Home    Archive issue    2014    October 2014/Special issue dedicated to the transformation of the city of Kosice the year after the European Capital of Culture 2013

October 2014/Special issue dedicated to the transformation of the city of Kosice the year after the European Capital of Culture 2013

Renewed Identity of Kosice
Košice is changing to a European metropolis
Green Heart of the City
Revived Villa Sandy
Laboratory of Living Culture
Hall of Modern Art
Housing Estate Cultural Centres
Komenského East Park
The project is alive and continues
Komenského West Park
Mysterious Košice Castle Complex
Urban park Moyzesova
Amphitheater Renewal
Crafts Lane
House of Crafts and Casemates
New Face of Small Scene
Theatre museum in Thalia
The courtyard of the Barkóczy palace
A new extension to the Ján Bocacius Library
Underground Hall of Modern Art
Playful Technical Experiments
Ruins turned into a Magnificent Manor House
Mini- Skanzen and Illuminated Exhibits in the Safe
The Puppet Theatre's modern atrium
Prison Cell in the Library
King Matthias South Tower


Editorial
Renewed Identity of Kosice
Europe already recorded a significant cultural and economic boom of Košice in the 14th and 15th centuries. It was related not only to royal privileges, but especially to a hundred-year-long construction of a Gothic cathedral- St.. Elizabeth´s Cathedral and the cult of the Holy Blood of Christ. This genius loci had formed a profile of the city as a major Christian pilgrimage place at the crossroads of West and East Christianity in the Hungarian Kingdom. Pilgrims, colonists, craftsmen and traders were the driving force in this flourishing medieval town. After Buda, Košice was the second free royal town in Hungary, and reached its greatest expansion during the reign of humanistic Matthias Corvinus, a King of Hungary and an Austrian Duke. During his era, at the end of the 15th century, the town reached its peak with nearly 10,000 inhabitants, the town belonged to the largest in Europe.
Košice lost its clear identity and position after the Battle of Mohács (1526), by which Turk opened the gates to Europe. The Reformation, Protestantism and anti-Habsburg uprisings of Hungarian aristocracy for religious freedom and the restoration of the independence of Hungary dominated Košice for over a hundred years. Religious struggle between Catholics and Protestants for St. Elizabeth´s Cathedral in Košice in 1604 eventually led to the unleashing of the Thirty Years War in Europe. And then a series of six strong anti-Habsburg uprisings of the Hungarian aristocracy in Upper Hungary (the territory of Slovakia), commanded by Princes of Transylvania. During this period, Košice oscillated between the Principality of Transylvania and the Habsburg Monarchy. Some time it was the capital of the Austrian Upper Hungary, other times the residential town of Transylvanian princes and their uprisings. When the Jesuit University (1657), the easternmost university in Europe, was built in Košice at the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries, the town had already held its strong anti-Turkish position and became a centre of re-Catholisation in Upper Hungary. Satu- Mare (religious) Peace (1711) brought to Kosice its definitive integration into the Habsburg Empire and nearly a century of peace and development having been supervised by Vienna.
In its background, there was religious freedom, smoldering liberalism, and consolidation of political and economic powers of the Habsburgs in Hungary. Palaces and townhouses in both Baroque and Renaissance styles were being built while the town spread even its walls. Thus the 18th century formed and extended the foundations of the current historical center, which is today the largest urban conservation reserve in Slovakia. Due to this construction boom, which partly followed up a year after the Austro-Hungarian settlement (1867-1914).
Like more than 600 years ago, the construction of the St. Elizabeth´s Cathedral was “the main engine "of the medieval development of Kosice, the Project Interface and the title of European Capital of Culture 2013 Košice could be a driving force for current and future projects in Košice, which is the first ever Slovak city that was lent the title by the European Commission and the European Parliament in order to introduce its cultural life and its further development to Europe.
More than 20 investment projects worth more than € 70 million woke up not just the Košice public, cultural, creative and business community, but religious circles as well. In 2013, the March for Life has suddenly become the largest event in Košice, but also in Slovakia. Investment projects of Košice City and the Košice self- governing region and the Ministry of Culture of the SR, which became the basis of a new cultural infrastructure in the city, initiated  religious and cultural tourism in Košice. And of course, the debate about the culture of life, Europe's cultural identity and the identity of the city of Košice. Thanks to the restoration and reconstruction of St. Elisabeth´s Cathedral in Košice, the Eucharistic miracle and lost medieval relics have again started to be talked about ...
The idea of ​​reconciling European cities through the Project of the European Capital of Culture came from Melina Mercouri, a former Greek Minister for Culture. For the first time, it was presented on June 13, 1985 at the Council of the European Union. And this is also the reason why her beloved Athens became the first city in Europe, which won the title originally having been given the name- The European City of Culture.
The list so far consists of 50 cities, out of which Košice is the seventh from the region of Central and East Europe (the first were Prague and Krakow in 2000). Originally, the cities were being chosen based on their cultural history, scheduled events and the ability to support project by funds and infrastructure. Since 2004, the title of this degree is understood as a stimulus to cultural development and investment to the city chosen. The main objectives are the promotion of sustainable development, building partnerships with other cities, raise the profile of the city at an international level, changing its image, increase domestic and foreign tourism and the expansion of boundaries of cultural audience.
Due to the implementation of creative and ambitious project in Košice, which has since become a source of inspiration for other Slovak and European cities, Košice have been awarded the Melina Mercouri Award. This shows that the citizens of Košice and the city of Košice are rightly proud of their city. Our editorial staff has been motivated by this success and we have prepared this special Slovakia-English issue of Dimenzie, which is devoted not only to the architectural and cultural transformations of the city, but also to its new ambitions and leaders. Thanks to the ECOC 2013, Košice has returned to the Central European cultural and destination map of Europe. Due to its original as well as new identity.
Mgr. Róbert Matejovič, Editor- in -Chief
 
