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Top: St Elisabeth Cathedral and St Michael Chapel Center: General Aerial View Bottom (left to right): State Theater; Center of Hlavná street; Coat of Arms Statue Superimposed: Coat of Arms
Top: St Elisabeth Cathedral and St Michael Chapel
Center: General Aerial View
Bottom (left to right): State Theater; Center of Hlavná street; Coat of Arms Statue
Superimposed: Coat of Arms
Flag of Ko?ice
City of tolerance[1]
Ko?ice is located in Slovakia
Location in Slovakia
Ko?ice is located in Ko?ice Region
Location in Ko?ice Region
Coordinates: 48°43?N 21°15?E / 48.717°N 21.250°E / 48.717; 21.250Coordinates: 48°43?N 21°15?E / 48.717°N 21.250°E / 48.717; 21.250
RegionKo?ice Self-governing Region
First mentioned1230
 o MayorJaroslav Pola?ek
 o Total242.768 km2 (93.733 sq mi)
206 m (676 ft)
 o Total238,757
 o Density980/km2 (2,500/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 o Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
040 00
Area code(s)+421-55
Car plateKE
 - TotalNominal: EUR18 billion
PPP: $21 billion
 - Per capitaNominal: EUR18,100
PPP: $16,300

Ko?ice ( KOSH-it-s?,[3] Slovak: ['kitse] ; German: Kaschau, German pronunciation: ['ka?a] ; Hungarian: Kassa) is the largest city in eastern Slovakia. It is situated on the river Hornád at the eastern reaches of the Slovak Ore Mountains, near the border with Hungary. With a population of approximately 240,000, Ko?ice is the second-largest city in Slovakia, after the capital Bratislava.

Being the economic and cultural centre of eastern Slovakia, Ko?ice is the seat of the Ko?ice Region and Ko?ice Self-governing Region, the Slovak Constitutional Court, three universities, various dioceses, and many museums, galleries, and theatres. In 2013 Ko?ice was the European Capital of Culture, together with Marseille, France. Ko?ice is an important industrial centre of Slovakia, and the U.S. Steel Ko?ice steel mill is the largest employer in the city. The town has extensive railway connections and an international airport.

The city has a preserved historical centre which is the largest among Slovak towns. There are heritage protected buildings in Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and Art Nouveau styles with Slovakia's largest church: the St. Elisabeth Cathedral. The long main street, rimmed with aristocratic palaces, Catholic churches, and townsfolk's houses, is a thriving pedestrian zone with boutiques, cafés, and restaurants. The city is known as the first settlement in Europe to be granted its own coat-of-arms.[4]


The first written mention of the city was in 1230 as "Villa Cassa".[5] The name probably comes from the Slavic personal name Ko?, Ko?a -> Ko?ici (Ko?'people) -> Ko?ice (1382-1383) with the patronymic Slavic suffix "-ice" through a natural development in Slovak (similar place names are also known from other Slavic countries).[6][7] In Hungarian Ko?a -> Kasa, Kassa with a vowel mutation typical for the borrowing of old Slavic names in the region (Vojkovce -> Vajkócz, Soko? -> Szakalya, Szakál, Hodkovce -> Hatkóc, etc.).[8] The Latinized form Cassovia became common in the 15th century.[7]

Another theory is a derivation from Old Slovak kosa, "clearing", related to modern Slovak kosi?, "to reap".[9] Though according to other sources the city name may derive from an old Hungarian[10] the first name which begins with "Ko".[11]

Historically, the city has been known as Kaschau in German, Kassa in Hungarian (['k?] ), Ka?a in Turkish, Cassovia in Latin, Cassovie in French, Ca?ovia in Romanian, (Ko?ice) in Russian, Koszyce in Polish and Kashoy in Yiddish (see here for more names). Below is a chronology of the various names:[12][13][14][15]

Year Name Year Name
1230 Villa Cassa 1420 Caschowia
1257 Cassa 1441 Cassovia, Kassa, Kaschau, Ko?ice
1261 Cassa, Cassa-Superior 1613-1684 Cassovia, Kassa, Ka?a, Kossicze
1282 Kossa 1773 Cassovia, Kassa, Kaschau, Kossicze
1300 Cossa 1786 Cassovia, Kascha, Kaschau, Kossice
1307 Cascha 1808 Cassovia, Kaschau, Kassa, Kossice
1324 Casschaw 1863-1913 Kassa
1342 Kassa 1920-1938 Ko?ice
1388 Cassa-Cassouia 1938-1945 Kassa
1394 Cassow 1945- Ko?ice


