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Košice, Slovakia

November 12th, 2006 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

[Currently only low quality pictures available]

Košice IPA: [ˈkɒʃɪtsə] (Latin: Cassovia, German: Kaschau, Hungarian: Kassa, Polish: Koszyce, Hebrew: קושיצה, Rusyn: Кошице, Romany: Kasha) is Slovakia's second largest city and the center of eastern Slovakia.

It lies in the valley of the river Hornád in the Košice Basin, encircled by the spurs of the Čierna Hora mountains to the north and the Volovské vrchy hills to the west.

Košice is the seat of a Region (kraj) or the Košice Self-governing Region (KSK), of universities, of the Slovak Constitutional Court, of a Roman Catholic archbishopric (since 1995), Evangelical Lutheran bishopric and a Greek Catholic bishopric. The town has a relatively large historic center.

The first signs of inhabitance can be traced back to the end of the older Stone Age. The first written reference to a southern suburb of the town can be dated back to the year 1230. Its advantageous business and strategic location helped the town grow quickly. The given privileges were helpful in developing crafts, business, increasing importance and for the development of this city. The oldest guild regulations were registered in 1307 and the city received its own coat of arms in 1369 from the king Louis I of Hungary, making it the first municipial coat of arms in Europe. Since the beginning of the 15th century, the city had been playing a leading role in the Pentapolitana - a league of towns of five most important cities of eastern Slovakia (Bardejov, Levoča, Košice, Prešov, and Sabinov). Since the 14th century, it has been the second-most important town in Slovakia (which was part of Hungary from the 11th century to 1918) after Bratislava.

In the 15th century, the town was temporarily controlled by John Giskra (Jan Jiskra), in the 17th and 18th centuries a center of anti-Habsburg uprisings in Slovakia (Hungary) and seat of Francis II Rákóczi. In the 17th it was the de-facto capital of Upper Hungary, i.e. of the easternmost part of the then Hungary (1563-1686 seat of the "Captaincy Upper Hungary", 1567-1848 seat of the Spiš Chamber (Zipser Kammer), which was a subsidiary of the supreme financial agency in Vienna responsible for eastern Slovakia). Between 1657 and 1921 seat of the historic Košice University (1777 turned into a Royal Academy, in the 19th century turned to a Law Academy). In 1723, there was erected the Immaculata statue at the place of a former gallows at Hlavná ulica (Main Street) commemorating the plague from the years 1710-1711.

Košice gained a public transit system in 1891 when Stephan Popper laid track for a horsedrawn tramway.[citation needed]

During World War II, after the First Vienna Award (Vienna Arbitration in 1938), Košice became part of Hungary until 1944. This cooperation with the Third Reich led to the easy evacuation of the entire Jewish population of 12,000 and an additional 2,000 from surrounding areas via cattle car to the concentration camps for their eventual murder.

Today the Slovak population percentage of Kosice is virtually 100% where only 100 years earlier it was barely 15%.

The most important building of the town is Slovakia's biggest church, the 15th-century Gothic St. Elisabeth Cathedral, the easternmost Gothic cathedral in Central Europe. Except the magnificent cathedral, there are also the 14th-century St. Michael Chapel, the St. Urban Tower and the Neo-baroque State Theatre in the centre of the town. The Executioner’s Bastion and the Mill Bastion are witnesses to the ancient system of fortifications for protecting the city against its enemies. The visitors can also discover the beauty of several other monuments and buildings of great cultural and historical interest (the old Town Hall, the Old University, the Captain's Palace, Liberation Square, etc.) as well as several galleries (the East Slovak Gallery) and museums (the East Slovak Museum). The visitors can relax in the quiet of Municipal Park located in the area around the city center.

[Source: Wikipedia]

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