Top:St. Elisabeth Cathedral, Middle:Aerial view of Košice, Bottom left:Košice State theater (Státní divadlo Košice), Bottom middle:View of Saint Michael's Chapel and Hlavná Street, Bottom right:Statue of Andrassy
|Nickname: City of tolerance|
|Region||Košice Self-governing Region|
|Elevation||206 m (676 ft)|
|Area||242.768 km2 (93.733 sq mi)|
|- urban||1,776 km2 (686 sq mi)|
|- metro||2,709 km2 (1,046 sq mi)|
|Density||991 / km2 (2,567 / sq mi)|
|Mayor||Richard Raši (Smer - SD)|
|- summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|Postal code||040 00|
|Wikimedia Commons: Košice|
Košice (Slovak pronunciation: [ˈkɔʃɪt͡sɛ] ( ), German: Kaschau, Hungarian: Kassa, Hungarian pronunciation: [’kɒʃːɒ] ( )) is the biggest city in eastern Slovakia and in 2013 was the European Capital of Culture together with Marseille, France. It is situated on the river Hornád at the eastern reaches of the Slovak Ore Mountains, near the border with Hungary. With a population of approximately 240,000, Košice is the second largest city in Slovakia after the capital Bratislava.
Being the economic and cultural center of eastern Slovakia, Košice is the seat of the Košice Region and Košice Self-governing Region, the Slovak Constitutional Court, three universities, various dioceses, and many museums, galleries, and theaters. Košice is an important industrial center of Slovakia, and the U.S. Steel Košice steel mill is the largest employer in the city. The town has extensive railway connections and an international airport.
The city has a well-preserved historical center, which is the largest among Slovak towns. There are many heritage protected buildings in Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and Art Nouveau styles with Slovakia's largest church: the St. Elisabeth Cathedral. The long main street, rimmed with aristocratic palaces, Catholic churches, and townsfolk's houses, is a thriving pedestrian zone with many boutiques, cafés, and restaurants. The city is well known as the first settlement in Europe to be granted its own coat-of-arms.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 3 Geography
- 4 Demographics
- 5 Culture
- 6 Economy
- 7 Sights
- 8 Government
- 9 Education
- 10 Transport
- 11 International relations
- 12 Notable personalities
- 13 Panorama
- 14 See also
- 15 Notes
- 16 References
- 17 External links
The first written mention of the city was in 1230 as "Villa Cassa".[dead link] The Slovak name of the city comes from the Slavic personal name Koša with the patronymic Slavic suffix "-ice". The city may derive its name from Old Slovak kosa, "clearing", related to modern Slovak kosiť, "to reap". Though according to other sources the city name may derive from an old Hungarian first name which begins with "Ko". Historically, the city has been known as Kaschau in German, Kassa in Hungarian, Cassovia in Latin, Cassovie in French, Caşovia in Romanian, Кошице (Košice) in Russian, and Koszyce in Polish (see here for more names). Below is a chronology of the various names:
|1257||Cassa||1441||Cassovia, Kassa, Kaschau, Košice|
|1261||Cassa, Cassa-Superior||1773||Cassovia, Kassa, Kaschau, Kossicze|
|1282||Kossa||1786||Cassovia, Kascha, Kaschau, Kossice|
|1300||Cossa||1808||Cassovia, Kaschau, Kassa, Kossice|
The first evidence of inhabitance can be traced back to the end of the Paleolithic era. The first written reference to the Hungarian town of Košice (as the royal village - Villa Cassa) comes from 1230. After the Mongol invasion in 1241, King Béla IV of Hungary invited German colonists to fill the gaps in population.
The city was made of two independent settlements: Lower Košice and Upper Košice, amalgamated in the 13th century around the long lens-formed ring, of today's Main Street. The first known town privileges come from 1290. The city grew quickly because of its strategic location on an international trade route from agriculturally-rich central Hungary to central Poland, itself along a greater route connecting the Balkans and the Adriatic and Aegean seas to the Baltic Sea. The privileges given by the king were helpful in developing crafts, business, increasing importance (seat of the royal chamber for Upper Hungary), and for building its strong fortifications. In 1307, the first guild regulations were registered here and were the oldest in Kingdom of Hungary.