Historical affiliations
Kingdom of Hungary 1000 - 1526

Coa Hungary Country History John I of Hungary (Szapolyai) (1526-1540).svg John Zápolya's Eastern Hungarian Kingdom 1526 - 1551 (Ottoman vassal)
Transsylvanian Banner.svg Hajduk rebels of István Bocskai 1604 - 1606 (Ottoman-backed)
Transsylvanian Banner.svg Principality of Transylvania (Ottoman vassal) 1619 - 1629, 1644 - 1648
Francis II Rákóczi's Iustam Causam banner.svg] Kuruc rebellion 1672 - 1682 (Ottoman-backed)
Francis II Rákóczi's Iustam Causam banner.svg] Imre Thököly's Principality of Upper Hungary (Ottoman vassal) 1682 - 1686
Francis II Rákóczi's Iustam Causam banner.svg] Francis II Rákóczi's insurrection 1703 - 1711
Kingdom of Hungary Kingdom of Hungary 1711-1920
 Czechoslovakia 1920-1938
Kingdom of Hungary 1938 - 1945
 Czechoslovakia 1945-1992

 Slovakia 1993-present
Eastern Hungarian Kingdom around 1550, including Ko?ice shown as 'Kassa'
Part of the Ottoman Empire in 1683, including the Principality of Upper Hungary, based around Ko?ice shown as 'Kassa'

The first evidence of inhabitance can be traced back to the end of the Paleolithic era. The first written reference to the Hungarian town of Kassa (as the royal village - Villa Cassa) comes from 1230. After the Mongol invasion in 1241, King Béla IV of Hungary invited German colonists to fill the gaps in population. The city was in the historic Abauj County of the Kingdom of Hungary.

The city was made of two independent settlements: Lower Kassa and Upper Kassa, amalgamated in the 13th century around the long lens-formed ring, of today's Main Street. The first known town privileges come from 1290.[16] The city proliferated because of its strategic location on an international trade route from agriculturally rich central Hungary to central Poland, itself along a greater route connecting the Balkans and the Adriatic and Aegean seas to the Baltic Sea. The privileges given by the king were helpful in developing crafts, business, increasing importance (seat of the royal chamber for Upper Hungary), and for building its strong fortifications.[5] In 1307, the first guild regulations were registered here and were the oldest in the Kingdom of Hungary.[17]

As a Hungarian free royal town, Kassa reinforced the king's troops in the crucial moment of the bloody Battle of Rozgony in 1312 against the strong aristocratic Palatine Amadé Aba (family).[18][19] In 1347, it became the second-place city in the hierarchy of the Hungarian free royal towns with the same rights as the capital Buda. In 1369, it received its own coat of arms from Louis I of Hungary.[16] The Diet convened by Louis I in Kassa decided that women could inherit the Hungarian throne.

"Cassovia: Superioris Hungariae Civitas Primaria",[20] the prospect from Civitates orbis terrarum. Cassovia (Slovak: Ko?ice, German: Kaschau, Hungarian: Kassa), the "capital" of Upper Hungary in 1617.
The military base in Ko?ice at the end of the 18th century
National Theater built in 1899
Main Street - 1902

The significance and wealth of the city at the end of the 14th century was mirrored by the decision to build an entirely new church on the grounds of the previously destroyed smaller St. Elisabeth Church. The construction of the biggest cathedral in the Kingdom of Hungary - St. Elisabeth Cathedral - was supported by Emperor Sigismund, and by the apostolic see itself. Since the beginning of the 15th century, the city played a leading role in the Pentapolitana - the league of towns of five most important cities in Upper Hungary (Bártfa, Locse, Kassa, Eperjes, and Kisszeben). During the reign of King Hunyadi Mátyás the town reached its medieval population peak. With an estimated 10,000 inhabitants, it was among the largest medieval cities in Europe.[21]

The history of Kassa was heavily influenced by the dynastic disputes over the Hungarian throne. Together with the decline of the continental trade brought the city into stagnation. Vladislaus III of Varna failed to capture the city in 1441. John Jiskra's mercenaries from Bohemia defeated Tamás Székely's Hungarian army in 1449. John I Albert, Prince of Poland, could not capture the city during a six-month-long siege in 1491. In 1526, the city homaged for Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor. John Zápolya captured the town in 1536 but Ferdinand I reconquered the city in 1551.[22] In 1554, the settlement became the seat of the Captaincy of Upper Hungary.

