Spiš (Hungarian: Szepes, German: Zips) is a historic region in north-east Slovakia near the Polish border. A small portion of the historic Hungarian Szepes county is on the Polish side.
Towns and cities
Spišská Nová Ves
- Spišské Podhradie with the nearby Spiš Castle - one of the largest castles in Europe, which for many centuries was the major centre of power in the region.
- Spišská Kapitula - a fortified monastery
- the Gothic Church at Zehra
- all of which are on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
- The High Tatra mountains.
Whilst hitorically the major languages of the region were Hungarian and German, today Slovak is spoken throughout. The Spis region has a notable presence of minorities: Gypsies, Rusyn-Ukrainians, and Gorals. These often keep their languages and traditions alive in their own separate villages. Until the Second World War there were also large German and Jewish populations; the latter were deported to their deaths in German camps by the Slovak puppet government during World War II, (mostly by train from Poprad station), and the Germans were largely expelled after the war.
Poprad is the biggest city in Spiš . It has its own airport (the most elevated one in Europe) as well as a railway station. Trains connect Poprad with Bratislava in the west as well as with Košice in the east.