switch-dark switch-light

Date updated: 02/02/2023



    The correct sound of the town is Prešov. The Hungarian and German toponyms are Eperjes, Preschau.

    It is the third largest city in the country. Its charisma, atmosphere, monuments and attractions draw thousands of tourists every year.

    The region around it also bears the glorious name of the place. Salt has always been mined here, and the Shroud of Turin is the pride of the local believers. Prešov is the gateway to a region of incomparable beauty called Šariš.

    What is Prešov famous for?

    It is the administrative centre of the region in north-eastern Slovakia. Its exact location is the confluence of two rivers - the Toris and the Sekčov (Košice Basin). Nearby are the Slánské Vrchy and Šarišská Vrchovina mountain ranges. Prešov is home to around ninety thousand inhabitants. Thousands of students attend the local university. It is one of the largest in the country.

    The town has been called the pearl of eastern Slovakia, and sometimes the Athens of Toris. Its glorious past is the natural outcome of its rapid development in modern times. In the Middle Ages, Prešov had the privileges of a royal town. Its citizens' contribution to the culture and education of the country is inestimable.

    Note. Prešov is the seat of metropolitan archbishop, the head of all Greek Catholics in the country. It is also the seat of the Orthodox archdiocese of Bohemia/Slovakia.

    History of the city


    Civilisation in this mountainous area began in the ninth century AD. The Slavs established their first settlement on the territory of the modern town in ancient times. It became a part of Great Moravia. Following the removal of Ugrian inhabitants, the whole region became part of the young kingdom of Hungary. But the rapid development of the settlement, with its favourable location, started with German colonization. Some experts believe the town was founded by Germanic tribesmen.

    The first documented mention of Presov (under the name Epuris) is dated 1247.

    At the very end of the twelfth century, the settlement was granted the status of town and trade centre of the entire Šariš region. In 1374, Prešov received special royal privileges. In the middle of the fourteenth century Polish regiments almost completely burnt down the town. At the beginning of the sixteenth century the Transylvanian ruler Bočkai subjected the inhabitants to his rule, but not for long. The Habsburgs retook Prešov and re-established imperial rule.

    An interesting period of the town's history began with Protestant expansion. They have been known here since as far back as 1530. Prešov survived several rebellions. The Tekeli and Rakoczi wars of liberation nearly destroyed its quarters to the ground. Later the city was chosen by the Vatican to intensify the fight against the Lutherans. And beginning in 1683, the bloody Prešov trial against heretics was held here. At that time, the main town square was transformed into a place of demonstration executions. Its ominous and symbolic decoration has long been the scaffold. Dozens of executions were carried out there.

    During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries Presov was the school centre of the region. A whole pleiad of outstanding German scientists and educators came out of there.

    A new impetus for development came from the building of the railway. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century lucrative enterprises and trading houses were opened in the town. After World War I Presov became one of the industrial centres of the new republic, but the rapid industrial growth should be dated by 1948. Many factories and plants were built. Entire housing estates were also built. The population of Prešov grew at an unprecedented rate. It grew from twenty-five thousand in the 1950s to almost sixty thousand in the 1970s. And before the collapse of Czechoslovakia, the city had over eighty thousand inhabitants.

    Nowadays Prešov is a city with a favourable growth prospect in all economic and social respects. There is a lot of housing, a flourishing trade and culture. The city pays a lot of attention to education and sports.

    Interesting sights


    Prešov attracts tourists from all over Slovakia and Europe. There are about three hundred historical monuments in the city. The central part is a protected area for historical and cultural monuments for decades. In Prešov you can take an endless tour of the sacral treasures of the Šariš region, enjoy the atmosphere of the ancient streets and squares, and photograph yourself next to dozens of monuments.

    The city's fortifications


    Today you will only see fragmented parts of the overall defensive structure. It was radically destroyed in the nineteenth century. The eastern moat, the two-storey tower and the so-called Florian Gate remain.

    Karaffa Prison

    The Karaffa Prison - was built in the 15th century, next to the Main Street of the town of Prešov. The building bears the name of General Karaffa, who led the Prešov assassination. At present the PKO Prešov gallery is located there.

    Župný dům


    This building has been renovated many times and now serves as an unconventional symbol of the city. It can easily be lost in the midst of other equally beautiful residential buildings.

    Note. Usually administration buildings in European cities stand out well, standing apart and often dominating (towering) over central districts and squares.

    After the fire in 1788 Župný dům was badly damaged and in need of thorough reconstruction, during its reconstruction a balcony was added to the façade, which will be remembered in the history as the place from where the Slovakian Soviet Republic - literally The Slovak Republic of Soviets - was proclaimed on 16 June 1919.

    The basement of Župný dům is now home to the Wine Museum.

    St Nicholas' Cathedral


    The monumental church is seventy metres high and was built on the site of a thirteenth century cult building.

    There were originally 12 Gothic altars in the church. A large part of it was destroyed by fires. The church has burned six times, the last time in 1887.


    The parish church of St Nicholas was elevated to the status of a cathedral in 2008.

    Holy Trinity Cathedral

    The construction of the church started on July 25, 1642. The seventeenth-century religious edifice is striking for its richly decorated interior of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. During this time there were several fires that destroyed it to the ground. The 17th century pews inside the church itself have been preserved. The organ from 1642 is one of the most beautiful Baroque monuments in Presov. The painting of Christ and the Samaritan Woman also attracts attention. It is a copy of a painting that was burnt to ashes in 1913.

