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The Spiš (Slovak: Spiš; Hungarian: Szepes; Polish: Spisz; Latin: Scepusium ) is a landscape in northeastern Slovakia and in the south of the Polish Lesser Poland Voivodeship . The name of the former Hungarian county of Spiš is derived from it.


Slovakia Spis.gif

The area is located in north-eastern Slovakia on the area of ​​the High Tatras and in the area east of it. The southern border is formed by the Low Tatras and the Slovak Ore Mountains (Slovak Slovenské rudohorie ), in the west the Spiš borders the landscape traditionally known as Liptov (Slovak Liptov ). The Spiš is mostly around the rivers Poprad and Hernad (Slovak Hornád ) (only to Jaklovce ). A small part of the area has been in Poland since 1918 .

Politically, the landscape has been divided (since 1996) between the Košický kraj and Prešovský kraj regional associations. Important cities are Poprad (German Deutschendorf ), Levoča (German Leutschau ), Spišská Nová Ves (German Zipser Neudorf ) and the traditional cultural center Kežmarok (German Kesmark or Käsmark ).


Middle Ages and early modern times

View from the Spiš Castle to the Spiš landscape
Spiš Castle
According to the Treaty of Lubowla in 1412

The area was conquered by Hungary in the second half of the 11th century and about 100 years later administratively organized as the Spis County (comitatus Scepusiensis) , which essentially existed until the creation of Czechoslovakia in 1918. Until 1802, however, there was a tiny separate Slovakian county east of the city of Poprad in the southern part of the Spiš (names: Parvus comitatus, Sedes superior, Sedes X lanceatorum, cities of the 10 lancetors), the origin of which is unknown.

Most of the Spiš cities have their origins in German settlements (mainly mining settlements in the Unterzips). The originally mainly Slavic population in this area was exterminated or expelled during the Mongol invasion in 1242. In the following period, sometimes as early as the 12th century, German specialists and miners from Silesia , Thuringia and possibly also Saxony were brought into the country by the Hungarian kings. These so-called Spiš Saxons ("Saxons" means, like the Transylvanian Saxons, simply "Germans") formed the economic and cultural backbone of the Spiš until the 19th and sometimes even 20th centuries.

The residents of the Spiš created their own spiritual organization in the 13th century, the brotherhood of 24 royal pastors, and parallel to this the political organization Bund der 24 Spiš cities , headed by the Spiš Count, who was elected by the city judges. The federation was given a self-administration which roughly corresponded to that of the royal free cities . The Zips experienced its economic and cultural heyday in the 14th century. From 1370 the 24 federal cities and 20 other Spiš settlements applied a uniform Spiš law (Spis arbitrariness) .

The union of the 24 Spiš cities was dissolved in 1412 when King Sigismund of Luxembourg pledged 13 of these cities and the area around the castle Stará Ľubovňa (German Altlublau, Polish Lubowla ) to Poland for financial reasons (borrowing for the war against Venice ) , which in however, their self-government did not intervene. In nominal terms, the pledged areas still belonged to the Kingdom of Hungary and only their economic use and administration, especially the tax revenue, were pledged. The pledged cities formed the union of 13 Spiš cities in 1412 and recorded an economic upswing due to their mediating role (German cities in Hungary pledged to Poland with Slovak subjects). The remaining 11 cities, which formed the federation of the 11 Spiš cities in 1412 , on the other hand, could not maintain the traditionally privileged position of the cities in the Spiš and became dependent on the Spis Castle as early as 1465 . As a result, they have sunk to the level of meaningless villages and have largely lost their German character. A famous Spiš Saxon was Johannes V. Thurzo .

During the Reformation, the Zips was at times, especially at the beginning, strongly influenced by the Anabaptist movement under Andreas Fischer . In the second half of the 16th century, the Zipser the preacher Georg Leudischer, Valentin Grossmann turned cities under the influence ( Graecized : Valentin Mega Santander), a pupil of Melanchthon and Martin Koch Cyriaksburg mostly Lutheran commitment to. The Confessio Scepusiana ( Spis Confession), written in 1568, became the definitive confession of the Spiš. It leans heavily on the Confessio Augustana .

The pledge of the Spiš cities was not to take long, as was customary at the time, but 360 years passed before the Kingdom of Hungary, ruled by the House of Austria , regained the cities through a military campaign in 1769 without redeeming the pledge. Habsburg took advantage of Poland's weakness: in opposition to Stanisław August Poniatowski's reforms , the Polish aristocracy formed the Bar Confederation . This triggered the Polish-Russian war of 1768–1772, before the end of which the neighboring states agreed on the first partition of Poland , in which the Habsburg Empire then also won the south of Poland as Galicia . The Spiš was formally organized as the province of the 16 Spiš cities from 1778 . The self-government of the Spiš cities was not abolished until 1876, they were added to the Zips county .

After the First World War

After the area became part of Czechoslovakia in 1918 , the newly founded Poland occupied and annexed 195 km² in the northern Spiš (see Czechoslovakian-Polish border conflicts ). The parts of the county that remained with Czechoslovakia (now called Spišská župa in Slovak ) remained in existence until 1922, but the competencies of this administrative area were completely different from the previous ones. In 1923, the Spiš was then divided into the newly created administrative units of the Lower Tatras County (Podtatranská župa) and Kosice County (Košická župa) . 1928-1939 and 1945-1948 it was then part of the again newly created Slovak Land (Slovenská krajina) .

After Slovakia had existed as an independent state from 1939 to 1945, the Spiš became the eastern part of the Tatra County (Tatranská župa) from 1940 .

After the Second World War

After the Second World War , the Spiš was again part of Czechoslovakia and after the dissolution of the Tatra County in 1945 it became part of the Košický kraj and the Eperieser Landschaftsverband (Prešovský kraj), although their borders are not the same as those of today Names of existing landscape associations. From July 1960 to September 1990, the region was part of the East Slovak Landscape Association (Východoslovenský kraj) .

The Spiš was the main settlement area of ​​the Carpathian Germans , remnants of which have still been preserved. Most Germans were evacuated to Germany from the Zips before the advancing Red Army between mid-November 1944 and January 21, 1945 on the initiative of Adalbert Wanhoff and with preparations by the Episcopal Office of the German Evangelical Church .

Most of the Germans who remained or who had returned were expropriated and expelled to Germany via the Poprad resettlement camp in the summer of 1946. The German population was only able to survive in the village of Chmeľnica ( Hopgarten ). Thanks to their good relations with Slovaks and other nationalities in the neighboring villages, they helped them to stay in the country.

Tourist region

The tourist region Spišský región cestovného ruchu in Slovak extends over the following districts:

See also

Memorial plaque for the Carpathian Germans in Slovakia

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Ján Volný: Spiš Confession. In: April 26, 2018, accessed June 12, 2019 .
  2. ^ Jan-Andrea Bernhard: Consolidation of the Reformed Confession in the Empire of the St. Stephen's Crown. A contribution to the history of communication between Hungary and Switzerland in the early modern period (1500–1700) . Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2015, ISBN 978-3-525-55070-0 , p. 448.