CYCLE ARTICLES ABOUT SLOVAKIA
Kosice is the administrative center of western Slovakia and it is the second biggest city in this country. It has been a crossroads of trade routes. The city is located at the distance of 400 km to the east from Bratislava. Kosice is situated in the western part of the valley Kosicka near the river Hornad. The city has population of 242 thousand people. Local infrastructure is well-developed and includes engineering, metallurgy of ferrous metals, food industry, timber manufacturing industry, and sewing industry.
Climatehere is favorable, mild and ensures comfortable living conditions. Air temperature ranges from 0 to plus 5°C even in the harshest winters, and in summer period temperature of air keeps about 25°C above zero.
History of the City
Kosicecan be proud of its old and eventful historical life. Each street of the city has a visible history's imprint in its architecture. First written records of the city in chronicles date back to the year 1230; however, it is mentioned under another name – Villa Kassa. Later on the city was mentioned in Latin documents and chronicles as Kassovia, the Hungarians would write it as Kassa, the Germans – as Kashau, and the Slovaks started calling it Kosice. In 1342 Kosice was a privileged city of the king’s family. On the 7th of May 1369, Hungarian King KarlRobert I signed a documentgiving the city a right to have its own coat of arms.That was a sign of gratitude to the city for its help in the battle. There was no other European city at that time which meant that Kosice got the title of the first European city having a special distinguishing sign – the coat of arms. Nowadays, this big day is honored as the day of this city and its celebration is always held on a grand scale and with faery. The citysymbol is the bronze coat of arms that decorates the central street of Kosice and attracts a number of tourists.
Period after World War II is considered to be a demographic boom of the city. The population increased more than three times, as developing and prosperous city required hands. Lots of immigrants from different corners of the country are among them. They constructed residential areas and ensured even more rapid development of the city industry.
After the Habsburg dynasty fell down in 1918, Kosice was included to the Czechoslovak Republic. Under the influence of Miklos Horthy, 20 year later the city was given back in the possession of Hungary. However, in 6 years, namely in 1945, when the army of Nazi German was defeated, the city was returned to the Czechoslovak Republic.
Notwithstanding the fact that Kosice was under the reign of Hungary not for long, it left a significant mark both in history and culture. It should be mentioned that a tenth of the citizens are ethnic Hungarians. So there is no surprise that national cuisine and way of life resemble Hungarian so much.
Places of Interest
As soon as 50s came, historical part of the city was significantly reconstructed. This opened magnificence of architecture that the city received from its ancestors. Almost in the heart of the city, in it center, main part of historical Kosice is collected and protected by fortress bastilles.
Main street of Kosice is an endless succession of picturesque castles erected by Hungarian noble men. Buildings here are rather interesting from the architectural point of view: only a narrow façade is opened from the street. It is surrounded with a small gate in order to leave space for a carriage to go by. However, having passed the gate, you will see a really spacious inner yard. Such fake castles only seem to be very modest in size. Deep into the street, they have length of a city block.
St. Elisabeth (Erzsebet) Cathedral
Catholic cathedral of Saint Elisabeth is named the most beautiful and majestic building among all religious constructions. The church is 60 m long and 36 m wide. Northern tower of this cathedral is its central steeple peeping over for 59 m. An old church was previously built on the place of the modern cathedral. The ancient church was built in the XI century and was named in honor of Saint Nikolas (patron saint of the city). It was constructed in the Roman style, typical for those times. In the 40s of the XIII century German colonists settled in the city and named Saint Elisabeth to be the city patroness. The church was reconstructed and its architectural style was changed into a Gothic one. It was rededicated and named in honor of St. Elisabeth. The past of this church was reminded only by the small towers that were destroyed by fire in the XIV century. After that the church lost its identity. Only in the 80s of the XIX century massive reconstruction works were started. They lasted for more than a hundred years and succeeded to recreate initial church based on drawings and sketches. In 2009 the crypt of Prince Rakoszi was reconstructed.
