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GREETINGS FROM... KOŠICE

Jewel of the East

TO GET to the second largest city of Slovakia, Košice, from its capital, one needs to travel across the whole country. The journey though does not take more than six hours (or an hour by plane) and the view of one of the largest and most inspiring Gothic churches in central Europe, the town's main landmark, makes the effort worthwhile.
The St Elizabeth's Cathedral towers over the Košice's massively reconstructed historical centre, Hlavná ulica (Main Street), a hotly discussed legacy of the current president Rudolf Schuster from his time as the city's mayor. Several refurbished historical buildings line the way, an excavated medieval open drain runs along the middle of the street, a singing fountain dances to music and a bell tower plays when the hour strikes whole.
Located 20 km from Hungary, 80 km from Ukraine and 90 km from Poland, the centre of the eastern Košice is a mix of cultures and dialects. The majority of Košice population (240,000 inhabitants) are Slovak, followed by quite a large Roma populace, then Hungarians and Germans, who all seem to coexist in remarkable harmony.


photo: Zuzana Habšudová

TO GET to the second largest city of Slovakia, Košice, from its capital, one needs to travel across the whole country. The journey though does not take more than six hours (or an hour by plane) and the view of one of the largest and most inspiring Gothic churches in central Europe, the town's main landmark, makes the effort worthwhile.

The St Elizabeth's Cathedral towers over the Košice's massively reconstructed historical centre, Hlavná ulica (Main Street), a hotly discussed legacy of the current president Rudolf Schuster from his time as the city's mayor. Several refurbished historical buildings line the way, an excavated medieval open drain runs along the middle of the street, a singing fountain dances to music and a bell tower plays when the hour strikes whole.

Located 20 km from Hungary, 80 km from Ukraine and 90 km from Poland, the centre of the eastern Košice is a mix of cultures and dialects. The majority of Košice population (240,000 inhabitants) are Slovak, followed by quite a large Roma populace, then Hungarians and Germans, who all seem to coexist in remarkable harmony.

The city's southern outskirts are largely consumed by one of the most successful foreign-investment projects in Slovakia, the US Steel plant. The factory's smoking chimneys however are well balanced by the rich green areas surrounding the city and extending almost into its centre.

The most frequented place in these forests is the Alpinka recreation centre sitting in the 12-kilomentre long Črmel Valley, which has a children's railway leading up to it. Another favourite weekend resort in the greater Košice area is Zádielska dolina, the deepest canyon in Slovakia and the beginning of a spelunker's paradise, Slovenský kras.

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