Presov is a northeastern city of Slovakia, located on the conflux of the rivers Sekckov and Torysa at the roots of picturesque mountain ranges Slanske Vrhy and Sariska Vrchovina. Presov is the third biggest city in the country. Its population is 91000 people.
First written records of the city date back to the year 1247. Chronicles, belonging to monks tell about plundering inroads of Teutonic Order, who would traitorously rob the town of Epuries, whose population was on guard of Hungarian border.
In 300 years, the settlement grew into a prosperous city and was renamed to Presov. It gained the reputation of a big trade center where rich Hungarian merchants, who succeeded to escape Osman Yoke, had their business.
As well as other Slovak cities that passed their thorny ways of history, Presov had its peculiar image that was formed as a result of three influencing cultures: Slavic, German and Hungarian. Since far XII century these lands were under the reign of native Slavs, but in the XII century German immigrants started to settle on these lands. Due to German colonists, the city quickly developed all its structures. In its lifetime the city has seen a lot, including changing of authorities. After dissolution of Great Moravia, the city came under the reign of Hungarian kingdom.
Due to the privileges given by king Andras III, in the year 1299 this province got the status of a town. Citizens of Presov were given a chance to choose local authorities and as a result the town became independent from Saris. Almost seventy years later, namely in 1367, authorities of the town got a permission to build fortifications. Since the end of the XIV century, fairs were constantly held in the town. People led intensive trade of agricultural products, fabrics, and the most profitable and popular – selling wine.
In late 1520s the town became popular among wealthy Hungarian nobility, merchants, and bourgeoisies, who were leaving regions, occupied with Turkish. Ideas of the Reformation were actively spreading in those years. 1541 is the year, when the first evangelic community appeared, and the fist gathering of evangelic was organized in 1546.
As monks of Franciscan order came in 1671 and Jesuits (two years later) the period of counterreformation began. Leopold I issued a decree to create the military tribunal headed by Antonio Karaffoj. 24 leaders of evangelic movement were sentenced to death. That was a period from the 5th of May to the 12th of December 1687. This cruel lynch at the walls of evangelists college left a bloody imprint in the history and is known as “Presov bloody court”.
The end of the XVII – the beginning of the XVIII century was a hard period of time: wars, epidemics of plague, big fires. All these resulted in the city decay. However, the situation got even worse in the XIX century when the railway was built connecting Kosice – Plavec – Bardejov that passed round Presov. Horrible fire of 1887 destroyed almost half of the town.
Creation of Czechoslovak state in 1918 became the beginning of renaissance for this town. Industry was quickly developing, including wood manufacturing, food, textile and engineering oriented to the eastern market. Due to its unique cultural and architectural sights, nowadays the city is called “Athens above Torysa”. Historical part of the city saved a considerable part of various tourist attractions, but World War II made its heavy imprint causing a necessity of restoration works.
Modern Presov is a wonderful city which is one of the capitals of territorial regions. As other cities, Presov has the main street, but the peculiarity is the fact that it is called so – “Hlavna”. The city is adorned with sights of the past as with pearls. Those are:
- Klobusicky Palace (decorates main square of the city);
- Evangelic collegium (in the XVII century it was the first Higher Educational Institution in the city);
- Saint Nikolas Cathedral (erected in the XIV century);
- Old Jewry;
- Churches and cathedrals: Greek and Catholic Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Franciscan church of St. Joseph and Orthodox church of Aleksandr Nevskiy.
Guests of the city will be excited to see the city Hall, Neptune’s fountain, architectural monument – Bosak’s bank, and gothic prison Karaffa.
Evangelic collegium-museum was erected in 1666-1667. The monument is dedicated to victims of “Presov bloody court” was installed at the corner of the collegium in 1908. The monument has a shape of a nobleman waiting for his execution with his head lifted up.
St. Mikulas church is famous as well and it is located in Hlavna street. It is a unique architectural symbol of the city having 60m long towers. A number of famous citizens are buried in the crypt under this church.
There is one of the biggest castles on the territory of Slovakia towering in the neighborhood of Presov, namely at the distance of 6 km from the city. It is Sarissky Hrad. Its walls are erected on the hill near the town of Velky Saris. This town is well-known for its breweries.
Park Semiata is located at the distance of 7km from Presov. It is so pleasant to walk along well-kept paths and admire local flora. Famous Hungarian poet Shandor Petefi was fond of such walks. A number of his works were written here, under the spreading beech still standing on its place.
The only cave in this region available for visiting is situated not far from the city. Moreover, it has rather convenient operating hours – from 8.30am to 7pm. This cave is called Angry Hole, and it will take you only half an hour to get there. There is no electricity lighting in the cave, but you will be equipped with all necessary things while entering the cave which is a special carbide lantern. Air temperature is stable here and reaches 7 .
Presovis abounding with sights. Its streets have gathered a number of attractions as a silk thread of pearls. Ancient city fortifications, fairly beautiful complex of Kalvaria, built in the XVII century in baroque style and offering unrivalled views to the city. The list of attractions is rather long as Presov has 325 motionless cultural monuments. In the year 1950 Presov was included to the list of the oldest city-reserves of the country. Old part of Presov is rightfully considered to be national cultural heritage of Slovakia.
History and Economy museum of Presov is the central museum. Its collection acquaints all visitors with the establishment, development, and even with future of the city. There is a collection in this historical storehouse that includes about 2000 exhibits which were found during archeological excavations on the territory of this city.
Wine making is one of the oldest local traditions. Wine production is the shaft of the city economy. Here you have a unique chance to visit wine museum located in an ancient cellar. It is more than 500 years old. A huge collection of wines is gathered from the whole world. You can also taste some sorts of wine and buy those you liked in the shop located here.
Presov can boast with its ski resort as well. Mountain range Sarisska Verchovina and Slanske Vrchy are located near the city. This is the place where ski resort Centra Drienica Lysa is located. It consists of two centers – Lysa and Drienica, connected with a chair-ropeway. In summer time it is a wonderful place for hiking, cycling, and fishing, and in winter time – exciting ski rest with all conveniences. Thant’s why the center welcomes its guests all year round.
Presov is not rich on night clubs with noisy sessions, so during your visit to this picturesque city you will have a chance to admire unrivalled views of night Presov. And all you need is just climb hill Kalvaria, take a lap blanket, and invite your friends.
There are lots of cozy restaurants in the city offering various and rich cuisine. Most of them are located in the main street called Hlavna. Fans of Chinese cuisine should visit restaurant Mandarin, pizza devotees - La Cucaracha. The city also has an unusual café, where cocktails are named after famous movies.
Presov is rather popular among tourists, so the city has a lot of hotels and inns of various prices and class of comfort.