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History of the Reformation and Cultural Heritage of the Evangelical Church in Slovakia

During this tour you will become acquainted with interesting history as we meet representatives of the Evangelical Church of Augsburg Confession in Slovakia and historians. You will learn about the monuments of Evangelical churches of various regions which are artistically rich and diverse. We will also talk about the significance of German Evangelical communities, schools and culture for the culture and identity of Slovaks.  

Study tour

Parish communities and landowners had influence on the selection of priests in the Middle Ages in the territory of Slovakia. Many towns even had privileges for such decision-making. The connections of German townsmen, craftsmen and miners to their homeland were significant. Many of them studied at schools and universities in Germany. After 1458 (the reign of Matthias Corvinus) the royal court in Buda (a section of present day Budapest) became the center for humanist ideas and art.  And the ideas of German humanism also had their place at the court during the reign of Queen Maria (1505 – 1558, the wife of Luis Jagello and the daughter of Philip I of Habsburg). The mining towns, where she tolerated the spread of the ideas of Reformation, were her dowry. We will meet the figures who most frequently studied at Wittenberg, around 1500 in five significant towns – Pentapolitana: Bardejov (Bartfeld), Levoča (Leutschau), Prešov (Eperies), Sabinov (Zeben) and Košice (Kassau). Martin Luther and his teaching were known in the territory of Slovakia one year after his departure from the Catholic Church in 1517.

The following 250 years were characterized by peaceful periods interspersed with periods of severe persecution. This was more or less related to the political position of the Habsburg Court, which was sometimes even tolerant, particularly due to the pressure and defeats of several of Hungarian aristocracy uprisings against the Habsburgs which also had Confession policies. The official formulations of the Confession of five large towns - Confessio Pentapolitana (1548) and the five mining towns Confessio Montana (1559), Spišské vierovyznanie (Confession of Spiš) (1569) were significant for the orientation of the church. The local Lutheran church continued in the Augsburg Confession, which applies even today. On our trip we will also see reminders of the synod of 1620 in Žilina and the unique figure of Juraj Thurzo and his organizational merits and art patronage. We will see preserved wooden churches which are a unique part of the European cultural heritage. Local Evangelic communities built them based on the Resolution of the Hungarian Parliament, which met in 1681 in Ödenburg. Pursuant to Article 26, they were permitted to build two wooden churches in every district, but with many technical and ideological limitations.  The Patent of Toleration of Emperor Joseph II of 1781 opened a new age in the existence and life of the church. Thus, large Evangelical cathedrals, which we will also visit, are monuments of the architecture and fine art of the Empire and Biedermeier era.  

Our tour will take us to the southern regions of Slovakia – Gemer, Malohont, Novohrad – where older medieval churches were temples of the Evangelical religion in the 17th and 18th centuries.  We will see precious combinations of the fine art monuments of the Middle Ages with Renaissance and Baroque Evangelical altars.  

At the end of our trip we will visit landmarks of the political and cultural history of Evangelical communities in the territory of Slovakia in the 19th and 20th centuries.  


big SR EVK7 map

Meet in Vienna (WBhf). Bus trip to hotel in Bratislava (Preßburg).

We will begin our study trip with a visit to the premises of Generalbischofsamt der EKAB in Bratislava, where we will have a discussion with a historian; we will also visit the Large and Small Evangelical Church for a brief organ concert. After a short tour of Bratislava’s old town we will become acquainted with the history of churches and the Evangelical church in the small wine country town of Modra (Modern).

We will head toward the hills near the border with Moravia (Czech Republic) – at the foot of the White Carpathian Mountains, which in the 19th century was the cultural and political stronghold of Slovak Evangelical communities. At the Bradlo monument, whose architecture is noteworthy, we will learn about the history of this part of Europe after 1900. In the valley situated to the north (Zemianske Podhradie) we’ll visit the unique church which was designed by Countess Príleská in 1784 before returning to the main road through the Váh River valley. We’ll stop at the chateau in Bytča (Großbitsch) and the local church where we will learn about the historically significant figure of Georg Thurzo (1567 – 1616) and the town of Žilina, where in 1610 the first legislative synod of the evangelical church took place in the territory of present day Slovakia. In the Turiec region (Turz) we’ll see a unique Evangelical altar from 1611 – “Speculum Justificationis” which was originally situated in the Thurzo Chapel of Orava Castle. During the tour of the church in Dražkovce we’ll talk about the humanist Peter Revay (1568 – 1622).

