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Area of today´s Prešov was settled in the older stone age (40 000 – 100 000 b.c.). Many graves and tools were found here, as well as jewels and buckles from the bronze age. From the era of the moving of the nations (2. – 5. century) is a precious treasure of the Roman silver and golden coins. In the 6. cent. Slavs settlet in the Torysa valley for good.
Today´s Slovak street in the centre of the town, for instance, got its name in these ages. Many latin medieval documents mention „Quartale Sclauorum“, which means Slavic quarter or street. It only confirms busy atmosphere of the locality. Prešov was natural crossroad from north to south and from west to east. Gradualy Hungarian and German businessmen were moving here.
The first written mention does not say anything nice about Prešov but at least we can claim that the town is here for nearly 760 years for sure. The document from the year 1247 sais that Prešov´s Germans moved border stones and replaced them by the false ones because they wanted to steal more land. The king decided people from Bardejov were right and so the land was given back to them.
In the year 1299 Prešov was given town rights from the king Ondrej III., according to them Prešov´s inhabitants were put on the equal level as Germans in the Spiš region. It meant dynamic development of the town. Houses were built, craftsmen had enough of work, town became an important business centre. Main export article was wine.
From the year 1480 Prešov became part of the Pentapolitana, association of 5 free royal towns, together with Košice, Levoča, Bardejov and Sabinov.
Prešov was given another important right – right to build the fortresses in 1374. Many parts of ingenious system of the walls, water moats and falling bridges are in good state till today.
From the half of the 16. century, Prešov was extremly succesful, town was flourishing. But happy times were interrupted by several anti – Habsburg uprisings. The most known, as well as the saddest event from this era is so – called Caraffa´s slaughter, which happened in 1687. 24 Prešov´s citizens and land owners were sentenced for the preparation of the new uprising agains the emperor. General Antonio Caraffa gave the command to torture them and lately execute them on public. General Caraffa has a statue on the corner of Evanjelic colege, very close to the place where the slaughter happened.
Before the republic
Till the beggining of the 18. cent. Prešov was in the poor conditions. After all the fights, wars and plague epidemies, the town was recovering only very slowly. But also revolutionary years 1848 – 49 have their meaning in Prešov´s history. One of the most important historical characters Ľudovít Štúr, founder of standard Slovak language, lived here for some time.
Another heavy blow came in 1887. Big fire damaged nearly whole town, which at that times had app. 11 000 inhabitants.
After Prešov was rebuilt again, things started to move quickly. Breakpoint was when railway connection was finished, soon canalization and phone net started to work. All this Prešov´s inhabitants managed till the year 1906.
After the I. World War Prešov became a part of Czechoslovak republic. It became strategically important only during the II. World War. 2 bases of bigger divisions took place here. It survived several bombings and masacres right on the streets. 19.1.1945 is the date of Prešov´s freeing.
Building of the socializm
Contrary to unhappy political regime, town in the era of the building of socializm was industrialy developing. New companies were built and military base at the close airport was also expanded. But this nonsensical political system, on the other hand, ment early stagnation of the further technical development. Quality of living staied on the level of big block-of-flats-estates (estate Sekčov was the second biggest after Bratislava´s Petržalka), not talking about the historical monuments and sights which fell into ruins.
After November 1989
After the fall of communism and the birth of the independent Slovak republic in 1993, properties were given back to their original owners. Town finaly became colourful again. Today, Hlavná street is after huge reconstruction, only few more houses on the side streets are still waiting to be repaired. Town is dynamicaly developing, it has opened to the wide world and slowly first foreign investitions are coming in.
The main street - square
Church st. Nicolas
Square Holy Trinity
The main road