As a Hungarian free royal town, Košice reinforced the king's troops in the crucial moment of the bloody Battle of Rozgony in 1312 against the strong aristocratic Palatine Amadé Aba (family). In 1347, it became the second place city in the hierarchy of the Hungarian free royal towns with the same rights as the capital Buda. In 1369, it received its own coat of arms from Louis I of Hungary. The Diet convened by Louis I in Košice decided that women could inherit the Hungarian throne.
The significance and wealth of the city in the end of the 14th century was mirrored by the decision to build a completely new church on the grounds of the previously destroyed smaller St. Elisabeth Church. The construction of the biggest cathedral in the Kingdom of Hungary - St. Elisabeth Cathedral - was supported by the Emperor Sigismund, and by the apostolic see itself. Since the beginning of the 15th century, the city played a leading role in the Pentapolitana - the league of towns of five most important cities in Upper Hungary (Bardejov, Levoča, Košice, Prešov, and Sabinov). During the reign of King Matthias Corvinus the city reached its medieval population peak. With an estimated 10,000 Hungarian inhabitants, it was among the largest medieval cities in Europe.
The history of Košice was heavily influenced by the dynastic disputes over the Hungarian throne, which together with the decline of the continental trade brought the city into stagnation. Vladislaus III of Varna failed to capture the city in 1441. John Jiskra's mercenaries from Bohemia defeated Tamás Székely's Hungarian army in 1449. John I Albert, Prince of Poland, could not capture the city during a six-month-long siege in 1491. In 1526, the city homaged for Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor. John Zápolya captured the city in 1536 but Ferdinand I reconquered the city in 1551. In 1604, Stephen Bocskay occupied Košice during his insurrection against the Habsburg dynasty. Giorgio Basta, commander of the Habsburg forces, failed to capture the city, but Ferdinand I eventually recaptured it in 1606. Stephen Bocskay died in Košice on 29 December 1606 and was interred there.
On 5 September 1619, Gabriel Bethlen captured Košice in another anti-Habsburg insurrection. He married Catherine von Hohenzollern, of Johann Sigismund Kurfürst von Brandenburg, in Košice in 1626. On 18 January 1644, the Diet in Košice elected George I Rákóczi the prince of Hungary. In 1657, a printing house and a college were founded by the Jesuits there. The city was besieged by kuruc armies several times in the 1670s and it revolted against the Habsburg emperor. The rebel leaders were massacred by emperor's soldiers on 26 November 1677. A modern pentagonal fortress (citadel) was built by the Habsburgs south of the city in the 1670s. Another rebel leader, Imre Thököly captured it in 1682, but the Austrian field marshal Aeneas de Caprara got it back on 1685. In 1704-1711 Prince of Transylvania Francis II Rákóczi made Košice the main base in his War for Independence. The fortress was demolished by 1713.
In the 17th century, Košice was the capital of Upper Hungary (in 1563-1686 as the seat of the "Captaincy of Upper Hungary" and in 1567-1848 it was the seat of the Chamber of Szepes county (Spiš, Zips), which was a subsidiary of the supreme financial agency in Vienna responsible for Upper Hungary). Due to Ottoman occupation, the city was the residence of Eger's archbishop from 1596 to 1700. Since 1657, it has been the seat of the historic Royal University of Košice (Universitas Cassoviensis), founded by Bishop Benedict Kishdy. The university was transformed into a Royal Academy in 1777, then into a Law Academy in the 19th century. It ceased to exist in the turbulent year of 1921. After the end of the anti-Habsburg uprisings in 1711 the victorious Austrian armies drove the Ottoman forces back to the south and this major territorial change created new trade routes which circumvented Košice. The city began to decay and turned from a rich medieval town into a provincial town known for its military base and dependent mainly on agriculture.