We’ll start the day in the region of Orava (Arwa) where we’ll visit two unique wooden churches in Istebné and Leštiny. We’ll take a tour of the bizarre castle of Orava (Arwa) particularly its Renaissance chapel of the Thurzo family, and in the region of Liptov (Liptau) we’ll visit another preserved wooden church in Lazisko (Sv. Kríž). It is one of the largest wooden cathedrals in Europe. Then in legendary region of Spiš (Zips) we’ll visit the town of Kežmarok (Kesmark) and its wooden church and spend some time in the building of the famous lyceum library. Here a discussion with a specialist in the history of the town and region, the stronghold of the Reformation, will take place.  

We will visit the noteworthy Evangelical monuments in the cathedrals of the towns of Levoča (Leutschau) and Bardejov (Bartfeld) where significant Reformation figures such as Leonard Stöckel (1510 – 1560) lived and worked.  The Evangelical church and schools underwent a dramatic history in the town of Prešov. After touring the sites there, we’ll finish the day in Gelnica (Göllnitz) the former center of the Lower Spiš region.

The regions of Gemer and Malohont are exceptional because of the great involvement of local Evangelical intellectuals in the area of culture, particularly in literature.  We will meet with experts in the history of the local Evangelical church, its administration (in Rožňava (Rosenau) and Klenovec) and we’ll visit the Evangelical grammar school in Tisovec. The tour of this land, today forgotten, is a great experience particularly because of the interiors of its religious structures.  We’ll see Gothic wall paintings (the largest number of discovered medieval paintings north of the Alps) in symbiosis with the Renaissance and Baroque art of protestant altars and painted ceilings. We will also visit the cathedrals in Štítnik (Schittnich, Koceľovce (Getzelsdorf), Ochtiná, Rimavské Brezovo, Rimavská Baňa, Kraskovo, Kyjatice. Some will have to wait for the next day.

After further discovering Evangelical monuments of the region of Gemer and Malohont, we will arrive in the largest mining town - Banská Bystrica (“Kupferstadt” Neusohl). In addition to the historical landmarks, we will also become acquainted with the Evangelical church (1803) and its cultural and historical traditions.

On the way from Banská Bystrica we’ll stop in the village of Hronsek, where a wooden church with interesting construction and interior features was preserved. ‘Silberne Bergbaustadt” Banská Štiavnica (Schemnitz) is our next stop. There we will see several significant landmarks, witnesses of the pre-Reformation times.  The Evangelical church with its noteworthy architecture was built according to the project of the renowned Vienna office of J.J. Tallherr (1794).  
We will return to Vienna in the evening.

Service package:

The price of the tour covers:

  • A qualified guiding service
  • Expert guiding by a renowned art-historian
  • Travel from Vienna, around Slovakia and back to Vienna in a comfortable bus.
  • 7x accommodation in double and single rooms in three/four star hotels and guesthouses
  • Full board in carefully selected stylish restaurants - 7x breakfast, 7x lunch, 7x dinner
  • Entrance fees (except Group tours and VIP tours)

The price of the tour does not include the following:

  • drinks
  • voluntary contributions
  • insurance
  • charges for taking pictures in museums and monuments
  • individual transportation from the residence to the point of departure (except Group tours and VIP tours)

Tour price

The price for the tour SR EVK 7 is 875 EUR per person in double room,
Extra charge for a single room is 171 EUR.
For tours of the type Group tours and VIP tours the price is calculated individually


Dates for groups – by appointment

Dates for VIP – by appointment

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