Kosice Slovakia Travel Guide

Kosice Slovakia Travel Guide

History of Kosice Slovakia

Kosice Slovakia
Kosice Slovakia

The medieval town of Kosice (Košice) emerged halfway from the Abbey to the Castle. The first written mention of its existence is from 1230. Early historical documents referred to is as Villa Cassa, later Latin Cassovia, German Kaschau, Hungarian Kassa, and the Slovak Kosice.

The town acquired important privileges of the royal borough in 1342. The date of 7 May 1369 is especially important for the town. It received as the first town in Europe the document for a coat of arms signed by the king. Today this is the “Day of Kosice” celebration.

In the 15th century, Kosice with its 7,000 inhabitants became the second biggest town of the Kingdom of Hungary following Buda and Bratislava. The 20th century changed the town of Kosice although the motifs were mostly political. The town changed nationality more than once. On the last day of 1918, it became part of the Czechoslovak Republic. In 1938 Horthy’s Hungary annexed it for more than six years.


In April 1945 the Czechoslovak Government met for the first time on homeland ground and issued the document known as the Treaty on the after-war arrangement of the free Republic”. But some other attributes of Kosice also changed, particularly its size, ethnic structure, and its general appearance.

Its population more than doubled after the Second World War. New housing estates emerged for immigrants from the rural area. Today most of its inhabitants are Slovaks coexisting here with Hungarian, Czech, and Roma minorities. The Východoslovenské železiarne (East Slovakian Iron Works, now U. S. Steel) became the biggest company not only of Kosice but also of the country in general.

Cathedral of St. Elisabeth Kosice

Cathedral of St. Elisabeth Kosice
Cathedral of St. Elisabeth Kosice

Dominating the square and the town of Kosice is the monumental Gothic St Elisabeth Minster. This building, rather isolated from the rest of the square, is the largest church of Slovakia and the easternmost situated Gothic cathedral of western type in Europe. Its longitudinal axis is 60.5 m and its diagonal axis is 39.5 meters long.

The northern tower of the dome is 58.5 meters tall. Construction of the church proceeded under the royal supervision in several stages from 1380 while some assert that it is still not finished. Originally, the church design was a five-nave basilica.

Under the pressure of natural disasters and wars the end-result was different. It became the five-nave dome with the crossed nave. In spite of adjustments in new styles after fires and earthquakes in the 19th century, the Cathedral of Kosice preserved many original Gothic elements and valuable artistic features.

Punishment for a drunk wife

They include the wonderful northern portal with the tympanum representing the Last Judgement. The medieval gargoyle in the south-western corner of the church is also interesting. It’s supposed that it has the form of a woman, in particular the wife of the famous royal builder Stephan. This is how he allegedly punished his wife for drinking too much wine.

The altar of St Elisabeth, built in the years 1474-1477, deserves special attention. It has the largest European set of 48 Gothic table paintings. Dutch and German influence on the sculptures and paintings is obvious. Liturgical objects include the most valuable works of important goldsmith J. Szilassy from the 18th century, which are national cultural monuments.

AddressHlavná, Kosice, Slovakija
Telephone+421 55/622 00 79

St. Michael’s Chapel Kosice

Kaplnka sv. Michala

St Michael’s Chapel Kosice
St Michael’s Chapel Kosice

St. Michael’s Chapel was most likely built in the first half of the 14th century and was a part of the parish church. Its purpose was a cemetery chapel in the middle of the cemetery in the center of the city, which stretched from the dome on the south to the current park on Main Street.

The chapel is sacred to St. Michael, the valet of the souls to the other world. The lower part of the chapel served as a charnel house of bone remains, excavated in digging through the cemetery for new graves.

The upper part was in use for requiems. A side boat from 1508 to its north side disappeared during the reconstruction in 1902-1904. On this occasion, 17 old tombstones of the former cemetery between the 14th – 17th century were walled up to keep them against the destruction.


The external decoration is in the Gothic style. On its sides are archangels Raphael and Gabriel. Stone tabernaculum, sculpture “Ecce Homo” and remains of the medieval wall paintings are in the interior of the chapel.

The oldest coat of arms of Kosice is above the door to the sacristy. The chapel was in use as a Slovak church in the 17th century, while the cathedral was a German and Hungarian church. Since 1771 it was forbidden to use the cemetery so the cemetery’s surroundings changed to a park.

The first fundamental reconstruction in the spirit of Gothic purism happened in 1903-1904, dismantling the Szatmári boat. The second fundamental reconstruction took place in 1998-2006 dismantling the affections of the first one. It received the Felix for best building reconstruction in 2006. In 2007, the chapel became a church.

AddressHlavná, Kosice, Slovakija

Kosice Slovakia Map and Local Weather

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