Chapel of Saint Michael
Chapel of Saint Michael is situated close to St. Elisabeth Cathedral. It was constructed in the XIV century as a small cemetery chapel and it was named in honor of Saint Michael. There was an ossarium in its underfloor. It is a reposing place for remains of bones dug out of the graves of citizens in order to give place to their descendants. That was also the place whererequiems were serviced. In the XV century the chapel was reconstructed, an addition was built, but in 500 years it was dismantled. In order to save tombstones from being robbed, they were walled up in the chapel. These tombstones are dated XIV-XVIII century. An interesting fact is that when Hungarians and Germans attended Saint Elisabeth Cathedral, Slovaks held services in Saint Michael Chapel. The chapel is constructed in the Gothic style. Kosice coat of arms is placed above its entrance. The altar of this chapel is decorated with images of Archangel Michael fighting a dragon (which symbolizes malign forces and spirits). Engraving on the stone “Ecco Homo” attracts a great tourists’ attention to the chapel, which is an image of Jesus Christ wearing crown of thorns, and walls of the chapel are decorated with medieval paintings.
It is worth mentioning that since the XVIII century people are not buried at the cemetery near the chapel and nowadays it is a well-kept park.
Jakab palace (Jakabovpalac) was constructed in the XIX century, namely its last year. It is situated in a cozy part. However, in the year 1968 these comfort and peace were disturbed by a modern road. Luckily, architect Peter Jakab who toiled over this project, will not see such a blasphemy. Peter Jakab lived in this palace till his death. After the death of this architect (in 1908), his descendants sold the palace to Hugo Barkani. After World War II the palace came in possession of the Czechoslovak Republic. Later on the palace became the President’s residence and then the British Council occupied the building. Nowadays, the palace is used for holding official events, though offspring of Jakab and Bakarni insist on returning their rights on the palace.
Among local people, the palace is called “Idyllic Mill”, though it has nothing to do with the mill pond that used to be on this place. It is constructed in the eclectic style with elements of gothic. Due to work of wonderful architect Peter Jakab, the city has in its gold reserve of sights this miraculous Jakab Palace.
There is an Opera Theater not far from Saint Elisabeth cathedral which was built in the XIX century. The building is rather small in size but it has surprising resemblance to Wien Opera House, like a miniature copy.
A musical fountain is located between the theater and the cathedral. Local people say that time seem to stop near the fountain and you can spend the whole day here without even noticing as time flies. Looking at silver water strings, you get an impression that invisible director is directing them. The dancing fountain is another pride of Kosice.
Plague Column is 14m high. It was constructed in honor of Blessed Virgin Mary. It was a custom at those times to build similar monuments to patron saints, so they would protect the city against misfortunes, miseries, wars, plague, famine and disasters.
Dominican church is located not far from the cultural heart of the city. It was constructed in 1290 on the square, having the same name, and is considered to be the oldest building in the city. The church is constructed in the style, typical for this region, which is the Roman one. For many years, the building had been reconstructed and modernized many times, and as a result by the beginning of the XVIII century it gained a baroque appearance that is saved till nowadays. Interior of the church is adorned with statues of saints, honored by Catholics: Saint Prophet Dominic, FomaAkvinsky, Catherine of Siena, Margaret of Hungary.
The East Slovak museum was opened in 1872. It is one of the oldest museums not only in Kosice, but in Slovakia as well. The building, hosting this museum nowadays, was constructed in neo-renaissance style in the XX century. Each exhibit will tell you about rich history of Kosice. “Golden reserve” of the city is held in this museum, which is 11-kilogram bar of gold.
Chapel of Saint Rosalie
This chapel was constructed near the cemetery in 1785. It was built in honor of plague victims of 1710-1711. Construction of the chapel-memorial was carried out by Joseph Stolzman. This is a shy, small building with a lantern on the roof. Territory of the chapel is decorated with the statue of Saint Rosalie her face slapped on it.
Bastion of Weeping
This building has some architectural peculiarities. This semispherical building a little resembles the city fortress. Bastion of Weeping was founded in the year 1500 and has been saved in perfect condition till nowadays.
There are a lot of bars, cinemas, and disco in Kosice. You also have a chance to order a tour to the KrasnaHorka Castle, located in 70km from the city. Medical exhibitions of world significance are annually held in Kosice.