|Prešovský kraj||Prešov region|
Kežmarok is situated at an elevation of 630 m on the river Poprad in northeastern Slovakia near the High Tatra mountains. The city is the seat of the administration of the Kežmarok district in the Prešov region. The municipality has a population of about 16,700 (2013).
Settlement at Kežmarok dates back to the Upper Stone Age. In the 13th century the region contained a community of Saxons (Germans), a Slovak fishing village,
a Hungarian border post and a Carpathian German settlement. Its Latin name was first mentioned in 1251 as Villa (Saxonum apud Ecclesiam) Sancte Elisabeth.
In 1269 Kežmarok received its town charter. It also had the right to organize a cheese market (hence the German name Käsmark ("Käsemarkt" – "cheese market").
In 1433 the town was severely damaged by a Hussite raid. After 1440, the count of Spiš had a seat here. In the 15th century (and then once more in 1655), Kežmarok
became a Hungarian free royal town. The town was a stronghold of the noble Thököly family.
In pride of place is the Protestant church built in 1688 entirely of wood. The church has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008 (see also list of other
UNESCO World heritage sites).
Kežmarok had a large ethnic German minority until the end of World War II. It also had a large and active Jewish community. During World War II,
under the auspices of the First Slovak Republic, nearly 3,000 of the town's Jews were deported to German death camps. The town's pre-war Jewish cemetery has now been restored.
Kežmarok castle was founded in 1462. Built in order to protect the city, it is surrounded by fortifications.
The Thököly family, who became the owners in 1583, rebuilt the castle in Renaissance style and constructed an Early Baroque Castle Chapel.
Damaged several times by fires, it was rebuilt often, for the last time in the Romantic period of the 20th century.
Since 1931 it has been home to the Municipal Museum.
The town hall [left, no. 2949: top picture], originally built in 1461, was rebuilt in 1799.
The picture is labeled in Hungarian felső fő-utcza és városház, 'upper main street and town hall'.
The new Protestant church [left, no. 2949: bottom picture: background left]
was built in 1898 in Neo-Byzantine style. The plans were designed by the Danish architect Theophil Hansen for a project in Jerusalem. When the
project was given up there, Hansen donated the plans to the city of Kežmarok.
The bottom picture shows a panoramic view of Kežmarok with the Tatra mountains in the background.