In 1604, Catholics seized the Lutheran church in Kassa.[23] The Calvinist Stephen Bocskay then occupied Kassa during his Protestant, Ottoman-backed insurrection against the Habsburg dynasty. The future George I Rákóczi joined him as a military commander there. Giorgio Basta, commander of the Habsburg forces, failed in his attempt to capture the city. At the Treaty of Vienna (1606), in return for giving territory including Kassa back, the rebels won the Habsburg concession of religious toleration for the Magyar nobility and brokered an Austrian-Turkish peace treaty. Stephen Bocskay died in Kassa on December 29, 1606, and was interred there.

For some decades during the 17th century Kassa was part of the Principality of Transylvania, and consequently a part of the Ottoman Empire and was referred to as Ka?a in Turkish.[15] On September 5, 1619, the prince of Transylvania, Gabriel Bethlen captured Kassa with the assistance of the future George I Rákóczi in another anti-Habsburg insurrection. By the Peace of Nikolsburg in 1621, the Habsburgs restored the religious toleration agreement of 1606 and recognized Transylvanian rule over the seven Partium countries: Ugocsa, Bereg, Zemplén, Borsod, Szabolcs, Szatmár and Abaúj (including Kassa).[24] Bethlen married Catherine von Hohenzollern, of Johann Sigismund Kurfürst von Brandenburg, in Kassa in 1626.[25]

Kassa and the rest of the Partium were returned to the Habsburgs after Bethlen's death, which took place in 1629.[24]

On January 18, 1644, the Diet in Kassa elected George I Rákóczi the prince of Hungary. He took the whole of Upper Hungary and joined the Swedish army besieging Brno for a projected march against Vienna. However, his nominal overlord, the Ottoman Sultan, ordered him to end the campaign, but he did so with gains. In the Treaty of Linz (1645), Kassa returned to Transylvania again as the Habsburgs recognized George's rule over the seven counties of the Partium.[24] He died in 1648, and Kassa was returned to the Habsburgs once more.[26]

Kassa became a centre of the Counter-Reformation. In 1657, a printing house and university were founded by the Jesuits, funded by Emperor Leopold I. The 1664 Peace of Vasvár at the end of the Austro-Turkish War (1663-1664) awarded Szabolcs and Szatmár counties to the Habsburgs,[27] which put Kassa further inside the border of Royal Hungary again. A modern pentagonal fortress (citadel) was built by the Habsburgs south of the city in the 1670s. The city was besieged by Kuruc armies several times in the 1670s, and it revolted against the Habsburg emperor. The rebel leaders were massacred by the emperor's soldiers on November 26, 1677.

Another rebel leader, Imre Thököly captured the city in 1682, making Ka?a once again a vassal territory of Ottoman Empire under Principality of Upper Hungary until 1686. The Austrian field marshal Aeneas de Caprara got Kassa back from Ottoman Turks on late-1685. In 1704-1711 Prince of Transylvania Francis II Rákóczi made Ko?ice the main base in his War for Independence. The fortress was demolished by 1713.

When not under Ottoman suzerainty, Kassa was the seat of the Habsburg "Captaincy of Upper Hungary" and the chair of the Chamber of Szepes County (Spi?, Zips), which was a subsidiary of the supreme financial agency in Vienna responsible for Upper Hungary). Due to Ottoman occupation of Eger, Kassa was the residence of Eger's archbishop from 1596 to 1700.[28]

From 1657, it was the seat of the historic Royal University of Kassa (Universitas Cassoviensis), founded by Bishop Benedict Kishdy. The university was transformed into a Royal Academy in 1777, then into a Law Academy in the 19th century. It ceased to exist in the turbulent year of 1921. After the end of the anti-Habsburg uprisings in 1711, the victorious Austrian armies drove the Ottoman forces back to the south, and this major territorial change created new trade routes which circumvented Ko?ice. The city began to decay and turned from a rich medieval town into a provincial town known for its military base and dependent mainly on agriculture.[29]