In 1723, the Immaculata statue was erected in the place of a former gallows at Hlavná ulica (Main Street) commemorating the plague from the years 1710-1711. This was one of the centers of the Hungarian language regenerate movement which published the first Hungarian language periodical called the Magyar Museum in Hungary in 1788. The city's walls were demolished step by step from the early 19th century to 1856; only the Executioner's Bastion remained with few parts of the wall. The city became a seat of its own bishopric in 1802. The city's surroundings became a theater of the war again during the Revolutions of 1848, when the Imperial cavalry general Franz Schlik defeated the Hungarian army on 8 December 1848 and 4 January 1849. The city was captured by the Hungarian army on 15 February 1849, but the Russian troops drove them back on 24 June 1849.
At the beginning of the 19th century, there were three manufacturers and 460 workshops in 1828. The first factories were established in the 1840s (sugar and nail factories). The first telegram message arrived in 1856 and the railway connected the city to Miskolc, Hungary in 1860. In 1873, there were already connections to Prešov, Žilina, and Chop (in today's Ukraine). The city gained a public transit system in 1891 when track was laid down for a horse-drawn tramway. The traction was electrified in 1914. In 1906, Francis II Rákóczi's house of Rodosto was reproduced in Košice and his remains were buried in the St. Elisabeth Cathedral.
After World War I and during the gradual break-up of Austria-Hungary, the city at first became a part of the transient "Eastern Slovak Republic", declared on 11 December 1918 in Košice and earlier in Prešov under the protection of Hungary. On 29 December 1918, the Czechoslovak Legions entered the city, making it part of the newly established Czechoslovakia. However, in June 1919, Košice was occupied again, as part of the Slovak Soviet Republic, a proletarian puppet state of Hungary. The Czechoslovak troops secured the city for Czechoslovakia in July 1919,[dead link] which was later upheld under the terms of the Treaty of Trianon in 1920.
Košice was ceded to Hungary, by the First Vienna Award, from 1938 until early 1945. The town was bombarded on 26 June 1941, in what became a welcome pretext for the Hungarian government to declare war on the Soviet Union a day later. The German occupation of Hungary led to the deportation of Košice's entire Jewish population of 12,000 and an additional 2,000 from surrounding areas via cattle cars to the concentration camps. The town was captured by the Soviets in January 1945 and for a short time it became a temporary capital city of the restored Czechoslovak Republic until the Soviet Red Army reached Prague. Among other acts, the Košice Government Program was declared on 5 April 1945.
After the Communist Party seized power in Czechoslovakia in February 1948, the city became part of the Eastern Bloc. Several present day cultural institutions were founded and large residential areas around the city were built. The construction and expansion of the East Slovak Ironworks caused the population to grow from 60,700 in 1950 to 235,000 in 1991. Before the breakup of Czechoslovakia (1993), it was the fifth largest city in the federation. Following the Velvet Divorce and creation of the Slovak Republic, Košice became the second largest city in the country and became a seat of a constitutional court. Since 1995, it has been the seat of the Archdiocese of Košice.
Košice lies at an altitude of 206 metres (676 ft) above sea level and covers an area of 242.77 square kilometres (93.7 sq mi). It is located in eastern Slovakia, about 20 kilometres (12 mi) from the Hungarian, 80 kilometres (50 mi) from the Ukrainian, and 90 kilometres (56 mi) from the Polish borders. It is about 400 kilometres (249 mi) east of Slovakia's capital Bratislava and a chain of villages connects it to Prešov which is about 36 kilometres (22 mi) to the north.
