Poprad (Slovak pronunciation: [ˈpɔpɾat]; German: Deutschendorf) is a city in northern Slovakia at the foot of the High Tatra Mountains, famous for its picturesque historic centre and as a holiday resort. It is the biggest town of the Spiš region and the tenth largest city in Slovakia, with a population of approximately 50,000.
The Poprad-Tatry Airport is an international airport located just outside the city. Poprad is also the starting point of the Tatra Electric Railway (known in Slovak as Tatranská elektrická železnica), a set of special narrow-gauge trains (trams) connecting the resorts in the High Tatras with each other and with Poprad. Main line trains link Poprad to other destinations in Slovakia and beyond; in particular, there are through trains running from Poprad to Prague in the Czech Republic.
The territory was since the Migration Period inhabited by Slavic settlers. The first written record dates from March 16, 1256 in the deed of donation of the Hungarian King Bela IV. It was colonized in the 13th century by German settlers and became the largely German town Deutschendorf meaning 'Germans' village'. From 1412 to 1770, as one of the Spis towns, Poprad was pawned by the Kingdom of Hungary to the Kingdom of Poland, resulting in a strong Polish influence on the city's further development. In the 17th century, the number of Germans began to decline. In January 1919 this territory was placed under the control of Czechoslovakia.
Poprad itself was for 690 years (up until 1946) just one of several neighbouring settlements, which currently make up the modern city. The other parts of the current municipality are Matejovce (German: Matzdorf; Hungarian: Mateóc, first reference 1251), Spišská Sobota (German: Georgenberg; Hungarian: Szepesszombat, 1256), Veľká (German/Hungarian: Felka, 1268), and Stráže pod Tatrami (German: Michelsdorf; Hungarian: Strázsa, 1276). The most significant of these original towns was Georgenberg, now Spišská Sobota, which preserved its dominant position in the area until the late 19th century.
Poprad lies at an altitude of 672 metres (2,205 ft) above sea level and covers an area of 63 square kilometres (24.3 sq mi). It is located in northeastern Slovakia, about 110 kilometres (68 mi) from Košice and 330 kilometres (205 mi) from Bratislava (by road).
The historical centre is concentrated around the St. Egidius square (Námestie svätého Egídia), which is rimmed with houses predominantly from the 18th and 19th centuries. Churches in the city include the early-Gothic Catholic Church of St. Egidius from the late 13th century.
Another historical centre near Poprad is in Spišská Sobota, which was declared in 1953 to be a Town Monument Reserve. A significant landmark there is the Church of St. George, with five late-Gothic side altars and a main altar from the workshop of Master Paul of Levoča.
Modern places of interest include a new water park called AquaCity Poprad.
Between 2003 and 2014, the mayor of Poprad was Anton Danko (former international ice-hockey referee). In the November 2014 municipal elections, he lost to Jozef Švagerko (KDH – Christian democrats).
The city is divided into six boroughs for the purpose of municipal administrative division:
Poprad currently has one ice hockey club, HK Poprad. Lev Poprad was another ice hockey club in Poprad, who used to play in the KHL for one season but was moved to the Czech capital, Prague, in 2012. Despite successful 2013/2014 seasons, club has ended due to financial problems. There is a number of former and current ice hockey players in NHL who were born in Poprad.
There are many football stadiums in Poprad, recently the stadium by AquaCity Poprad was reconstructed.
The local women's basketball club is Basketbalová Akadémia Mládeže Poprad (BAMP). Their matches are played in Arena Poprad.
The city's system of primary education consists of 12 public schools, and one religious primary school, enrolling in total 5,464 pupils. Secondary education is represented by four grammar schools with 1,800 students, three specialized high schools with 1,566 students, and four vocational schools with 2,045 students (data as of 2007).
Aerial view of the city with the airport
Poprad is a gateway to the High Tatra mountain range, which is a popular tourist destination. The city lies on the main road (E 50) and railway connecting western and eastern Slovakia.