Levoca is situated to the south-west of Preshov in the historical part called Spiš, which is famous for its numerous monuments of the medieval time. This town is very popular among tourists visiting Slovakia. There are some reasons for that. The first reason is that Levoca is a birthplace of a famous sculptor Paul or Pavel, who is a national pride of Slovakia. Paul from Levoca created a lot of unique works. Most of them were ordered by church. Paul created altars as well. The main material used by him was wood. The most outstanding example of his creativity is located in Levoca. It is the altar of St. Jacob Cathedral made in 1520. The altar is unique. Its size is great. It is the highest folding altar in Europe. Its hight is more than 18m.
Paul is popular in Levoca. The central square is named after Paul. There is Paul’s museum in Levoca with the exhibition showing his talent. Since 2001 a festival of arts called “The Days of the Master from Levoca” has been held in Levoca. It is usually held at the end of July or at the beginning of August and a lot of actors and actresses, artists and musicians from different countries of the world take part in it.
The other famous sight of Levoca is absolutely different from Paul’s masterpieces. It is called “a Cage of Shame” and is located not far from the town hall. Such cage was used in the medieval time, as a prison, where different people were kept, mostly those, who broke the laws of morality of that time. They could be ribalds or unwed mothers and other offenders.
The medieval atmosphere is felt in Levoca everywhere. The historical centre is very well preserved. Kosice Gate is the entrance to the Old Levoca. Behind the gate there is a monastery, St. Holy’s Church, remnants of old city of Levoca with the fortifications, old buildings belonging to local nobility and the building of the town hall. There is a museum of the Spiš region in the building of the town hall nowadays, because in the medieval time Levoca was the capital of this region.
Levoca was founded by German colonists in the 13th century and German culture can be seen there in the architecture, even in the laying out flowerbeds. Till the 14th century the place had had the name Leutshau written in German. One of the striking illustrations of the German origin is considered to be an evangelical Lutheran Church of Levoca, which was built in the 19th century.
For many years Levoca has been one of the main centers of religious pilgrimage in Slovakia. Every year on the first Saturday of July more than 100000 people from different parts of Europe come to Marianski Hill, where St. Virgin Maria’s basilica is situated. Levoca has become famous as a centre of pilgrimage since 1995, when Pope John Paul II visited this town. In 1995 the number of pilgrims was the greatest that is 650000 people.