Six months ago, Košice's main street was a dug-up mess...
When the city broke ground on Hlavná ulica to lay new gas and electrical lines in May 1996, they discovered surprisingly extensive remins of the old city. The astounded construction team stepped aside as part of the main square became a two-year archaelogical dig, revealing over 500 years of Košice history. Although only a regional crafts center in the early Middle Ages, Košice grew to be an important military fortress and a key element in the anti-Turkish defence line.
The free 20-minute tour begins in a 13th century stone drainage tunnel beneath street level, which was 1.5 meters lower than today. This tunnel led beneath the south gate of the city fortification walls and drained into a moat around the city. In the 14th century, the Luxemburgers added a tower to this gate, which was one of five. Next you cross the moat just beside the 15th century arched stone bridge, which had two floors. Though impressive, it is only one section of the 23 meter-long, 3.5 meter-high bridge.
But by July, the archaeological dig had been turned into a museum.
The tour snakes around to catch another glimpse of the bridge from the west and the Parkan (Hungarian for "rampart"), which was used in the 17th century as a wood shop. Along the way, you'll see the oldest chunks of the cathedral, including a couple of gargoyles. These were put here just to spice up the exhibit.
The museum entrance is on Hlavná ulica (the main square), just south of St. Elizabeth's Cathedral, where a wide stairwell leads down below the street. Tours in Slovak begin every half-hour from 11:00 to 18:00 daily, except Monday. Tours are often available in English upon request. In the future, information sheets with maps will be available in English, German, Hungarian and Slovak. A cafe/restaurant is being built at the tour entrance as well.
13. Aug 1998 at 0:00 | Matthew Evans