Bardejov is dominated by the monumental Church of St. Aegidius (Giles), mentioned for the first time in 1247. A three nave basilica with multiple chapels was completed in 1464. It hosts eleven precious Gothic winged altars with panel paintings. The central square (Slovak: Radničné námestie), which used to be the town’s medieval marketplace, is surrounded by well-preserved Gothic and Renaissance burghers’ houses as well as the basilica.
The territory of present-day Bardejov has attracted settlers since the Stone Age. However, the first written reference to the town dates back to the 1240s, when monks from Bardejov complained to King Béla IV about a violation of the town's borders by Prešov. By that time, the important church of Sv. Aegidius (St. Giles) had already been built. Heavily fortified in the 14th century, the town became a center of trade with Poland. More than 50 guilds controlled the flourishing economy. Bardejov gained the status of a royal town in 1376, later becoming a free royal town. The town’s golden age ended in the 16th century, when several wars, pandemics, and other disasters plagued the country.
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