In 1723, the Immaculata statue was erected in the place of a former gallows at Hlavná ulica (Main Street) commemorating the plague from the years 1710-1711.[30] This was one of the centers of the Hungarian linguistic revival, which published the first Hungarian-language periodical called the Magyar Museum in Hungary in 1788.[31] The city's walls were demolished step by step from the early 19th century to 1856; only the Executioner's Bastion remained with few parts of the wall. The city became the seat of its own bishopric in 1802. The city's surroundings became a theater of war again during the Revolutions of 1848, when the Imperial cavalry general Franz Schlik defeated the Hungarian army on December 8, 1848, and January 4, 1849. The city was captured by the Hungarian army on February 15, 1849, but the Russian troops drove them back on June 24, 1849.[32]

In 1828, there were three manufacturers and 460 workshops.[33] The first factories were established in the 1840s (sugar and nail factories). The first telegram message arrived in 1856, and the railway connected the city to Miskolc in 1860. In 1873, there were already connections to Eperjes, Zsolna, and Csop (in today's Ukraine). The city gained a public transit system in 1891 when the track was laid down for a horse-drawn tramway. The traction was electrified in 1914.[33] In 1906, Francis II Rákóczi's house of Rodostó was reproduced in Kassa, and his remains were buried in the St. Elisabeth Cathedral.[34]

After World War I and during the gradual break-up of Austria-Hungary, the city at first became a part of the transient "Eastern Slovak Republic", declared on December 11, 1918, in Ko?ice and earlier in Pre?ov under the protection of Hungary. On December 29, 1918, the Czechoslovak Legions entered the city, making it part of the newly established Czechoslovakia. However, in June 1919, Ko?ice was occupied again, as part of the Slovak Soviet Republic, a proletarian puppet state of Hungary. The Czechoslovak troops secured the city for Czechoslovakia in July 1919,[35] which was later upheld under the terms of the Treaty of Trianon in 1920.

Fate of Ko?ice Jews

Jews had lived in Ko?ice since the 16th century but were not allowed to settle permanently. There is a document identifying the local coiner in 1524 as a Jew and claiming that his predecessor was a Jew as well. Jews were allowed to enter the city during the town fair, but were forced to leave it by night, and lived mostly in nearby Rozunfaca. In 1840 the ban was removed, and, a few Jews were living in the town, among them a widow who ran a small Kosher restaurant for the Jewish merchants passing through the town.

Ko?ice was ceded to Hungary, by the First Vienna Award, from 1938 until early 1945. The town was bombarded on June 26, 1941, by a still unidentified aircraft,[36] in what became a pretext for the Hungarian government to declare war on the Soviet Union a day later.

The German occupation of Hungary led to the deportation of Ko?ice's entire Jewish population of 12,000 and an additional 2,000 from surrounding areas via cattle cars to the concentration camps.

In 1946, after the war, Ko?ice was the site of an orthodox Zionist revival, with a Mizrachi convention and a Bnei Akiva Yeshiva (school) for refugees, which, later that year, moved with its students to Israel.[37]

A memorial plaque in honor of 12,000 Jews deported from Ko?ice and the surrounding areas in Slovakia was unveiled at the pre-war Ko?ice Orthodox synagogue in 1992.[38]

Soviet occupation

The Soviet Union captured the town in January 1945, and for a short time, it became a temporary capital of the restored Czechoslovak Republic until the Red Army had reached Prague. Among other acts, the Ko?ice Government Programme was declared on April 5, 1945.[35]

A large population of ethnic Germans in the area was expelled and sent on foot to Germany or to the Soviet border.[39]

After the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia seized power in Czechoslovakia in February 1948, the city became part of the Eastern Bloc. Several cultural institutions that still exist were founded, and large residential areas around the city were built. The construction and expansion of the East Slovak Ironworks caused the population to grow from 60,700 in 1950 to 235,000 in 1991. Before the breakup of Czechoslovakia (1993), it was the fifth-largest city in the federation.

Under Slovakia

Following the Velvet Divorce and creation of the Slovak Republic, Ko?ice became the second-largest city in the country and became a seat of a constitutional court. Since 1995, it has been the seat of the Archdiocese of Ko?ice.


