by prof. Henrieta Moravčíková
The majority of visitors perceive Slovakia as a country of castles dominating the mountain ridges alongside the former trade routes or on the borders of historical kingdoms which possessed this land in the past. It’s nothing to be surprised at. After all, the organic structures of these fortifications line most of the roads to this day, dominate numerous settlements and rank among the most important monuments. Some of them – e.g. Bratislava Castle, Spiš Castle or Trenčín Castle – have made Slovakia famous internationally. However, valuable architectural works in the territory of Slovakia are much more heterogeneous than just the aforementioned fortifications from the Middle Ages. The variety of styles is the trademark of Slovak architectural heritage. In a relatively small territory, a visitor can find not just the oldest monuments in the form of Roman or ancient Slavic remains of buildings and Gothic or Baroque masterpieces, but also some extraordinary works of twentieth -century modern architecture. The distinctive feature of these works is that they are not concentrated in one place, because they were built in particular parts of the country that were prospering during a particular period. This is why the most magnificent works of the Middle Ages emerged in the northern parts of Slovakia, in the territory of towns of the Spiš region (henceforth referred to as “Spiš towns”), while the most valuable Baroque or Modern architectural works can be found in the western parts of the country. Slovak architectural heritage is also very distinctive as it emerged on the eastern border of Central Europe under the influence of various cultural centres and value systems affecting Slovakia both alternately and simultaneously depending on the specific time period.