Tatra Mountains, Slovakia

Slovakia, officially the Slovak Republic is a truly special country, even though small by area, it is quite diverse with so many wonderful things to enjoy from vibrant cities like Bratislava and Košice that have natural treasures and historical monuments to the unique natural scenery of the Tatra Mountains, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, a rich history and spas. You can find unique castles as there are undoubtedly some spectacular ones from Bojnice Castle to Spiš Castle amongst many others. There are also the hot springs of the Herľany Geyser, the Dobšinská Ice Cave, Folk architecture, a European Dead Sea and a famous Celtic town to explore plus so much more.

Košice is the second biggest town and located on the Hornád River. The historical heart of the town includes the spindle-shaped Hlavné Námestie Square considered to be one the most beautiful squares in Slovakia. It is bordered by numerous historical buildings including the Gothic Cathedral of St. Elisabeth, the 14th Century Urbanova Veža Tower, the Urbans Tower and the Chapel of St. Michael a former 14th Century charnel house are located on the southern side of the Cathedral. One of the admired exhibits of Východoslovenské Múzeum (East-Slovakian Museum) is the famous Golden Hoard of Košice. The overall weight of the hoard is 11 kilograms. The unique collection of golden coins comes of 81 mints of Europe. The majority of coins are from the 15th to 17th centuries.

Nitra is not only the oldest town in the country it is now an important economic centre and home to two universities and agricultural education and research. The dominance of the town is the Castle of Nitra with the Cathedral of St Emeram. The Upper Town included the Baroque-Classicist appearance consisting of the Great Seminar, Franciscan Monastery and the County House. Other sites worth visiting include the Piarist Monastery and Church and the Monastery and Church of Saints Peter and Paul.

Žilina sits at the confluence of three rivers, the Vah, the Kysuca and the Rajčianka. Its architectural dominance is the Baroque Church of the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle with two Towers and the Capuchin Monastery from the middle of the 18th Century. The 14th Century Most Holy Trinity Church (Cathedral) used to be a Castle in the 13th Century. The Burianova veža Tower is one of the oldest Renaissance belfries in Slovakia. The Church of St. Stephen the King, is the oldest preserved architectural monument.

Prešov is another town where the sites are centred around its historical Old Town including the 18th Century Greek Catholic Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, the Rákózci Palace, which houses the Vlastivedné Museum and the Neptuns Fountain located in a small park on the square is the building of the Town Hall. Originally it was used as the town tavern, now it is the private Museum of Wines.

The beautiful town of Banská Štiavnica lies amongst the forests of the Štiavnické Vrchy Mountain and is included on the List of the UNESCO World Heritage List. This former mining town is one of the most beautiful in terms of historical significance.

Situated in a peaceful valley the UNESCO World Heritage Listed is the spa town of Bardejov. They say this is the most Gothic of towns in Slovakia with its rectangular Radničné Námestie Square surrounded by rows of antique burgher houses with typical gable facades. Located in the centre of the square is the former 16th Century Town Hall, which now houses the Šariš Museum. The most significant monument of the square is the Roman Catholic Basilica of St. Egidius. The top of the New Gothic Church Tower has some of the most unique views over Bardejov. The Franciscan Monastery with the Church is another town jewel with it preserved medieval fortifications.

Trenčín stretches below the famous Castle of Trenčín, which is built on top of a steep rock it is undoubtedly the most dominant part of the town and the region. Varied exhibitions, medieval games and attractive night sightseeing are held at the castle throughout the year. The fortified area called Mariánsky Hrad or Mariánska Hora spreads between the castle and town centre. The Town Tower offers a nice view over the town including the popular fountain with the statue of goblin on the Štúrovo Námestie Square and the Synagogue.

The historic town of Levoča is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, situated in the east of the Spiš region. It is a true cultural and historic jewel among the Slovak towns and possesses a great number of architectural monuments linked with its glorious past. Built in the shape of a large rectangular square, the 14th Century Roman Catholic St. James Church is one of the most important sacral buildings in Slovakia. The tall slender 19th Century Church Tower is the most distinct feature in the city's silhouette.

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