Ko?ice lies at an altitude of 206 metres (676 ft) above sea level and covers an area of 242.77 square kilometres (93.7 sq mi).[40] It is located in eastern Slovakia, about 20 kilometres (12 mi) from the Hungarian, 80 kilometres (50 mi) from the Ukrainian, and 90 kilometres (56 mi) from the Polish borders. It is about 400 kilometres (249 mi) east of Slovakia's capital Bratislava and a chain of villages connects it to Pre?ov which is about 36 kilometres (22 mi) to the north.

Ko?ice is on the Hornád River in the Ko?ice Basin, at the easternmost reaches of the Slovak Ore Mountains. More precisely, it is a subdivision of the ?ierna hora mountains in the northwest and Volovské vrchy mountains in the southwest. The basin is met on the east by the Slanské vrchy mountains.


Ko?ice has a humid continental climate (Köppen: Dfb), as the city lies in the north temperate zone. The city has four distinct seasons with long, warm summers with cool nights and long, cold, and snowy winters. Precipitation varies little throughout the year with abundance precipitation that falls during summer and only few during winter. The coldest month is January, with an average temperature of -2.6 °C (27.3 °F), and the hottest month is July, with an average temperature of 19.3 °C (66.7 °F).[]

Climate data for Ko?ice, Slovakia
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 0.5
Daily mean °C (°F) -2.6
Average low °C (°F) -5.6
Average precipitation mm (inches) 25
Average precipitation days 13 11 10 12 14 14 13 11 10 10 13 14 145
Average relative humidity (%) 78 72 59 51 51 55 53 53 53 61 76 82 62
Mean monthly sunshine hours 67 86 166 204 266 259 282 258 216 153 68 47 2,072
Source 1: World Meteorological Organisation[41]
Source 2: Danish Meteorological Institute (humidity and sun 1931-1960)[42]


Hlavná ulica (Main Street) in historic downtown
Statue of Ko?ice's coat of arms, the first municipal coat of arms in Europe

Ko?ice has a population of 240,688 (December 31, 2011). According to the 2011 census, 73.8% of its inhabitants were Slovaks, 2.65% Hungarians, 2% Romani, 0.65% Czechs, 0.68% Rusyns, 0.3% Ukrainians, and 0.13% Germans. 19% of Ko?ice's population did not declare their ethnic affiliation in the 2011 census.[43]

The religious makeup was 45% Roman Catholics, 16.6% people with no religious affiliation, 6.12% Greek Catholics, and 2.33% Lutherans, 2% Calvinists and 0.11% Jews.[44]

Historical demographics

According to the researchers the town had a German majority until the mid-16th century,[45] and by 1650, 72.5% of the population may have been Hungarians,[note 1] 13.2% was German, 14.3% was Slovak or of uncertain origin.[45] The Ottoman Turkish traveller Evliya Çelebi mentioned that the city was inhabited by "Hungarians, Germans, Upper Hungarians" in 1661 when the city was under the suzerainty of Ottoman Empire and under Turkish control.[45]

The linguistic makeup of the town's population underwent historical changes that alternated between the growth of the ratio of those who claimed Hungarian and those who claimed Slovak as their language. With a population of 28,884 in 1891, just under half (49.9%) of the inhabitants of Ko?ice declared Hungarian, then the official language, as their main means of communication, 33.6% Slovak, and 13.5% German; 72.2% were Roman Catholics, 11.4% Jews, 7.3% Lutherans, 6.7% Greek Catholics, and 4.3% Calvinists.[46] The results of that census are questioned by some historians[47] by a disputed claim that they were manipulated, to increase the percentage of the Magyars during a period of Magyarization.[]

By the 1910 census, which is sometimes accused of being manipulated by the ruling Hungarian bureaucracy,[48] 75.4% of the 44,211 inhabitants claimed Hungarian, 14.8% Slovak, 7.2% German and 1.8% Polish.[49] The Jews were split among other groups by the 1910 census, as only the most frequently-used language, not ethnicity, was registered.[50] The population around 1910 was multidenominational and multiethnic, and the differences in the level of education mirror the stratification of society.[51] The town's linguistic balance began to shift towards Slovak after World War I by Slovakization in the newly-established Czechoslovakia.[]