Košice is situated on the Hornád River in the Košice Basin, at the easternmost reaches of the Slovak Ore Mountains. More precisely it is a subdivision of the Čierna hora mountains in the northwest and Volovské vrchy mountains in the southwest. The basin is met on the east by the Slanské vrchy mountains.
|Climate data for Košice|
|Average high °C (°F)||0.5
|Average low °C (°F)||−5.6
|Precipitation mm (inches)||25
|Avg. precipitation days||13||11||10||12||14||14||13||11||10||10||13||14||145|
|Source: World Meteorological Organisation|
Košice has a population of 240,688 (31 December 2011). According to the 2011 census, 73.8% of its inhabitants were Slovaks, 2.65% Hungarians, 2% Romani, 0.65% Czechs, 0.68% Rusyns, 0.3% Ukrainians, and 0.13% Germans. 19% of Košice's population did not declare their ethnic affiliation in the 2011 census.
According to the researchers the town had a German majority until the mid-16th century, and by 1650, 72.5 percent of Cassovia population may have been Hungarians,[note 1] 13.2 percent was German, 14.3 percent was Slovak or of uncertain origin. The Ottoman Turkish traveler Evliya Çelebi mentioned that, the city was inhabited by "Hungarians, Germans, Upper Hungarians" in 1661.
The linguistic makeup of the town's population underwent historical changes that alternated between a growth of the ratio of those who claimed Hungarian and those who claimed Slovak as their language. With a population of 28,884 in 1891, just under half (49.9%) of the inhabitants of Košice declared the then official Hungarian language as their main means of communication, 33.6% Slovak, and 13.5% German; 72.2% were Roman Catholics, 11.4% Jews, 7.3% Lutherans, 6.7% Greek Catholics, and 4.3% Calvinists. The results of this census are questioned by some historians by claiming that they were manipulated, in order to increase the percentage of the Magyar population in the period of Magyarization.
By the 1910 census, which is sometimes accused of being manipulated by the ruling Hungarian bureaucracy, 75.4% of the 44,211 inhabitants claimed Hungarian, 14.8% Slovak, 7.2% German, and 1.8% Polish. The Jews were split among other groups by the 1910 census, as only the most frequently used language and not ethnicity was registered. The linguistic balance within the town limits began to shift towards Slovak after World War I with Slovakization in the newly established Czechoslovakia. As a consequence of the Vienna Awards, Košice was ceded to Hungary. During the German occupation of Hungary towards the end of World War II, approximately 10,000 Jews were deported by the Arrow Cross Party and the Nazis, and killed in Auschwitz. The ethnic makeup of the town was dramatically changed by persecution of the town's large Hungarian majority (population exchanges between Hungary and Slovakia and slovakization) and by mass immigration of Slovaks into newly built communist-block-microdistricts, which increased the population of Košice four-times by 1989 and made it the fastest growing city in Czechoslovakia.
There are several theaters in Košice. The Košice State Theater was founded in 1945 (then under the name of the East Slovak National Theater). It consists of three ensembles: drama, opera, and ballet. Other theaters include the Marionette Theater and the Old Town Theater (Staromestské divadlo). Due to the presence of Hungarian and Roma minorities, it also hosts the Hungarian "Thália" theater and the professional Roma theater "Romathan".
Košice is the home of the State Philharmonic Košice (Štátna filharmónia Košice), established in 1968 as the second professional symphonic orchestra in Slovakia. It organizes festivals such as the Košice Music Spring Festival, the International Organ Music Festival, and the Festival of Contemporary Art. It is also the home of the Philharmonia Cassovia orchestra.
Museums and galleries
Some of the museums and galleries based in the city include the East Slovak Museum (Vychodoslovenské múzeum), originally established in 1872 under the name of the Upper Hungarian Museum. The Slovak Technical Museum (Slovenské technické múzeum) with planetarium, established in 1947, is the only museum in the technical category in Slovakia that specializes in the history and traditions of science and technology. The East Slovak Gallery (Východoslovenská galéria) was established in 1951 as the first regional gallery with the aim to document artistic life in present day eastern Slovakia.
