POPRAD is the main "entrance gate" to the mountain range of the High Tatras and the centre of the rapidly developing region.
POPRAD (population 54,621) lies south-east of the Popradská kotlina basin on both sides of the river Poprad. Annually thousands of tourists of Slovakia and from abroad pour in through the local airport, railways and roads to continue to Starý Smokovec or other Tatra communities.
The present name of Poprad appears in the oldest known act of 1256. Initially Poprad did not develop as quickly as the neighbouring Veľká and Spišská Sobota communities. Only in the 18th century did Poprad economically catch up with its contemporary towns. The principal driving force of the dynamic development of the town was finally the Košice-Bohumín railway track built in 1871.
The growing interest of the tourists in the High Tatras geared up intense cultural and social life in the city. Continuously growing, Poprad first swallowed its greatest rivals Spišská Sobota and Veľká. Poprad today with its large population is the largest city in the sub Tatra region, ranking tenth in the national scale. The town of Poprad is made up of the following municipalities: Poprad, Spiššká sobota, Veľká, Matejovce, Stráže pod Tatrami and Kvetnica.
The historical centre of Poprad is concentrated into the space around the spindle-shaped square Námestie sv. Egídia. The square is rimmed by a row of prevailingly Baroque and Classicist burgher houses from the 18th and 19th centuries. The city has an Early-Gothic Roman-Catholic church of St. Egidius from the late 13th century. Visitors to Poprad should not forget to visit the Podtatranské múzeum which offers an abundant information about the region. The collections of the Tatra Gallery include precious works of art created by leading Slovak and foreign painters, sculptors and designers. It organizes challenging projects and presentations of contemporary art in the buidling of its "old power plant".
Spišská Sobota was for centuries the wealthiest of the five Upper Spiš towns. From 1945 it has represented one of the municipal parts of large Poprad. Spišská Sobota represents one of the best preserved medieval urban units in Slovakia declared in 1953 a Town Monument Reserve.
source: Vydavateľstvo Dajama