her husband accused her of adultery and imprisoned Beata in the tower where she spent almost 6 years of her life. Albert triffled away all of her money meanwhile. Beata was founded by the next owner of the castle, Jan Rueber finally.

History

The first report about the castle is dated to 1463. Brothers Imrich and Stefan Zapolski who built the castle were its first owners as well. In 1528 family Lasky, later replaced by Jan Rueber in 1571 became the next owner of the castle. Consequently, four generations of family Thököly became the owner in 1579 - 1684. Jan Rueber was the last owner of the castle and finally, in 1702 the town Kežmarok bought the castle into its possession.

The castle Kežmarok belongs to the type of so - called urban castles, it was built in the centre of the town by virtue of protecting the town. As a matter of fact, the castle did not protect the town, it fought against it paradoxically. Kežmarok citizens did not want Kežmarok to recant the title of a free royal town and become the subjugated town, on the other side, the castle owners wanted to derive profit from the town.

Castle of Kežmarok


​Family Thököly was one of the most famous owners of the castle - four generations of the family - Sebastian, Stephen I., Stephen II. and Emerich resided in the Kežmarok castle from 1579 - 1684. The family initiated the rebuilding the originally gothic fortress into the luxurious renaissance residence; the luxurious building of mews was built during their ruling there. However, during their ruling the relation between them and the town got worse insofar that street fights, assaults or murders were on daily life. The town used to use the castle for various low-grade purposes, e.g. corn repository, barracks, shopfloor, hospital. In the 18th century the castle had burnt down for several times and was not reconstructed.

Castle of Kežmarok

Museum

In the second half of the 19th century the castle first attempts in establishing the museum appeared. However, the castle was in calamitous consdition and Kežmarok did not have enough money for the reconstruction. On December 28., 1926 the municipal corporation approved the establishment of Kežmarok museum which was firstly opened on May 1931 in the entrance tower. The collections documented life of the town and its surroundings.

Castle of Kežmarok


The successful development of the town was endangered by World War II. - in 1943 the expositions were closed. The castle was occupied by German squad and following the uprising repression one part of the castle became the prison where partisans and non-combatants were kept; secondly it was used for gathering Jews who were later transported to concentration camps. The interior of the castle was demolished a lot. In 1946 one part of the castle was used for gathering German citizens who were forced to leave the town because of the withdrawal. The museum was opened again on August, 3. 1947. Within the period 1962 - 1985 the general overhaul of the castle was carried out.

Castle of Kežmarok

Surrounding

Exposure of bourgeois cultur

In the burgess house placed on the Main Square 55 you may find the residential exposure of bourgeois culture in the Spis region. The Slovak unique exposure displays the artistic - craft exhibits since the 17th century, however it predominantly consists of burgess housing fixtures from the 19th century.

Castle of Kežmarok


Exhibited are the collection items displaying the documents about the culture of living of reputable burgeois and aristocratic families since the half of the 17th up to the end of the 19th century. Vast majority of the exhibits displayed are the precious items from the estate of the ´last Kežmarok Countess´ Hedwig Mary Szirmay-Badányi (1895-1973).

Castle of Kežmarok

Useful information


Price list

Castle Kežmarok Exhibition of historical vehicles
Adults:  5,00 € Adults:  2,00 €
Students: 1,50 € Students: 1,00 €
Children [6-15]: 1,00 € Children [6-15]: 1,00 €


Source: www.kezmarok.com

Castle of Kežmarok

Kežmarok
LAT: 49.1392910 = 49° 8' 21.4476"
LON: 20.4332510 = 20° 25' 59.7036"

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