The history of Presov goes back into the distant past. The area was populated since the stone age. This territory was inhabited by Slavonic settlers by the end of the 8th century. Our ancestors practiced agriculture, pasturage, handicrafts and metalworking. Originally an agricultural settlement developed in the 12th century into a settlement of craftsmen and traders.
Presov is mentioned for the first time in a historical document dating from 1247. The craftsmen traded their goods mainly in the town and its surroundings but some exported their goods to more distant regions. The first guilds appear in the 14thcentury. By 1256 there were nine of them. The merchants benefited from an advantageous position of the town. The second half of the 15th century and the whole of the 16th century was the period of the most remarkable prosperity of the town.
Two events were of far-reaching importance for Presov and other East Slovakian towns in the 16th century : religious reformation and Turkish expansion. The 17th century was characterized by decline caused by the unsettled situation in the state. The wave of anti Habsburg uprising in the 17th century, the epidemic of plague in 1710, and also the great fires of 1711 devastated the town.
From 1720’s an economic life was again being stabilized and the crafts and trade began to flourish. The second half of the 19th century is marked by economic stagnation and the gradual decline of crafts owing to competition with cheaper factory products. The most important facilities in the town were salt mines and saltworks and the mill in Velky Saris. Salt has been extracted near Presov since the very remote past, first from freely flowing streams, later by mining and, after the salt mines has been flooded in 1752, by pumping out the salt water and lettimg it evaporated in the saltworks.
Already in its feudal period Presov was an important cultural and educational center. It became the home of many outstanding architects, painters, writers and pedagogues. The visit of Comenius in the 17th century led to the adoption the progessive pedagogical methods at the local school.
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