Poprad, the third biggest city of East Slovakia, (the 10th biggest city of Slovakia), is located on the 49° of the northern latitude and 20° of the eastern longitude. City of Poprad spreads in an extensive, high-altitude lowland of the same name, on both banks of the Poprad River. It’s cadastre is of an irregular, star-like shape, covering an area of 63.05 km2. The massifs of the High Tatras and Belianske Tatras are rising to the north of the city, the range of Levočské pohorie is located in the east, in the south there are the hills of Kozie chrbty, and the hills of Štrba Water Divide extend in the west. The High Tatras mountain range exceeds the Poprad Lowland by 2000 metres. Relative vicinity of their main ridge makes a scenic coulisse of the city. The city is surrounded with agricultural lands turning into continuous forest complexes. There, in the picturesque rural areas of the High Tatras, the history of so called Greater Poprad commenced in 1946, which became known among the natives as well as internationally as the gate to the smallest European mountains of an alpine character.
The city’s social-economic-geographic significance derives from it‘s advantageous transportation position on the E50 international highway, and on the main Košice-Bratislava railway route with connection to the Czech Republic and Ukraine, as well as air transportation provided by the international airport of Poprad Tatry (ranked with the highest situated international airports in Europe – 718 metres above sea).
As for it‘s climatic conditions, Poprad has moderate climate with average number of summer days per year of less than 5° (maximum temperature of 25 ° and more). The city’s area is ranked with the climatic zone that ranges between mild dry and wet lowland climate, with high rate of temperature inversion where average January temperature ranges between -3.5° to 6° Centigrade, July temperatures reach the values of between 16° and 17° Centigrade, and total yearly precipitation ranges between 600 – 800 mm. The climate is rather influenced by the adjoining region of High Tatras which belongs to the zone of cold climate. Poprad is most cloudy during winter – approximately 67%, but cloudiness is rising already in November due to frequent fog or clouds. Cloudiness is least in end summer (August 55 %, beginning of autumn 51%). Poprad has mostly western and south-western winds. Northern winds and north-western winds are rarest. The strongest winds blow throughout December to March. From the hydrological point of view, most of Poprad area lies in the Poprad River shed, which drains waters via Dunajec River to the Visla River and the Baltic Sea. Poprad River has an average flow in Matejovce of 3.31 m3/s.
The real history of Poprad started in the ancient times. Actually, life has not stopped in this area ever since. Working tools, ceramics, weapons – all of these testify of the fact that the Poprad area and it‘s vicinity were engaged in rush business activities thousand of years before the Christ’s birth, which did not stop upon turns of millennia.
Poprad, whose first written mention dates back to 1256, was for 690 years, i.e. throughout the whole Middle Ages and Modern Age (until 1946) only one of the municipalities which are currently a part of the city with 53 thousand inhabitants. Other villages, currently incorporated within it as it‘s city district, included Matejovce (1251), Spišská Sobota (1256), Veľká (1268), and Stráže pod Tatrami (1276). Among those little cityships the most viable was Spišská Sobota, which retained its leading position till as late as the end of the 19th century. The Government Decree No. 257/1922 of January 1, 1923, established the municipality of Greater Poprad with first common Municipal Office. On January 1, 1991, by the Act No. 369/1990 Zb. /Coll./ the city gained the public personality status of a self-governing territorial unit. In contrast to the situation during the totalitarian regime, the city gained full autonomy and now govern their affairs through elected bodies independent of government or non-government bodies.