January 2, 2013

0041, 0443 SLOVAKIA (Prešov Region) - Levoča, Spišský Hrad and the Associated Cultural Monuments (UNESCO WHS)

0443 Roman Catholic Church of St. James in Levoča

Located in the historical region of Spiš, Levoča was an military training ground during the Great Moravia period (9th century), but its development was linked with the German colonisation, which increased considerably in the mid-13th century following the Mongol devastations of 1241. In fact colonization with Saxons took place at that time in all border areas of the Kingdom of Hungary, there are many similarities between Levoča and some cities from Transylvania as Braşov (Kronstadt), Sibiu (Hermannstadt), Sighişoara (Schässburg) or other settlements placed along the strategic road of Ţara Bârsei (Burzenland).

0041 Old Town Hall in Levoča

Levoča was the main centre of the Saxon presence, and the fact that it was placed on a major inter-regional route between Poland, Silesia, Moravia, and Hungary, as well as its status of Free City helped it to develop and prosper. The Roman Catholic Church of St. James was built in the 14th century and is very well preserved, despite the ten alters of the 15th and 16th centuries. It houses a wonderful collection of polychrome works in the Late Gothic style, including a magnificently carved and painted wooden altar, the largest in Europe (18.62 m in height), created by Master Paul of Levoča around 1520.

The church is located in Master Paul's Square, where there are also the Old Town Hall (15th-17th century, which now contains a museum), the Evangelical Lutheran Church (1837), some buildings which were the townhouses of the local nobility in the late Middle Ages and, in the middle of the square, the wrought iron Cage of Shame, dating back to the 17th century, used for public punishment of miscreants. In 2009, Levoča, in associating with Spiš Castle and Zehra, was added by UNESCO to its World Heritage List, because "constitute a remarkable group of military, urban, political, and religious elements, of a type that was relatively common in medieval Europe, but of which almost none have survived in such a complete condition with equivalent integrity."

About the stamps
On the postcard 0041
The stamp belong to Cultural heritage of Slovakia set, issued on 2nd January 2009 as part of basic euro postal stamps. The set include the following denomination:

Chapel of St. Margaret in Kopčany (0.01 EUR)
Church of the Virgin Mary in Boldog (0.02 EUR)
Rotunda of St. Margaret in Šivetice (0.05 EUR)
Church of St. John the Baptist in Sedmerovec - Pominovce (0.10 EUR) - It's on the postcard 0443
Church in Svätuše (0.20 EUR)
Church in Čierny Brod (0.33 EUR)
Church of St. Martin in Spisska Kapitula (0.50 EUR)
Church of St. Egidius in Ilija (0.66 EUR)
Church of St. Stephen in Žilina (0.83 EUR)
Church of the Virgin Mary in Bina (1.00 EUR) - It's on the postcard 0041
Church of the Holy Cross in Hamuliakovo (1.33 EUR)
Church of St. Michael the Archangel in Drazovce (2.00 EUR)

On the postcard 0443
The first stamp is also part of the series Cultural heritage of Slovakia, about which I wrote below. The second stamp is part of a series named Veteran Motor Cars, issued on July 1st, 2011 and comprising two stamps:
• Aero 30 (0,40 EUR)
• Aerodynamic Tatra 87 (0.80 EUR) - It's on the postcard 0443

References
Levoča, Spiš Castle and the associated cultural monuments - Wikipedia
St. James’s Church in the town of Levoča - Chram sv. Jakuba

Sender 0041: Mircea Ostoia (direct swap)
Sent from Levoča (Slovakia), on 08.10.2012
Sender 0443: Stani Vidovicova (direct swap)
Sent from Bratislava (Slovakia), on 18.11.2011

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