A day trip to Prešov

2023-12-25T16:00:03

Christmas this year doesn't treat us very well. It all started with my mom getting sick last Tuesday. I have never seen her this sick before. She was so dizzy that she could barely get out of the bed. She hasn't recovered fully yet and spends most of the time in bed even today. We did all the Christmas preparation with my husband until he caught some virus when we were shopping on Friday. He had high fever again and spent most of the time in bed. Yesterday, we had to pick my sister from Prešov as she was working until lunchtime.

I was not sure how we would do it, but in the end we managed. My brother was driving and as he isn't so experienced in driving he kept the temperature down and it was way too cold inside of the car, all because he had the feeling that the windows were getting foggy. Well, I didn't see any fog, but I got sick there instead. He also used the cleaning liquid on the windshield as many times during 100 km as I did in 8 years of owning a car. I was already feeling a bit down when we came to Prešov, but I managed to take a walk in the old town while we were waiting for my sister to finish her work. It all got much worse on the way back home, and now I'm fighting with the fever as well. I've been sleeping all day today, but I've pushed myself a bit and decided to get up and share our walk from yesterday with you.

Let's do it before I return to bed! 😊

Prešov is a charming city in the east of Slovakia. I know it quite well as I was working for a NGO based there when I was at school. My sister lives in Prešov now, so I keep returning there regularly.

In Slovakia, we celebrate Christmas on the 24th, and therefore the city was empty as people were at home preparing for the Christmas Eve.

We started our walk in the park which was decorated with Christmas trees prepared by kids from local schools. They were simple and elegant, and we were actually surprised to see that they were decorated by kids. I remember our Christmas tree from my childhood was full of colours and ornaments that didn't go together, but my mom put everything that we wanted on the tree just to please us.

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I must admit that I haven't visited The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist before. It's a beautiful building with delicately decorated façade that is located in the heart of the old town. It's a Greek-Catholic church, and this is the reason why I haven't visited it before, but this time I've tried if the door was open out of curiosity. And it was! We didn't hesitate and went inside.

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It was awkward when we entered the church as there were some people greeting visitors right behind the entrance. We understood that they were preparing for the service, but one of them saw us and asked us if we were there for the service. We told him that we would like to see the church and he offered to give us a tour! I don't know if he was a priest, but he knew so much about history of the cathedral. He noticed that my husband doesn't look local and dismissed myself and my future brother in law completely. He was talking directly to my husband with his broken English, but managed to explain everything. In the end, he even shook his hand and only said bye to me and my brother in law. I can't say that I wasn't offended at all...

It dates back to the 15th century when it served as a hospital church, then it changed to the Greek-Catholic church and since 1818 it has been a cathedral. The Greek-Catholic church belongs to Vatican, but they do their service based on the traditions from the 10th century. That guy told us that there is an agreement between the Greek-Catholic church and Vatican that they will let them celebrate their service in the old way without any intervention.

The centrepiece is a stunning large iconostas. The priest faces the iconostas instead of the people during the service.

Our 'guide' wanted to tell us much more, but it was only a couple of minutes before the service, so he kindly asked us to either sit down or leave. We didn't have much time, so we decided to leave...

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I have noticed that very often we forget to look up and miss so many beautiful details. When you walk in front of this Court building you don't notice its intricate façade. The building dates back to the 17th century and the façade shows various religious happenings. It was about to fall in decay when it was luckily renovated at the beginning of this century. It took many years and a lot of resources to finish the work, but it was worth it.

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There are many architectonical gems in the old town...

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This horse is constructed out of 700 horseshoes. Its name is Premo which is the abbreviation of Prešovký Morgan - the name of the horse of the former mayor. It is an important symbol of the city as the locals are also called 'Koňare' which comes from kôň - the slovak name for a horse.

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Since it was early in the day, the decoration was not lit up, but it was still pretty...

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The heart of the old town is basically two long streets with a park and a church in the middle of the square. There is only a small pedestrian area and most of the old town can be approached by car.

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The Neptune fountain used to be one of the 10 main water sources in the city before the construction of the water supply system. Today, it is the only one remaining. It was built to express the gratitude by the first Jew to be allowed to live in the city in the 18th century.

In summer, it is still a beautiful fountain and now it serves as Advent wreath.

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It's a pity that the Christmas lights were not on, but I hope to visit Prešov before end of the year again when we will all be healthy again 😊

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Thank you for joining us on our walk, but now it's time to go back to bed for me...

See you next time! And Merry Christmas to those who celebrate!

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