European Capital of Culture
In 2008 Košice won the competition among Slovakian cities to hold the prestigious title European Capital of Culture 2013. Project Interface aims at transformation of Košice from a centre of heavy industry to a postindustrial city with creative potential and new cultural infrastructure. Project authors bring to Košice a concept of creative economy - merging of economy and industry with arts, where transformed urban space encourages development of certain fields of creative industry (design, media, architecture, music and film production, IT technologies, creative tourism). The artistic and cultural program stems from a conception of sustained maintainable activities with long-lasting effects on cultural life in Košice and its region. The main project venues are:
- Kasárne Kulturpark - 19th century military barracks turned into new urban space with a centre of contemporary art, exhibition and concert halls and workshops for creative industry.
- Kunsthalle - a 1960s disused swimming pool turned into the first Kunsthalle in Slovakia.
- SPOTs - 1970s and 1980s disused heat exchangers turned into cultural "spots" in Communist-Era-block-of-flats districts.
- City park, Park Komenského and Mojzesova - revitalisation of urban spaces.
- Castle of Košice, Amfiteáter, Mansion of Krásna, Handicrafts Street - reconstruction.
- Tabačka - a 19th-century tobacco factory turned into a centre of independent culture.
The first and the oldest international festival of local TV broadcasters (founded in 1995) - The Golden Beggar, takes place every year in June in Košice.
Košice is the economic hub of eastern Slovakia. It accounts for about 9% of the Slovak gross domestic product. The steel mill, U.S. Steel Košice with 13,500 employees, is the largest employer in the city and the largest private employer in the country. Other major sectors include mechanical engineering, food industry, services, and trade. GDP per capita in 2001 was €4,004, which was below Slovakia's average of €4,400. The unemployment rate was 11.4% in September 2005, which was below the country's average 15.6% at that time.
The city has a balanced budget of 2.78 billion Slovak korunas (almost €83 million, as of 2007) with a small surplus of 25 million korunas. The budget for the year 2008 consisted of projects with total spending of 2.82 billion korunas.
The city centre, and most historical monuments, are located in or around the Main Street (Hlavná ulica) and the town has the largest number of protected historical monuments in Slovakia. The most dominant historical monument of the city is Slovakia's largest church, the 14th century Gothic St. Elisabeth Cathedral; it is the easternmost cathedral of western style Gothic architecture in Central Europe, and is the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Košice. In addition to St. Elisabeth, there is the 14th century St. Michael Chapel, the St. Urban Tower, and the Neo-baroque State Theater in the center of town. The Executioner's Bastion and the Mill Bastion are the remains of the city's previous fortification system. The Church of the Virgin Mary's Birth is the cathedral for the Greek Catholic Eparchy of Košice. Other monuments and buildings of cultural and historical interest are; the old Town Hall, the Old University, the Captain's Palace, Liberation Square, as well as a number of galleries (the East Slovak Gallery) and museums (the East Slovak Museum). There is a Municipal Park located between the historical city centre and the main railway station. The city also has a zoo located northwest of the city, within the borough of Kavečany.
Places of worship
Gallery of architecture
Košice is the seat of the Košice Region and since 2002 it is the seat of the autonomous Košice Self-governing Region. Additionally, it is the seat of the Slovak Constitutional Court. The city hosts a regional branch of the National Bank of Slovakia (Národná banka Slovenska) and consulates of Hungary, Belgium, Spain, Russia and Turkey.
The local government is composed of a mayor (Slovak: primátor), a city council (mestské zastupiteľstvo), a city board (mestská rada), city commissions (Komisie mestského zastupiteľstva), and a city magistrate's office (magistrát). The directly elected mayor is the head and chief executive of the city. The term of office is four years. The previous mayor, František Knapík, was nominated in 2006 by a coalition of four political parties KDH, SMK, and SDKÚ-DS. In 2010 he finished his term of office. The prresent mayor is MUDr. Richard Raši, PhD., MPH. He was inaugurated on 21 December 2010.
