THE TOWN'S HISTORY
The town's history
It was proved that the town and its surroundins were settled in the New Stone Age. The old Levoca was situated on the left side of the road from Levoca to Spisska Nova Ves, where the archaeologists excavated the foundations of a Roman church, the size of which was quite respectable: it is 23.5m long, the width of the nave is 12m and the apse is over 8m. It was the Church of St. Nicholas dating back to the 11th-12th century . The next large settlement, or a little town and a rotund church from the 11th century are situated next to what is now Kosicka Gate. When in the 12th century, and also after Tartar Raid in 1241,the German colonists arrived in Levoca, they found the original settlements- the little towns which, with their own new dwellings, became the foundation of the present town.
The oldest document, where Levoca is mentioned for the first time, was issued by Hungarian king Belo IV in 1249 and he documented the act of presenting the grounds to the Spis Prior. It says that: "The border of the ground called Jablonov descends to the road which leads to Levoca." In 1271 Levoca becomes the center of the Saxons' province and, like the other Spis towns, uses the rights of free king's towns: they have autonomy, judicial authority, personal freedom, the right to mine ores, exploit forests, perform crafts, carry on trade and the right of store, which caused a long-lasting conflict with the town of Kezmarok, which won it only thanks to a trick. The conflict is known as "Hundred-year War" and Levoca was the winner. In 1402 the citizens of Levoca were freed from the right of store of other towns, in 1419 the rulers freed Levoca's merchants from the thirties duty all over Hungary. Thanks to its advantageous position on the crossroads of trade routes and and substantial support of the both political and economic priviliges from the rulers, finances started to flow to the town's treasure, as well as to the burghers' purses, allowing general development. It was the period of architectural, educational, cultural, artistic and crafts splendour. The fires in 1550 and 1599 caused a lot of damage. But the strong and rich town recovered succesfully from those disasters and kept its significant position till the end of the 16th century.
The town of Levoca used to be surrounded by the well -preserved Town-Wall, which was rebuilt several times. The architecture of the burghers' houses in the square was changing from Gothic to Renaissance, as we know it now. Due to the fires, only the remains of the Gothic house have been preserved and they are discovered during the reconstructions. The Town Hall is built in Renaissance style,too. Religious brotherhoods, and especially churches , were the centers of spiritual culture. The most important were: the Church of St. Nicholas, Holy Spirit, St. John and probably the Church of St. Elizabeth, too. But the most significant of them is the church of European importance, the Church of St. Jacob. Since the 15th century the town supported education by giving certian sum of money to school. There were a library, pharmacy, bath and some doctors worked here as well.
In the last century of this millenium the town becomes administrative center of district and later county importance. It is also a town of schools. Still its most impressive treasure is its heritage- artistic. They were why the town has become historical reservation in 1950. Life is coming back to the restored historical buildings thanks to the restorers- artists and skillful craftsmen. In the stylish buildings, there are new centers of social, cultural and economic life of the town.