The Spiš Chapter, being a Church's small town, is also known as "Little Vatican" in the region.
When viewed from the main tower of the Spiš Castle, a visitor cannot fail to notice an architecturally appealing complex of buildings in its immediate vicinity, enclosed by walls, located on a higher ground beyond the Spišské Podhradie village. The visitor is in fact looking at a unique Church town of the Spiš Chapter, which can be considered a sort of "Little Vatican".
Spišská Kapitula – the Spiš Chapter - is now a part of Spišské Podhradie, but had once been a separate municipality. Its existence is documented in writing as far back as in 1235. The Chapter used to be one of the centres of ecclesiastical education in the territory of present-day Slovakia.
The Spiš Chapter is visible on lowhill behind the town Spišské Podhradie
You may take part in divine service in the Spiš Chapter even today. Every Sunday at 7 am and 9 am in St. Martin Cathedral.
The central building of the Chapter is St. Martin Cathedral, which had initially served as the first Provostal church in the Royal territory. Originally a Romanesque church, it was rebuilt in the 15th century in the Gothic style. By extending the original building, quite a large presbytery emerged, and the building doubled in height. There are eight altars In the church, the Altar of the Virgin Mary Coronation is over 500 years old. An unusually secular wall painting from the year 1317 is highly interesting – the scene of the Coronation of King Charles Robert, who is being blessed by the Virgin Mary holding little Jesus.The Cathedral forms a sort of a centre of the complex, whose boundaries are set by the city walls with three entrances, and its typical feature is a lane of the canonical houses. The lane forms the axis of the whole church town and is its only street.
Spišská Kapitula - The Spiš Chapter
The existence of the Chapter underscores the historical significance of the entire site. As early as in the 11th century, chapels and a cemetery were situated on top of the Chapter hill, the place of today's Cathedral. The town had played an important role in the region since the beginning of the Church's life, until it became a bishopric at the end of the 18th century. In the early 19th century, a clerical seminary and the oldest Institute of Education in the historic Hungary were established here.
Not far from the Spiš Chapter, the remains of the Way of the Cross are located, which recalls a replica of the Jerusalem Way of the Cross.
In close proximity to the Chapter, in the locale of Pažica, the remains of the Way of the Cross may be found, built probably in the second half of the 17th century. This is probably one of the oldest Calvaries in this territory. The interesting thing is that this is a type of Calvario Jerusalem, with chapels arranged so that they are reminiscent of Jerusalem in the time of Jesus Christ. After subsequent interventions in the terrain and the buildings, that Spiš Jerusalem was discovered as late as in the year 2002.