Administratively, the city of Košice is divided into four districts: Košice I (covering the center and northern parts), Košice II (covering the southwest), Košice III (east), and Košice IV (south) and further into 22 boroughs (wards):
|Košice I||Džungľa, Kavečany, Sever, Sídlisko Ťahanovce, Staré Mesto, Ťahanovce|
|Košice II||Lorinčík, Luník IX, Myslava, Pereš, Poľov, Sídlisko KVP, Šaca, Západ|
|Košice III||Sídlisko dargovských hrdinov, Košická Nová Ves|
|Košice IV||Barca, Juh, Krásna, Nad jazerom, Šebastovce, Vyšné Opátske|
Košice is the second university town in Slovakia, after Bratislava. The Technical University of Košice is its largest university, with 16,015 students, including 867 doctoral students. A second major university is the Pavol Jozef Šafárik University, with 7,403 students, including 527 doctoral students. Other universities and colleges include the University of Veterinary Medicine in Košice (1,381 students) and the private Security Management College in Košice (1,168 students). Additionally, the University of Economics in Bratislava, the Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra, and the Catholic University in Ružomberok each have a branch based in the city.
There are 38 public elementary schools, six private elementary schools, and three religious elementary schools. Overall, they enroll 20,158 pupils. The city's system of secondary education (some middle schools and all high schools) consist of 20 gymnasia with 7,692 students, 24 specialized high schools with 8,812 students, and 13 vocational schools with 6,616 students.
Public Transport in Košice is managed by Dopravný podnik mesta Košice (literally the Public Transport Company of the city of Košice). The municipal mass transit system is the oldest one in present day Slovakia, with the first horse-car line beginning operation in 1891 (electrified in 1914). Today, the city's public transportation system is composed of buses (in use since the 1950s), trams, and trolleybuses (since 1993).
Košice railway station is a rail hub of eastern Slovakia. The city is connected by rail to Bratislava, Prešov, Čierna nad Tisou, Humenné, Miskolc (Hungary), and Zvolen. There is a broad gauge track from Ukraine, leading to the steel mill southwest of the city. The D1 motorway connects the city to Prešov and more motorways and roads are planned around the city.
The Košice international airport is located south of the city. Regular direct flights from the airport are available to: Bratislava, Vienna, and Prague. Regular flights are provided by Czech Airlines, Austrian Airlines, and Danube Wings and in code-share by KLM-Air France, Delta, Lufthansa, United and Etihad. At its peak in year 2008, it served 590,919 passengers but the number has since declined.
The oldest annual marathon in Europe and the third oldest in the entire world, after the world famous Boston Marathon and the Yonkers Marathon. Košice Peace Marathon (founded in 1924.) is run in the historic part of the city organized every year on the first Sunday of October.
Ice hockey club HC Košice is one of the most successful Slovak hockey clubs. It plays in Slovakia's highest league, the Extraliga, and has won six titles in 1995, 1996, 1999, 2009, 2010 and 2011, and two titles (1986 and 1988) in the former Czechoslovak Extraliga. Since 2006, their home is the Steel Aréna which has a capacity of 8,343 spectators. Football club MFK Košice currently plays in the Corgoň Liga. It was the first club from Slovakia reach the group stages of the UEFA Champions League and is a two times domestic league winner (1998 and 1999). After relegation in 2003, the club returned to the Corgoň Liga in 2005.
Twin towns — sister cities
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Košice.|
- Official website of the town of Košice
- Official website of the European Capital of Culture - Kosice 2013
- Košice Tourist Board and Visitor Centre - official travel information
- DPMK - Public Transport Office Site
- Košice travel guide from Wikivoyage
- Official Tourist guide & website
- Cassovia.info Photos and history of Košice
- Tourist guide
- Tourist guide
- Online information portal of Kosice metropolitan area
- Košice 2013: European Capital of Culture
- Cassovia Digitalis The Digital City Library (German/Slovakian/Hungarian/English)