Spiš Castle – Spissky Hrad

 

 

 

Spiš Castle is one of the largest castles in Europe, and stands high on a hill looking down on the town of Spišské Podhradie. It was built in the 12th century on the site of an earlier hill fort, but was destroyed by fire in 1780. It was reconstructed after the Second World War and a museum was created.

 

Not far from the Castle lies a small hill called Sivá Brada (Graybeard), on which stands the Baroque pilgrim Chapel of the Holy Cross (Kaplnka sv. Kríža) built in 1675.  This area is a nature reserve with natural springs, which were so powerful until recently that they formed a geyser, one of only two in Slovakia. Due to the changes in the travertine rock formation, the hill is still growing!

 

The chapel is part of Spis Jerusalem originally intended to be a full scale recreation of the Calvary of the ancient Jerusalem, as a solution to the difficulties of travelling to the Holy Land itself. The Jesuits initiated the idea of this in the 17th century, and several chapels were built but the project was never fully completed.

 

 

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