Most beautiful jewels of Košice
Discover the fascinating highlights of Košice with a spirit of history and famous legends. Visit the places where life has pulsed since the city was established, learn about famous locals, the city’s patron, the place where the Košice government manifesto was drawn up, the local “radio”, the harp theatre or the manifestation of thankfulness of life. There will be no shortage of superlatives on this city walk. Duration of the tour is 1.5 hours.
From the Košice Visitor Centre you make your way firstly to the entrails of the city. The Dolná brána is so named for the underground museum complex with original gateway to the city and parts of the original town fortifications, which were established in the 2nd half of the 13th century. They were uncovered when the main street Hlavná street was being reconstructed in 1996. Today, thanks to its unique atmosphere the complex is now a place of exhibitions and the traditional Košice Wine Festival in September.
The name of this Košice native will mean nothing to many people, but we might recognise the names of his works from geography lessons. Just a short distance from the exit from the underground museum you can witness the statue of Košice-born engineer Béla Gerster – designer of well-known ship-ways, canals and railways, including the Panama Canal or the Corinth Canal.
Župný Dom (The Shire Hall)
One of the typical features of Košice palaces is the placement of a coat-of-arms on their main facing. The coat-of-arms of the former Abov-Turniansky territorial unit from 1558 adorns the Župný Dom building, which served from 1779 as a centre of the unit. Now a home to the East Slovak Gallery houses, in addition to premises for art expositions, an exquisite meeting room and the smallest public cinema in Košice.
As you come out of the Gallery, you enter into a small park. At the front there is a bronze statue of the Košice coat-of-arms – the oldest and first ever municipal coat-of-arms in Europe from 1369. The beautiful angel with heraldic attributes spreads out its angel wings and as the protector holds the Košice coat-of-arms in its hands.
St. Elisabeth Cathedral
The symbolism of the city’s patron is evident as soon as you visit St. Elisabeth Cathedral. Construction work on the Cathedral started around 1380. It is the furthest east western-style gothic cathedral in Europe, as well as the biggest temple of worship in Slovakia. It houses the fascinating Altar of St. Elisabeth, a rare gothic double spiral staircase – one of just five of its kind in Europe, the crypt of the leader of the biggest anti-Habsburg uprising in the former Kingdom of Hungary, Francis II Rákóczi, and also a sundial from 1477. The frescos and sculpting are the work of master Štefan, a local artist from the 15th century, which adorn its interior and exterior. Thanks to the fantastic view of the centre, climbing the 60-metre high northern tower is well worth the effort. As you come out of the Cathedral and have a good look at its front facade, maybe you can decipher the riddle as to why this Cathedral is unique to the world.
St. Michael Chapel
The chapel, which can be found a short distance from St. Elisabeth Cathedral, comes from the 14th century. It represents the culmination of the gothic period and is surprising by its stylish precision, intimacy and harmony. At one time it was surrounded by the city cemetery and contained an ossuary. This is why it is devoted to the escort of souls to the other side, Archangel Michael. His statue depicting the judging of the dead souls is placed above the entrance to the chapel
St. Urban’s Tower
The bell-tower that houses the so-called Urban bell blessed by St. Urban - patron saint of winemakers. It is unique also in the sense that under the porticos there is a lapidarian – gravestones, which are rare examples of Early Gothic to Baroque art. The 45-metre high tower also contains the only museum of wax figurines in Slovakia.
Park with musical fountain and carillon
Every hour on the hour the park resounds with distinctive carillon from the twenty two bells that have adorned the park since 1986. In the summer the singing fountain adds to the musical chorus, lighting up and shooting jets of water to the rhythm after music.
Taking a stroll around the fountain, you will come across the impressive entrance to the National Theatre building designed by architect Adolf Lang. The theatre put on its first performance back in 1899. In addition to the eclectic exterior with Neo-Baroque and Art Nouveau elements, visitors will be enthralled by the rippled interior in the shape of a harp, beautiful components of Art Nouveau and scenes on the ceiling from the plays of world-renowned playwright William Shakespeare, created by Peregrin von Gastgeb from Vienna.
Immaculata (Plague Column)
Right behind the theatre you can find the Plague Column of the Virgin Mary from 1723 (Immaculata). The column is situated in a small park and commemorates the gratitude to Mother Mary for an end to the plague epidemic from 1709 and 1710. It is a fine example of a Baroque sculpture surrounded by later sculptures of saints and angels. Legend has it that the bodily remains of St. Valentine are hidden under one of the columns.
Old Town Hall
The last stop on this tour takes in the historic town hall, which was built from 1779 to 1780 and has a distinct Košice coat-of-arms over the balcony. Inside we can find stunning halls and representational premises of the city mayor, with one of them containing an effigy to the first men of the city from 1982. Passing through the courtyard you will come to the former cinema Fórum/Slovan, the reconstructed covered hall of which now serves for concerts and theatrical performances. The Košice Visitor Centre is situated on the ground floor.
Entrances: St. Elisabeth's Cathedral
For information about price, please contact:
Košice Visitor Centre, Hlavná st. 59, Košice 040 01, T: +421 55 625 88 88, E: email@example.com
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