Located in the eastern part of Slovakia, Košice (Hungarian: Kassa, German: Kaschau, Polish: Koszyce) is the second largest city in the country after Bratislava.
Serving as the residence of both the Catholic and the Lutheran bishops, Košice, with its monuments and museums, offers a full day’s program for visitors. The main tourist attractions of the city are the Košice Cathedral (St. Elizabeth's Cathedral) and the St. Michal's Chapel.
A number of palatial homes, belonging formerly to the nobility, can be seen along the main street. Most of these are located along its roughly 800m long, spindle-shaped, main street – or in its immediate vicinity; they can be easily covered on foot.
The lenticular historical town core of Košice was placed on UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List in 2002.
Main attractions in Košice
The Urban's tower
The Urban's tower, to the north of the cathedral, was built in the middle of the 16th century on the site of the Red Tower, which was also destroyed in the Great Fire of 1556.
St. Michael's Chapel
St. Michael's Chapel, dating from 1330-40, can be found to the south of the cathedral. The Gothic style burial chapel contains 17 tombstones. Parts of its interior feature original frescoes.
St. Elizabeth's Cathedral
The city’s pre-eminent monument, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, is its St. Elizabeth's Cathedral. A church already existed on the site of the cathedral in the 13th century – however, it burnt down in 1378. It was in consequence of this that work on the cathedral was begun – eventually to be finished in 1521. It comprised a centre nave with two equally high side-aisles. In 1556 this new cathedral also burnt down – with only four altars surviving the fire. The present building is the result of renovations in the 19th century, plans for which were prepared by Imre Steindl, the designer of the Parliament House in Budapest.
The Levoča House
The Levoča House is Košice’s oldest, still standing bourgeois building. The house, which dates from the 15th century, was bought by the city of Levoča for the use of its merchants – hence its name.
The Franciscan Church
The Franciscan church was built at the end of the 14th century. Little remains of this originally Gothic church; its present baroque-Zopf style is the result of the 18th century alterations.
The Bishop’s Residence
The Bishop’s Residence dates from 1804 when the bishopric was established. The building, which was formed by connecting three houses together, underwent modifications in both the middle, and at the end, of the 19th century.
The National Theatre
The National Theatre, built at the end of the 19th century in the Eclectic style, replaced the former Town Hall.
The one-time Jesuit, now Premonstratensian church, was built during the last-third of the 17th century. The baroque building was acquired by the Premonstratensian Order in 1811.
During the 15th century, the monastery building served as the “king’s dwelling” later as a dwelling for the king’s captains, and finally as a school.
The two-storey, Classicist style Forgách House was built at the end of the 18th century; it now serves as a library.
The oldest ecclesiastical building in the city is the 13th century, early-Gothic, Dominican church. It was also damaged during the Great Fire and rebuilt in the baroque style in the 18th century.
The baroque style Csáky-Dessewffy House was erected in the 19th century. The Barkóczy House, which was also baroque in style, was built in the 18th century.
The ground-floor of the Andrássy Palace, built in 1899, which used to house the city’s most popular coffee-shop, now operates as a confectioner’s shop.