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The concept of the lenticular historical town core of Košice City

Date of Submission: 12/06/2002
Criteria: (ii)(iv)(v)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
Institut of Monuments Preservation, Bratislava e-mail: supsop1@pamiatky.sk
Coordinates: 48°45' E / 21°15' N
Ref.: 1734

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Alongside with the unique ground-plane organisation, typical just for the region of the East Slovakia, the historical town core has got the preserved valuable compact set of buildings, including even medieval ones located in the centre of the town. It grew up on the crossroads of the long-distance merchant roads, connecting the East Europe with the West Europe and the Baltic with the Black Sea. The settlement persisted here already since the Palaeolithic Age. Its exceptional ground-plane concept is the oldest, the largest and the most preserved one among the East Slovakian towns. Clearly readable street network is formed by the three streets, aiming from the North to the South, the middle one is gradually widened into the shape of a lens and in its largest span, on the crossroads with the street from the East, the parish church has been built. It was built in the centre of a market settlement already in the 2nd half of the 13th century as a one-nave church by the German colonists. The colonists acquired the town privileges already before the year 1249, when they also settled at several older settlements. The title "free royal town" was acquired by the town after the decisive victory of Karol Robert of Anjou in the battle at Rozhanovce in year 1312, where the burghers stood by the side of the emperor. The important position of the town in the country was followed by an economic development and the urbanisation of the town, where main source of the economic growth was the trade with linens, fustian, furs, wine and other commodities, Already in the 14th century Kosice was the second most important town in Hungary. Its nobleness was represented also by then newly built the St. Elizabeth's Dome, at which an important stoneworks came to existence. Its masters got the invitation to the constructions all over the country and also to the royal court. Already in this time the town was protected by a huge ring of ramparts. In the 15th century there was a mint and many craftsman guilds resided there, where the oldest articles of craftsman guild preserved in Slovakia belong just to the Kosice furrier guild. The important role of the town in the end of the 15th century, when the Ján Jiskra, the great governor of Saris, resided in the town, was multiplied after the Mohác battle. The inhabitants, leaving the South of the country gradually occupied by the Turk armies, settled in Kosice that for a certain time performed the position of the capital of Upper Hungary. Stagnation, caused by the discovery of America and the transition of trade interests to the West coasts of Europe and the continuous religious conflicts during the reformation and the following re-catholicization contributed to the economic decline in the 17 century. Despite given fact the Jesuit university came to existence in the town in the year 1657, in 1670 it was equalised with then European universities. The shape of the town was significantly changed in the 18th century when the new suburbs with manufactures were coming to existence, attracting the new inhabitants from the country, on the falling ramparts. In the end of the 19th century the town gets the characteristic dominants in the centre of the town, typical for this time: the redoubt and the theatre. At that time also the houses of burgesses got their contemporary facades that consequently hide the originally medieval and later development stages of the historical built-up area.