On my way to the east, I had already passed Levoča, right next to the eastern city wall, but I planned to visit on the way back. So it was that, as the sun was gaining ground against the clouds that had brought heavy rains the day before, I walked up one of the main streets from the southern side, aiming directly at the central square. But before reaching it, I suddenly felt an urge to postpone the view of the square, and walked around it in a wide circle. I found these side streets, with their small, colourful houses, somehow quite attractive. I walked a little outside the city wall: Levoča has one of the best preserved defense systems of all medieval towns of Slovakia. I entered the town again through a gate on the north eastern side, and I liked it even before I reached what the town is famous for: the main square.
Once on the square, which turned out to be quite big, I noticed large trees, the St. James church, and the Town Hall in the middle of it, while surrounded by house upon house of Renaissance style. I slowly walked the row of houses on the eastern side of the square, one even finer than the other. Among all the charming, unique houses, the one of Thurzov is probably the most famous, and indeed, it is an elegant house, richly decorated on its outside walls, and crowned by a remarkably decorated roofline. But there are many other attractive houses on this square; some of them turned into offices, but many with inhabitants. Colours of the houses range from yellow to green, blue to purple, white to terracotta. The square cannot be seen at once like the Old Town Square of Bardejov, which makes it seem grander.
After enjoying the houses on the square, I turned my attention to the inside: the Cage of Shame, an iron cage-like structure where girls and boys were punished publicly in the Middle Ages for naughty behaviour, and the Town Hall with its arched gallery, and murals depicting the services it rendered. While I was not sure whether to wait for St. James church to open, I decided to do so just for the famous wooden altar - and was very happy with that decision. The warning sign in the ticket office, promising a € 50 fine for anyone taking pictures, made me be obedient for once - if only not to end up in the Cage of Shame after all. Unfortunately, the guided tour of the church was only in Slovak, but the sight of the winged wooden altarpieces was no impressive for it. And to be honest, even from behind the line preventing a closer view, the altar of St. James church, masterpiece of Master Pavol, son of Levoča himself, was truly impressive. Picture an 18m by 6m winged wooden piece with religious scenes painted on it, and you cannot help but admire the craftmanship of the maker. I took a mental picture of this grand work of religious art before leaving the church, and Levoča.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Levoča Old Town (Slovakia). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Levoča Old Town. Read more about this site.