These articles were published in the Spectacular Slovakia travel guide, published annually by The Slovak Spectator since 1996. The latest editions can be obtained from our online shop.

Spišská Nová Ves sites

Spišská Nová Ves's lentil-shaped square is full of charming sites. At the western end is a memorial to Ján Nálepka, a Slovak soldier who is honoured here for his role in helping the Red Army defeat the Germans in World War II. Behind the stone monument is a concrete fountain surrounded by benches and shaded by several trees. This area is a favourite mid-city hideout for packs of teenagers with guitars.

Then there is the 18th century grey and white Evangelical Church, which stands next to the gold and white Radnica (Town Hall). The town erected the Radnica in the Classicist style in the 1770s after Empress Maria Theresa declared Spišská Nová Ves the centre of the Spiš province and the administrative seat of the region. It has since served as the main meeting point for locals during rallies and other public gatherings.

At the eastern end of the square is the lovely Theatre House. Built at the turn of the 20th century, the building is distinguished by its west-facing semicircular vestibule. Inside is a fancy concert hall, a large dining-room, and the theatre, which is decorated with paintings by a Spiš painter named Jozef Hanula.

The centrepiece of the square is the cathedral. At the time of this magazine’s publication, it was being repainted bright white (from its original sombre yellow), and was therefore obscured by scaffoldings. Eva, a worker who allowed me to scale the tower before its reopening, explained that the cathedral is undergoing a number of improvements. She was in the middle of sandblasting the ornamental stone decorations surrounding the tower windows, a process, set to last six months, which will restore the original cream colour to the artwork. The tower, she said, would again be open to the public in September. To inquire about climbing the dizzying spire, ask the clerks at the tourist information office across the street, on the north side of the square.

The final site on the Main Square is the Provincial House. This was the original Town Hall, built in the 15th century. The front facade is covered with precious stucco decorations that were also undergoing renovations at the time of publication and were therefore under covers. The Spiš Regional Museum is found inside, with exhibits on the geological forces shaping the Spiš region.

- Chris Togneri

These articles and related information were published in Spectacular Slovakia 2002.

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