According to the 1930 census, the city had 70,111, with 230 Gypsies (today Roma), 42 245 Czechoslovaks (today Czechs and Slovaks), 11 504 Hungarians, 3 354 Germans, 44 Poles, 14 Romanians, 801 Ruthenians, 27 Serbocroatians (today Serbs and Croatians) and 5 733 Jews.[52]

As a consequence of the First and Second Vienna Awards, Ko?ice was ceded to Hungary. During the German occupation of Hungary towards the end of World War II, approximately 10,000 Jews were deported by the Arrow Cross Party and the Nazis and killed in Auschwitz.[53] The ethnic makeup of the town was dramatically changed by the persecution of the town's large Hungarian majority, population exchanges between Hungary and Slovakia and Slovakization and by mass migration of Slovaks into newly-built communist-block-microdistricts, which increased the population of Ko?ice four times by 1989 and made it the fastest growing city in Czechoslovakia.[54]


Kasárne Kulturpark
SPOT Va?ecká

Performing arts

There are several theatres in Ko?ice. The Ko?ice State Theater was founded in 1945 (then under the name of the East Slovak National Theater). It consists of three ensembles: drama, opera, and ballet. Other theatres include the Marionette Theatre and the Old Town Theatre (Staromestské divadlo). The presence of Hungarian and Roma minorities makes it also host the Hungarian "Thália" theatre and the professional Roma theatre "Romathan".[55]

Ko?ice is the home of the State Philharmonic Ko?ice (?tátna filharmónia Ko?ice), established in 1968 as the second professional symphonic orchestra in Slovakia. It organizes festivals such as the Ko?ice Music Spring Festival, the International Organ Music Festival, and the Festival of Contemporary art.[56]

Museums and galleries

Some of the museums and galleries based in the city include the East Slovak Museum (Vychodoslovenské múzeum), originally established in 1872 under the name of the Upper Hungarian Museum. The Slovak Technical Museum (Slovenské technické múzeum) with a planetarium, established in 1947, is the only museum in the technical category in Slovakia that specializes in the history and traditions of science and technology.[57] The East Slovak Gallery (Východoslovenská galéria) was established in 1951 as the first regional gallery with the aim to document artistic life in present-day eastern Slovakia.[58]

European Capital of Culture

In 2008 Ko?ice won the competition among Slovak cities to hold the prestigious title European Capital of Culture 2013. Project Interface aims at the transformation of Ko?ice from a centre of heavy industry to a postindustrial city with creative potential and new cultural infrastructure. Project authors bring Ko?ice a concept of the creative economy - merging of economy and industry with arts, where transformed urban space encourages development of certain fields of creative industry (design, media, architecture, music and film production, IT technologies, creative tourism). The artistic and cultural program stems from a conception of sustained maintainable activities with long-lasting effects on cultural life in Ko?ice and its region. The main project venues are:

  • Kasárne Kulturpark - 19th-century military barracks turned into new urban space with a centre of contemporary art, exhibition and concert halls and workshops for the creative industry.[]
  • Kunsthalle [sk] - a 1960s disused swimming pool turned into the first Kunsthalle in Slovakia.
  • SPOTs - the 1970s and 1980s disused heat exchangers turned into cultural "spots" in Communist-Era-block-of-flats districts.
  • City park, Park Komenského and Mojzesova - revitalisation of urban spaces.
  • Castle of Ko?ice, Amfiteáter, Mansion of Krásna, Handicrafts Street - reconstruction.
  • Taba?ka - a 19th-century tobacco factory turned into a centre of independent culture.


The first and the oldest international festival of local TV broadcasters (founded in 1995) - The Golden Beggar, takes place every year in June in Ko?ice.

The oldest evening newspaper is the Ko?ický ve?er. The daily paper in Ko?ice is Korzár. Recently, the daily paper Ko?ice:Dnes (Ko?ice: Today) came into existence.

TV stations based in Ko?ice: TV Na?a, TV Region and public TV broadcaster RTVS Televízne ?túdio Ko?ice.

