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The New Evangelical Church

Opening hours:

Summer season (1st May - 31st October) : from Monday to Saturday   9:00 - 12:00 ; 14:00 -17:00

Winter season (1st November - 30th April) : Tuesday and Friday   10:00 - 12:00 ; 14:00 - 16:00

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Church in numbers:

Building time: 22 years (with 11-years break)

Consecration: 2nd December 1894

Age of bulding: >124 years

Length: 80 m (265.5 ft) Width: 20 m (65.6 ft) 

Height of cupola: 33 m (108.3 ft)

Height of tower: 42 m (137.8 ft)

Number of choir lofts: 1

Number of pulpits: 2

Number of seats: 900

Number of organ stops: 30

Number of organ pipes: 1869

Cultural Heritage Monuments of Slovakia: since 4. 12. 1981




In the second half of the 19th century, the Protestants from Kesmarok decided to build a new more representative church. The old wooden articular church was declining and dangerous, especially because of static issues.


That is why the church delegation visited Teofil von Hansen, the architect from Denmark, at that time the chief provincial architect and professor of architecture at the Academy of Sciences in Vienna. Hansen gave them his own blueprints. As the tradition says, this project was originally intended for the Orient.

The project was interesting for its uniqueness. It was not meant to have a uniform building style, but in the eclectic style, the structure should contain Byzantine, Romanesque, Renaissance, Moorish and also oriental elements. It is said that the Hansen gift was conditional upon realization of the church, what miserly Spiš people accepted with joy.


Groundbreaking on the land that Town Hall of Kežmarok donated to the Evangelical Church was held in 1872. This place was formerly a moat of Kežmarok fortification. The base stone was laid in the following year. The work continued very quickly. In 1880, the church was completely roofed. The lack of finances interrupted the construction for eleven years. Therefore, the church was finished and consecrated on the 2nd of December 1894. The money to complete the church was searched all over Central Europe. For this purpose, the local priest Stephen Linberger created a "startup program". He issued a book about the church, so the believers could reserve the best seats in the benches by purchasing it.


The work on the building of the church was directed by Viktor Lazary - builder from Kezmarok.

Compare to the original plans, the construction was extended for 10 meters and one window field.

The entire church has 80 meters (262.5 feet) long and 20 meters (65.6 feet) width. The height of cupola is 33 meters (108.3 feet) and height of tower with bells is 42 meters (137.8 feet).

The building attracts everyone by its appearance, which is similar to synagogue or mosque. Its red-green coloration is also very untraditional. The Church is one-naved and altar space is elevated to first-floor level. In the nave, semi-circular vaults divide the ceiling, which is decorated by arabesque pattern. Also, the Stars of David decorate high side windows. The main entrance, built on the Romanesque style, is unusually located on the east side until the altar is on the west side. However, probably the construction was turned 180 degrees - otherwise, the main entrance would not lead from the square but from farms and barns. On the altar is a wooden statue of the resurrected Christ with the cross. Similarly, scaled sculptures are also on the baldachins of the pulpits. 


The church was built with an emphasis on symmetry. That is why it has two pulpits and two rows of benches. Men sat on the left side and women on the right side Together with one choir, the church has a capacity of 900 seats. On the choir, which is supported by Neo-Romanian columns made of black Turkish marble, is an organ with 30 stops (stop = type of set of organ pipes) and 2 manuals (manual = a keyboard to be played by the hands) made by Rieger in 1894.

In 1909, the mausoleum of Emeric Thököly (1657-1705), a native of Kežmarok and the castle owner, the head of the anti-emperor uprising of the Hungarian nobility and a fighter for religious freedom, was built to the church. After defeating the uprising, Thököly and his companions retreated to Turkey to Izmid, where he died. In 1906, his remains were transferred to Kezmarok. The entrance to the mausoleum resembles a section of Kežmarok castle with renaissance attics, in which Thököly was born. Over the door is the coat of arms of the Thököly family and on the sides are figures of the rebel Kuruc warriors. In the mausoleum, there is a sarcophagus with the body remains of Thököly, the original tombstone from Izmid and a new tombstone with the relief of Thököly - the work of Barnabas Holló. On the left side of the church, in the front of the mausoleum is a wooden wall memorial to Kežmarok - evangelicals, who died during World War I, which was made in the shape of the entrance to the mausoleum. In the center of the memorial is a picture of a soldier painted by Elemír Kőszeghy - Winkler in 1925.

