The beginnings of the temple date back to the 13th century. The patronage of the temple dates from this period, as well. Around 1206, Cistercian monks from Koprzywnica, Poland, settled here and founded a monastery dedicated to St. Giles. Royal deed from 1247, by which King Béla IV confirmed the Order of Cistercians their large pieces of land in the vicinity of Bardejov (“Terra Bardfa”), contains the first mention of the existence of a church in this area. However, due to sudden changes, the Cistercians left this place in the second half of the 13th century (around 1271). Construction of the church began in the mid-14th century and the construction of the basilica was completed in 1415. Over the next centuries, the church was damaged by fires, earthquakes and bombing in 1944. The temple has undergone many reconstructions. In 1990, both church bells – Urban and Ján – broke and were replaced by the bell Joseph, when the church was declared to be Basilica Minor.
The most valuable exhibits include: Statue of St. Giles from the original main altar, Altar cabinet of the Altar of St. Elizabeth of Hungary or Altar of the Nativity (1480-1490), Altar of the Crucifixion with painting – Veraikon, cast bronze baptistery or Altar of Virgin Mary, St. Erasmus of Formia and St. Nicholas
The interior of the church is decorated with a unique set of eleven late Gothic winged altars from years 1460-1520. The most valuable is the altar of the Nativity (around the years 1480 to 1490).
On January 4, 2001, the personal consent of Pope John Paul II was granted for the promotion of the Church of St. Giles to a smaller basilica. Consent was given by the Apostolic Breve (short letter). The apostolic breve was sent to the archbishop’s manor on behalf of the Holy Father by His Eminence Cardinal Angelus Sodano.