Radio stations based in Ko?ice: Rádio Ko?ice, Dobré rádio, Rádio Kiss, Rádio ?port, and the public broadcaster RTVS Rádio Regina Ko?ice


Aupark Shopping Centre

Ko?ice is the economic hub of eastern Slovakia. It accounts for about 9% of the Slovak gross domestic product.[] The steel mill, U.S. Steel Ko?ice with 13,500 employees, is the largest employer in the city and the largest private employer in the country.[59] The second-largest employer in the east of the country is Deutsche Telekom IT Solutions Slovakia. It was established and has been based in Ko?ice since 2006. Deutsche Telekom IT Solutions Slovakia had 4,545 employees in Ko?ice in Q4 of 2020, which makes it the second-largest shared service center in Slovakia and one of the top fifteen largest employers in Slovakia. As part of the growing ICT field, Ko?ice IT Valley association was established in 2007 as a joint initiative of educational institutions, government and leading IT companies. In 2012 it was transformed into the cluster. In 2018 the cluster was for the second time certified for "Cluster Management Excellence Label GOLD" as the first in central Europe and is one of three certified clusters in the area of information and communication technologies. Other major sectors include mechanical engineering, food industry, services, and trade.[60] GDP per capita in 2001 was EUR4,004, which was below Slovakia's average of EUR4,400.[60] The unemployment rate was 8.32% in November 2015, which was below the country's average 10.77% at that time.[61]

The city has a balanced budget of 224 million euros, as of 2019).[62]


St. Elisabeth Cathedral in Ko?ice is Slovakia's largest church

The city centre, and most historical monuments, are located in or around the Main Street (Hlavná ulica) and the town has the largest number of protected historical monuments in Slovakia.[63] The most dominant historical monument of the city is Slovakia's largest church, the 14th century Gothic St. Elisabeth Cathedral; it is the easternmost cathedral of western-style Gothic architecture in Central Europe,[63] and is the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Ko?ice. In addition to St. Elisabeth, there is the 14th century St. Michael Chapel, the St. Urban Tower, and the Neo-baroque State Theater in the center of town.

The Executioner's Bastion and the Mill Bastion are the remains of the city's previous fortification system. The Church of the Virgin Mary's Birth is the cathedral for the Greek Catholic Eparchy of Ko?ice. Other monuments and buildings of cultural and historical interest are; the old Town Hall, the Old University, the Captain's Palace, Liberation Square, as well as a number of galleries (the East Slovak Gallery) and museums (the East Slovak Museum). There is a Municipal Park located between the historical city centre and the main railway station. The city also has a zoo located northwest of the city, within the borough of Kave?any.

Places of worship

Late Renaissance, early Baroque Jesuits Church
Empire style Pongrác-Forgács Palace
Historicism style Jakab's Palace
Neo-Renaissance Andrássy Palace
Art Nouveau style coffeehouse Slávia


Divizia - seat of the Ko?ice Self-Governing Region
The seat of the Slovak Constitutional Court

Ko?ice is the seat of the Ko?ice Region, and since 2002 it is the seat of the autonomous Ko?ice Self-governing Region. Additionally, it is the seat of the Slovak Constitutional Court. The city hosts a regional branch of the National Bank of Slovakia (Národná banka Slovenska) and consulates of Hungary, Belgium, Spain, Russia and Turkey.

The local government is composed of a mayor (Slovak: primátor), a city council (mestské zastupite?stvo), a city board (mestská rada), city commissions (Komisie mestského zastupite?stva), and a city magistrate's office (magistrát). The directly elected mayor is the head and chief executive of the city. The term of office is four years. The previous mayor, Franti?ek Knapík, was nominated in 2006 by a coalition of four political parties KDH, SMK, and SDKÚ-DS. In 2010 he finished his term of office.[64] The present mayor is Ing. Jaroslav Pola?ek. He was inaugurated on December 10, 2018.[65]

Administratively, the city of Ko?ice is divided into four districts: Ko?ice I (covering the center and northern parts), Ko?ice II (covering the southwest), Ko?ice III (east), and Ko?ice IV (south) and further into 22 boroughs (wards):


Ko?ice is the second university town in Slovakia, after Bratislava. The Technical University of Ko?ice is its largest university, with 16,015 students, including 867 doctoral students.[66] A second major university is the Pavol Jozef ?afárik University, with 7,403 students, including 527 doctoral students.[67] Other universities and colleges include the University of Veterinary Medicine in Ko?ice (1,381 students)[68] and the private Security Management College in Ko?ice (1,168 students).[69] Additionally, the University of Economics in Bratislava, the Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra, and the Catholic University in Ru?omberok each have a branch based in the city.