The high tower, in which are three bells placed, is connected by a staircase. The bells were made by a German foundry company in Bochum and imported to Kezmarok on 24th November 1893.

Emeric Thököly

Emeric Thököly

Emeric Thököly (1657 - 1705) played an important role not only in the history of Kezmarok but also in the progress of the Hungarian nobility uprising against the Habsburgs. Thanks to his rebellion, in 1681, the Emperor convened a congress to Sopron, which resulted in two articles concerning the Protestants. These articles laid down the conditions for the construction of "articular" temples and the return of churches. 

Emeric Thököly de Késmárk was born on September 25, 1657, in Kežmarok Castle. His father was Stephen II. Thököly and mother Mary Gyulaffy. He had five siblings. Adam and Stephen died in childhood. His sisters were married to important noblemen: Katarína (1655-1701) was married
to Franz Esterházy, Mária (* 1656) was married to Stephen Nádazdy and Eva (1659-1716) was married to Paul Esterházy - palatine and the first sovereign prince of the Esterházy family.

Thököly family was the most famous owner of the castle manor. Four generations of Thökölys lived in Kežmarok between 1579 – 1684: Sebastian, Stephen I., Stephen II. and Emeric.

Stephen II. (1623-1670) gained the castle after the Stephen I. death, who was buried with his father in the family tomb in the St. Cross church (at that time belonged to Protestants). His mother was Katarina Thurzó (one of the seven daughters of the Palatine George Thurzó). In 1653, after the death of the Palatine, Stephen II.

became a director of Thurzó - Thököly estate in Orava.


When Emeric was two years old, his mother died as 22 years old. In 1667 young Emeric began to study at the Evangelical College in Prešov. His father Stephen II. the director of Orava castle was involved to the Wesseleny anti-Habsburg conspiracy. In December 1670, Emperor Leopold I. issued an order to confiscate his property.  Stephen Thököly was defending The Orava castle until his death (1670), after that the Habsburg army gained the castle. Thököly's estates, including the Orava properties, devolved to state.

His only son Emeric fled from the castle as a 13 years old boy. According to the legend, he left the castle by the secret passageway and misguided the pursuers with his horse, that had horseshoes in the opposite direction. After the escape from the besieged Orava Castle, he retreated to Transylvania - the centrum of anti-empire uprisings. In 1678 he became a commander of the next uprising of the Hungarian nobility and with his troops, he successfully entered Hungary.

The 17th century and the beginning of the 18th century were marked by the constant uprisings of the Hungarian nobility.  There were several reasons for the uprising: the dissatisfaction of the Hungarian nobility, who wanted to take a part in ruling the country and the Emperor - but he did not respect their requests. The counter-reformation of the Habsburg family against the Protestant churches was evident during the whole period. Since the majority of Slovakia was Protestant, the people fought against these decisions. The living standards of the people had been decreasing more and more - the towns and villages had to pay huge taxes to the imperial court and maintain the imperial army.  The south of Slovakia was occupied by the Turks and the Habsburgs cannot deal with this situation.

Rebel soldiers were called Kuruci. The origin of the name "kuruc" is explained in two ways.  It can be an anagram from the Latin word "crux", which means a "cross" – as a reference to the ancient mercenaries - crusaders. The second option speaks about a mocking anagram “Kruzitürken”, which means Christian Turks.

Emeric Thököly was initially successful - he occupied the whole Slovakia. After these successes of the insurgents, in 1681, Emperor Leopold was forced to convene a congress of Hungarian nobility to Sopron, which enacted religious freedom and allowed the Protestants to build churches and schools under certain conditions. At the same time, the rights of the Hungarian nobility and the Palatine office (Palatine was the representative of the king in Hungary, elected by the Hungarian Congress) were renewed.

Thököly sa ako jeho predchodcovia taktiež spojil s Turkami, ktorí súčasne bojovali proti Habsburgovcom. Turci ho dokonca roku 1682 korunovali za kráľa Horného Uhorska (Slovenska), sultán poslal Imrichovi symboly kráľovskej moci – vazalskú korunu, kráľovský plášť, meč, budzogáň a zástavu – každý symbol mu odovzdal iný turecký paša. Imrich sa však kráľom nikdy netituloval – podpisoval sa “len” ako sedmohradské knieža.

