Coordinates: 49°08′01″N 20°25′35″E / 49.13361°N 20.42639°E / 49.13361; 20.42639
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Church in Kežmarok, Slovakia
Church in Kežmarok, Slovakia
Coat of arms of Kežmarok
Etymology: "cheese market"
Kežmarok is located in Prešov Region
Location of Kežmarok in Prešov Region
Kežmarok is located in Slovakia
Location of Kežmarok in Slovakia
Coordinates: 49°08′01″N 20°25′35″E / 49.13361°N 20.42639°E / 49.13361; 20.42639
Country Slovakia
First mentioned1251
 • MayorJán Ferenčák
 • Total24.78[2] km2 (9.57[2] sq mi)
627[3] m (2,057[3] ft)
 • Total15,379[1]
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
060 01[3]
Area code+421 52[3]
Car plateKK

Kežmarok (German: Kesmark or Käsmark; Hungarian: Késmárk, Yiddish: קעזמאַרק, romanizedKezmark, Polish: Kieżmark) is a town in the Spiš region of eastern Slovakia (population 16,000), on the Poprad River. Prior to World War I, it was in Szepes county in the Kingdom of Hungary.


Settlement at Kežmarok dates back to the Upper Stone Age. In the 13th century the region contained a community of Saxons, 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 Kesmark ("Käsemarkt" - "cheese market"). In 1433 the town was severely damaged by a Hussite raid. After 1440, the count of Spiš had a seat in Kežmarok. In the 15th century (and then once more in 1655), Kežmarok became a free royal town.

The town was a stronghold of the noble Thököly family. The Hungarian magnate and warrior Imre Thököly was born in the town in 1657.[7] He died in exile in Turkey in 1705 but in the 20th century his body was returned to Kežmarok and he is buried in a noble mausoleum in the town's Lutheran church.

Coat of arms of the Thököly family.

The town's other monuments include a castle, many Renaissance merchant houses, and a museum of ancient books. In pride of place is the Protestant church built in 1688 entirely of wood. The church also contains an organ of 1719 with wooden pipes. The church has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008.

Kežmarok had an ethnic German majority until around 1910, and Germans stayed a large minority until the end of World War II. Most Germans were evacuated to Germany or the Sudetenland before the arrival of the Red Army. The evacuation was mostly the initiative of Adalbert Wanhoff and prepared the diocese of the German Evangelical Church between mid-November 1944 and 21 January 1945. 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.


The town contains many historic monuments, including the Basilica of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross and the Wooden articular church in Kežmarok.


According to the 2001 census, the town had 17,383 inhabitants. 95.21% of inhabitants were Slovaks, 1.59% Roma, 0.83% Czechs and 0.43% Germans.[8] The religious makeup was 77.50% Roman Catholics, 10.98% people with no religious affiliation, 4.83% Lutherans and 2.63% Greek Catholics.[8]

Twin towns — sister cities[edit]

View from above

Kežmarok is twinned with:[9]

Notable people[edit]

Emeric Thököly


Jana Gantnerova-Soltysova, 2010


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Počet obyvateľov podľa pohlavia - obce (ročne)". (in Slovak). Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic. 2022-03-31. Retrieved 2022-03-31.
  2. ^ a b "Hustota obyvateľstva - obce [om7014rr_ukaz: Rozloha (Štvorcový meter)]". (in Slovak). Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic. 2022-03-31. Retrieved 2022-03-31.
  3. ^ a b c d "Základná charakteristika". (in Slovak). Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic. 2015-04-17. Retrieved 2022-03-31.
  4. ^ a b "Hustota obyvateľstva - obce". (in Slovak). Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic. 2022-03-31. Retrieved 2022-03-31.
  5. ^ The Town Kežmarok Archived September 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Mestská a obecná štatistika SR Archived October 6, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ a b Bain, Robert Nisbet (1911). "Thököly, Imre" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 26 (11th ed.). pp. 861–862.
  8. ^ a b "Municipal Statistics". Statistical Office of the Slovak republic. Archived from the original on 2007-11-16. Retrieved 2007-12-15.
  9. ^ "Partnerské mestá". (in Slovak). Kežmarok. Retrieved 2019-09-05.
  10. ^ "Kray von Krajova, Paul, Freiherr" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 15 (11th ed.). 1911. p. 925.

External links[edit]