There are 38 public elementary schools, six private elementary schools, three religious elementary schools, and one International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) candidate international school.[70] Overall, they enroll 20,158 pupils.[70] The city's system of secondary education (some middle schools and all high schools) consists of 20 gymnasia with 7,692 students,[71] 24 specialized high schools with 8,812 students,[72] and 13 vocational schools with 6,616 students.[73][74]

Kosice International School (KEIS) is the first international primary school in Eastern Slovakia. It will be an International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) international school. Opening in September 2020.[75]

Notable personalities

Elizabeth of Hungary, patron saint of Ko?ice (1207-1231)
Francis II Rákóczi, Hungarian nobleman (1676-1735)
Ferenc Szálasi, former head of state of Hungary (1897-1946)
Sándor Márai, Hungarian writer and journalist (1900-1989)
Martina Hingis, Swiss tennis player (b. 1980)
Tomá? Jur?o, Slovak ice hockey player (b. 1992)
Anna Karolína Schmiedlová, Slovak tennis player (b. 1994)
Viktória Ku?mová, Slovak tennis player (b. 1998)
David Dobrik, American-based YouTube personality (b. 1996)


Public transport in Ko?ice is managed by Dopravný podnik mesta Ko?ice[76] (literally the Public transport Company of the city of Ko?ice). The municipal mass transit system is the oldest one in present-day Slovakia, with the first horse-car line beginning operation in 1891 (electrified in 1914).[33] Today, the city's public transportation system is composed of buses (in use since the 1950s), trams, and trolleybuses (since 1993).

Ko?ice railway station is a rail hub of eastern Slovakia. The city is connected by rail to Prague, Bratislava, Pre?ov, ?ierna nad Tisou, Humenné, Miskolc (Hungary), and Zvolen. There is a broad gauge track from Ukraine, leading to the steel mill southwest of the city. The D1 motorway connects the city to Pre?ov, and more motorways and roads are planned around the city.[77]

Ko?ice International Airport is located south of the city. Regular direct flights from the airport are available to London Luton and Stansted (from April 2020), Vienna, Warsaw, Düsseldorf and Prague.[78] Regular flights are provided by Czech Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Eurowings, LOT Polish Airlines and Wizz Air and in code-share by KLM-Air France and Lufthansa. At its peak in the year 2008, it served 590,919 passengers, but the number has since declined.[79]


The oldest annual marathon in Europe and the third oldest in the entire world, after the Boston Marathon and the Yonkers Marathon. Ko?ice Peace Marathon (founded in 1924.) is run in the historic part of the city organized every year on the first Sunday of October.

Ice hockey club HC Ko?ice is one of the most successful Slovak hockey clubs. It plays in Slovakia's highest league, the Extraliga, and has won eight titles in 1995, 1996, 1999, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2014, and 2015; and two titles (1986 and 1988) in the former Czechoslovak Extraliga. Since 2006, their home is the Steel Aréna which has a capacity of 8,343 spectators. Football club MFK Ko?ice bankrupted. It was the first club from Slovakia reach the group stages of the UEFA Champions League and is a two times domestic league winner (1998 and 1999). Another football club FC Ko?ice is currently in the second league with his new home stadium Ko?ická futbalová Arena (KFA).

Ko?ice, along with Bratislava hosted the 2011 and 2019 IIHF World Championship in ice hockey.

Ko?ice became the 2016 European City of Sport[80] by the European Capitals of Sports Association (ACES Europe). The sporting events in 2016 included "the International Peace Marathon, several urban runs, a swimming relay contest, the Ko?ice-Tatry- Ko?ice cycling race, the dancesport world championships, the Basketball Euroleague, Volleyball World League and Water Polo World League".[81]

International relations

The Tree of Partnership on Hlavná Street

Twin towns - sister cities

Ko?ice has several partner towns and sister cities around the world:[82]

See also


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  • Dreisziger, Nándor F. (1972). "New Twist to an Old Riddle: The Bombing of Kassa (Ko?ice), June 26, 1941". Journal of Modern History. 44 (2): 232-42. doi:10.1086/240751. S2CID 143124708.

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