Keď sa kurucké vojská priblížili na Spiš, Kežmarčania boli v rozpakoch. Drvivú väčšinu obyvateľstva tvorili protestanti, nemali v láske rakúskeho cisára, lenže veliteľ povstalcov bol z rodu Thököly, a tých tiež nemali radi...

V auguste 1678 vstúpili kuruci do Kežmarku. Hneď vrátili protestantom odňaté kostoly, fary, školy. No počiatočná radosť mesta rýchlo ustúpila – kuruci práve tak isto plienili a rabovali ako cisárski žoldnieri a vôbec im nezáležalo na tom, že Kežmarok je rodisko ich najvyššieho veliteľa, ba možno mnohí o tom ani nevedeli. Až v roku 1682 dáva Imrich Thököly Kežmarku ochranný list, v ktorom zakazuje všetkým svojim vojakom akokoľvek mesto obťažovať.

Knieža si urobilo z kežmarského hradu prepychové sídlo, hoci sa tam takmer vôbec nezdržiavalo. Do Kežmarku chodilo aj so svojou manželkou Ilonou Zrínyi (bola od Imricha o 14 rokov staršia) a nevlastným synom Františkom Rákóczim II.

Hviezda Thökölyho však tiež nesvietila dlho – definitívne zhasla v bitke pod Viedňou roku 1683, kde cisár

s pomocou Poliakov porazil spojené kurucko – turecké vojská. Na Spiš prichádzajú cisárske vojská, vzdáva sa im aj Kežmarok a skladá prísahu vernosti cisárovi. Hoci v marci 1684 Thököly poslednýkrát navštevuje  Kežmarok,

v apríli ho definitívne obsadia cisárske vojská.

Napokon bol Imrich nútený uchýliť sa k svojim bývalým spojencom Turkom. Odišiel s manželkou i najbližšími spolubojovníkmi do Turecka, kde v meste Izmid aj zomrel. Po 201 rokoch boli jeho pozostatky prevezené

do Kežmarku.


J.S.Bach - Jesu meine Freude - BWV 610doc. Mgr. art. Anna Predmerská-Zúriková
J.S.Bach - O Mensch, bewein' dein' Sünde gross - BWV 622doc. Mgr. art. Anna Predmerská-Zúriková
J.Zimmer - Prelúdium a dvojitá fúga cis-moldoc. Mgr. art. Anna Predmerská-Zúriková

Po dokončení monumentálnej stavby nového evanjelického kostola v Kežmarku, ktorý bol posvätený 2. decembra 1894 na 1. nedeľu adventnú, postavila organárska firma Rieger z Krnova (Jägerndorf) dvojmanuálový organ

s 30 registrami, v štýle zvukovosti hudobného romantizmu.

23. decembra 1893 obdržal dozorca cirkevného zboru Pavol Keler potvrdenie objednávky od firmy Rieger

na základe ponuky vypracovanej 26. septembra toho istého roku, ktorá obsahovala popis jednotlivých súčastí organu a vyčíslenie nákladov súvisiacich s prácou a obstarávaním materiálu. Pôvodne do organovej skrine, ktorú rovnako ako kostol projektoval Teofil Hansen, hlavný krajinský architekt a profesor architektúry na Akadémii vied a umení vo Viedni, navrhla firma Rieger 50-registrový trojmanuálový organ. Keďže cirkevný zbor s veľkými finančnými ťažkosťami a 11-ročnou prestávkou ledva dostaval kostol, nemohol si dovoliť objednať takú finančne náročnú stavbu nového organu. 

Keby sa bol prijal pôvodný návrh s 50-registrovou dispozíciou, v Kežmarku by dnes stál najväčší organ

na Slovensku s mechanickou traktúrou a kuželkovými vzdušnicami. Skutočnosť, že finančných prostriedkov

na stavbu organu nebolo dostatok, dokladá korešpondencia s firmou Rieger počas stavby tohto nástroja, zachovaná v archíve cirkevného zboru. Z nej sa dozvedáme, že prospektové píšťaly mali byť zhotovené z cínu. Keďže ich dĺžka dosahuje 5 metrov, na výrobu bolo potrebné zakúpiť až 150 kg cínu. Aby sa náklady nezvýšili,

po dohode s cirkevným zborom píšťaly sa vyrobili zo zinku a obtiahli tenkým plášťom cínu.