    Evangelical collegium

    The building was built in the sixteenth century with the help of Hungarian, Polish and Dutch evangelists, as well as a number of European princes. In 1673 the school was taken over by the Jesuits. A century later it was returned to its rightful owners.

    Franciscan Cathedral and Monastery

    The building belonged to the Carmelites in ancient times. It was radically rebuilt at the end of the thirteenth century. The complex of church and monastery later became town property, but was given to the Franciscans. They rebuilt it to suit their needs. The southern and northern parts of the complex were enclosed by a wall. The site was also restored in the eighteenth and twentieth centuries.



    The architectural complex is a Baroque monument from the mid-eighteenth century. It dominates the western part of Prešov. It includes the basilica of St. Kříže, the chapels of the Way of the Cross, the Chapel of the Holy Stairs, the catacombs and the ancient cemetery.

    The Orthodox synagogue

    Today the synagogue is the only functional synagogue in the city. It was built in 1898, based on the design of the synagogue in Tokai, in the Romanesque-Moorish style. The richly decorated interiors with well preserved inventory are considered to be among the most beautiful in Slovakia.

    The synagogue served its purpose until 1942. In spring and summer of the same year it and its surroundings became a place of gathering of the Prešov Jews just before the deportation. During the occupation, the synagogue housed stables and garages. After reconstruction, the synagogue resumed its work in 1948.

    The Prešov Jewish Museum was founded in 1928 and it was the first of its kind in Slovakia. The Prešov Synagogue installed a thematic exhibition there. The museum has about 300 objects from all over the world. Its old collections were brought back in April 1993. The building is still used as a house of prayer.

    Church of St John the Baptist


    Another iconic Baroque building. Here medieval decorations are juxtaposed with modern surroundings. The church is still used for religious ceremonies today and attracts thousands of tourists with its sacred relics, as well as a copy of the Shroud of Turin. The Archdiocese of Prešov is on the left. The Archdiocese of Prešov includes the dioceses of Bratislava and Košice. The cathedral of the Prešov archdiocese is the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, which is on the right side of the photo. 

    Cathedral of St. Alexander Nevsky


    The Cathedral of St Alexander Nevsky (Chrám Svätého Alexandra Nevského) is the main Orthodox cathedral in Slovakia. It was built in Prešov in 1946-1950.

    The church was built in the spirit of the Orthodox Russian architecture traditions. It is decorated with five convex domes that remind of the typical architecture of ancient tsarist Russia. It is dedicated to the prince Saint Alexander Nevsky. The needle-shaped bell tower was built between 1969 and 1970. The dominant feature of the interior is the double row wooden iconostasis.

    Bosak's House 

    The Art Nouveau building was built on the corner of Hlavna and Łewocza Street in 1923-1924 and originally it was intended for the Institute of Finance.

    It was named after Michal Bosak, a Slovak expatriate who, within a short period of time, rose to become one of the leading American bankers. He owned several banks in the US and was a board member of several banks, e. g. Bank of Europe in New York or First National Bank in Oliphant. His signature is also on 10 US dollars which his bank authorised the US government to issue.

    Furthermore, on 30 May 1918 Michal Bošák signed the Pittsburgh Agreement which stipulated that Slovakia was to have an autonomous status within the future Czecho-Slovak state. In 1920 he founded the American-Slovak Bank in Bratislava, which had 9 branches, one of which was in Prešov.

    Bosak's House is a beautiful art nouveau building with unusual sculptural decoration from the 20th century. It was built by Michal Bosak, a Slovak banker working in the USA, whose signature adorns the ten-dollar note issued in 1990-1929 as well as the Pittsburgh Agreement, one of the documents standing at the beginning of Czechoslovak statehood. The building housed a branch of the American-Slovak Bank Bosak, which opened in Bratislava in 1920. 


    Sculptural masterpieces from the mid-eighteenth century. Only three of the four figures have survived - Jan Nepomucski, St. Mikuláš and the Madonna with the Child, Crown and Staff.

    Neptune's Fountain

    The history of the famous work by master Vincetto of Taviar from Košice dates back to 1789. It is a gift mark of Marc Hollander, who was a merchant in the town.

    Interesting facts

    The forty-ninth parallel runs through the historical part of the town. The city is surrounded by amazingly beautiful nature. The climate is mild and temperate, making for ideal recreation both in summer and winter. The High Tatras are only seventy kilometres from Prešov. In good weather, you can see them directly from the local neighbourhoods.

    Prešov takes pride in being the town where the first printed book in the country was published.

    Jakub Bogdani, Pal Maleter, Katharina Knechtová, Péter Lipa, Péter Nagy, Ivan Tasler, Juraj Kukura, and other celebrities were born and lived here. Prešov is multifaceted and unique. It is the centre of a cosmopolitan region, where people of different nationalities and religions have lived and worked together for hundreds of years. It was from here, in the mid-eighteenth century, that Alexander Dukhnovich awakened the "Ruthenian spirit" and called on the masses to enlighten themselves. At that time, talented children were already studying in the Greek Catholic Seminary, and later in the Teachers' Seminary.

    Cultural events

    The most interesting annual events in the town are the Music Spring in Prešov, the Salt Mine Fair, the Lace Festival, and the Prešov Cultural Summer.

    Exchange Rates

    USD flag
    GBP flag
    HUF flag
    CZK flag
    PLN flag
    CHF flag
    TRY flag
    THB flag