Slovakia – a country rich in world, cultural, and natural heritage

Three localities from Slovakia were inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage List already in 1993: Castle of Spiš and its environs, Banská Štiavnica and Vlkolínec. In 2000, the historic town Bardejov was added, in 2008 wooden churches of the Slovak part of Carpathian Mountain Area and in 2009 town Levoča.

The Castle of Spiš is the largest medieval castle compound in central Europe along with the little town of Spišské Podhradie (with typical Renaissance and Baroque burgher houses), the Church town of Spišská Kapitula (including several sacral monuments and above all the impressing two tower cathedral of St Martin) and the Gothic church of the Holy Spirit in Žehra from the 14th century and frescoes in its interior from the 14th and 15th centuries. Well conserved monuments along with the charming natural setting of the travertine territory of the National Nature Reserve Dreveník forms a unique whole.

In June 2009, the historic town of Levoča was included in this group of Spiš monuments. Banská Štiavnica is a town monument reserve which demonstrates the mining tradition in Slovakia, Vlkolínec represents a reserve of traditional folk architecture and Bardejov is considered to be the most Gothic town in Slovakia.

Wooden churches of the Slovak part of Carpathian Mountain Area possess an extraordinary worldwide value, too. The churches include: Roman Catholic churches in Hervartov and Tvrdošín, Evangelical articular churches in Kežmarok, Leštiny and Hronsek, and churches of Eastern rite in Bodružal, Ladomirová and Ruská Bystrá.

UNESCO Natural Heritage

Unique natural heritage of Slovakia is represented in the UNESCO World Heritage List by caves and abysses of Slovenský kras karst and by Dobšinská ľadová jaskyňa cave. In 2007 the Carpathian primeval beech forests of the Bukovské vrchy and Vihorlatské vrchy Mts. in the east of Slovakia were added to this list.

Slovenský kras situated in the south of Slovakia on the frontier with Hungary is the largest karstic area in the middle Europe. It consists of 1110 caves and abysses. In 1995 the bilateral Slovak-Hungarian project with the title Caves of the Slovak and Aggtelek Karst (Ochtinská aragonitová jaskyňa, Gombasecká jaskyňa, Jaskyňa Domica, Krásnohorská jaskyňa, Jasovská jaskyňa, …) was successful in its endeavour to be included among the most precious world natural phenomena. In 2000 this inscription also included the ice cave of Dobšinská ľadová jaskyňa, one of the largest of its kind in Europe.

The primeval beech forests of the Carpathians in the Ukraine and in Slovakia were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in June 2007. Thanks to this fact, the Carpathian primeval beech forests of Stužica, Rožok and Havešová in the Bukovské vrchy Mts. and Vihorlatský prales primeval forest in the Vihorlatské vrchy Mts. in CHKO Vihorlat are of world importance. The first three of them are situated in the area of the Poloniny National Park.

UNESCO Intangible Heritage

Fujara is the most typical Slovak musical instrument. It was included by UNESCO in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The list was founded in 2001.

Fujara is an overtone fipple flute that can be up to 1.8 m long. It is usually made from elder tree and has a characteristic meditation tone.

It is known nowhere else in the world but Slovakia. This country is considered to be the place of origin of this instrument, especially the region of Poľana and North Gemer. It used to be the typical instrument of shepherds. Fujaras were decorated by ornaments or figural decorations.

The longest instrument is the Fujara Trombita, up to 6 m long that was used for signalling and for communication among shepherds on their pastures because of its magnificent and strong tone. It is made from pine wood.

Second on the UNESCO intangible heritage list is the Music of Terchová – the “heavenly“ archaic folk music characteristic of Terchová and neighbouring villages, typified by multi-voice singing. The Music of Terchova is closely connected with dancing, hence its temperamental music style. We don’t know the exact origins of this folklore, because naturally it has passed from one generation to the next only in spoken form. It was included in the UNESCO list in 2013. 

Properties designed to be inscribed on the UNESCO list

  • Limes Romanus - The Roman antique monuments on the Middle Danube
  • Gemer and Abov churches with the medieval wall paintings
  • Komárno - The Fortress against Turks
  • The Memorial of Chatam Sófer
  • Tokaj Wine Region
  • The concept of the lenticular historical town core of Košice City
  • Natural Reserves of Tatras Mountain (assumed common proposal with Poland)
  • Karst Valleys of Slovakia (based on the selection of various types of karst valleys, enlargement and finalisation of the nomination project Yardangs of Slovak Paradise, submitted on 26.6.1997)
  • Natural and Cultural Landscape of Danube Region (assumed common proposal with Czech Republic, Austria and Hungary)
  • Fungal Flora of Bukovské Hills
  • Geyser in Herľany
  • Monuments of Great Moravia - a joint Czech-Slovak nomination (the church of st. Margita of Antiochia in Kopčany and Ducové, part Kostolec)