Manuálová dispozícia bola oproti pôvodnému návrhu firmy Rieger tiež pozmenená. Cirkevný zbor požadoval Hohlflöte 8’ z druhého manuálu presunúť do prvého namiesto registra Flauta traversa 4’ a register Flute Harmonique 8’ presunúť do druhého manuálu. Do posledných detailov žiadali zhotoviť organovú skriňu podľa Hansenovho plánu s použitím dobrého a zdravého materiálu. Odo dňa prevzatia organu mala plynúť päťročná záruka na výrobu všetkých častí tohto nástroja. Oproti tomu cirkevný zbor sa zaručil, že za zhotovené dielo zaplatí firme Rieger 8.100,- rakúskych guldenov, a to v nasledovných splátkach: 2.400,- pri objednaní organu, 4.900,-

pri jeho odovzdaní a 810,- jeden rok po prevzatí. Táto suma zahŕňala vyrobenie a ukotvenie všetkých organových častí, ich transport na železničnú stanicu v Kežmarku, cestovné náklady a diéty montérov. Okrem toho si cirkevný zbor počas stavby nárokoval právo kontroly, ku ktorej prizýval rôznych znalcov a kvalitu použitého materiálu dával overovať v štátnom ústave.

Organ bol postavený a odovzdaný do užívania 20. júna 1894 pod opusovým číslom 434. V katalógu firmy je však vedený pod nesprávnym číslom 437. Má mechanické traktúry a kuželkové vzdušnice. Patrí k najväčším dvojmanuálovým organom, ktoré postavila firma Rieger na Slovensku do konca 19. storočia, teda v období,

keď mechanické traktúry a kuželkové vzdušnice predstavovali v organoch firmy Rieger takmer výlučne používané riešenie. Je zaujímavé, že ani jeden manuál nebol postavený do žalúziovej skrine, s ktorými viaceré organárske firmy v tej dobe žali veľké úspechy. Rozsahy manuálov a pedálu predstavujú pre tú dobu štandard

v Rakúsko-Uhorsku. Nástroj je kvôli ťažšiemu chodu hracích traktúr vybavený len manuálovou a pedálovou spojkou. Pevné kombinácie (I.manuál: Mezzo-Forte, Forte, Forte volles Werk, Fortissimo volls Werk; II. manuál: Mezzo-Forte, Forte) sa ovládajú kovovými šľapkami nad pedálovou klaviatúrou. Organ má aj registrové crescendo v podobe úzkeho kovového valca. 

Zariadenie organu je rozmiestnené v troch úrovniach. Vpravo, v spodnej časti organovej skrine, sa nachádza plavákový zásobný mech, v strednej časti registrové a tónové tiahla a vľavo elektrické dúchadlo (čerpadlo vzduchu). Na úrovni prospektových píšťal sa nachádzajú vzdušnice. Vľavo je to vzdušnica časti registrov I. manuálu (Principál 16’, Principál 8’, Gamba 8’, Fugara 8’, Spitzflöte 8’, Hohlflöte 8’, Burdon 16’), v strede vzdušnica II. manuálu a vpravo pedálová vzdušnica. Tretiu úroveň tvorí druhá vzdušnica I. manuálu (Mxtur 6 fach, Cornett 3-5 fach, Octave 4’, Fugara 4’, Rohrflöte 4’).

Píšťaly stoja na vzdušniciach chromaticky. Sú z kvalitného materiálu - veľké píšťaly zo zinkového plechu, ostatné zo zliatiny cínu a olova podľa charakteru registra. Prospekt organu vypĺňa 55 píšťal z tćhto registrov: Principal 16’ (20 píšťal), Principal 8’ (11 píšťal), Gaigen-Principal 8’ (12 píšťal) a Principal-bass 16’ (12 píšťal).

V organe sa nachádza spolu 1869 píšťal. Výška ladenia je a1 = 435 Hz pri 15° C.

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