Reflections
Košice clearly raised its profile
Writes Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth
Successful European Capitals of Culture are those which manage to fully use their title to create a positive impact on the city's cultural, social and economic life. From what I have seen and heard, I consider that Košice used the title as an excellent opportunity to open the city's culture to Europe, to build international contacts and to diversify its economy through the development of its creative industries. Art festivals such as 'Use the City' or 'Sound City Days' have been created in public spaces and have succeeded in attracting large audiences. I hope that such events now take place regularly. I was also particularly impressed by the SPOTs project – transforming former heating buildings into community and art centres in five neighbourhoods in the city. This was a good way to develop creativity outside of traditional cultural structures and to involve the citizens in their communities.
Indeed, one important result of many successful European Capitals of Culture has been the increased participation of the general public in cultural activities, as spectators but also – and perhaps more interestingly – as participants.
European Capitals of Culture provide Europeans with the opportunity to meet and discover the great cultural diversity of the European Union and to look afresh at our shared history and values. Košice was good at drawing the attention of visitors to its history as a multicultural city and a crossroads in Europe, which can foster dialogue across geographical and cultural boundaries. This was reflected in a multi-ethnic programme of events and activities embracing the city's Jewish, Hungarian and Roma heritage.
I am convinced that the title has been instrumental in raising the profile of the city and in developing long-term collaboration with cultural operators from across Europe, for example with Marseille-Provence, the other 2013 European Capital of Culture. I very much hope that six months after the end of the title year, the people of Košice and, more broadly, of Slovakia feel that they are more closely connected with the rest of Europe and the European 'project'.
The European Capitals of Culture benefit from a strong international reputation, since they provide cities with an important opportunity for visibility. I personally very much enjoyed my visit to the city when I took part in the opening celebrations for the year.
One of the major achievements of the European Capital of Culture in Košice has clearly been in raising the external and international profile of the city and putting it on Europe's cultural map, through the many events and activities organised throughout the year, through increased partnerships with artists and cultural organisations from all over Europe and a further field, but also from the positive international press coverage it received.
It is now up to Košice's local authorities, with the assistance of the city's key stakeholders, to ensure a legacy to the title and transform its success into a longer-term strategy, for the permanent benefit of its citizens.
 
Personality
Košice is changing to a European metropolis
“In Europe we are acquiring the nickname of East Berlin. The year 2013 was the beginning of a new era of our city,“ emphasizes Richard Raši, Mayor of Košice.
 
Photoreport
Green Heart of the City
Renovated City Park became a new landmark in Košice.
 
We were interested
Revived Villa Sandy
Since 2016, there will be a restaurant, a café and events like balls, dancing Sunday afternoons and “afternoon tea” will be held there.
 
Investstory
Laboratory of Living Culture
The Army barracks have been turned into a creative urban quarter called Kulturpark
Photoreport
Hall of Modern Art
It is the first Slovak Kunsthalle after the conversion of the original, malfunctioning and decaying buildings of an indoor swimming pool.
 
Report
Housing Estate Cultural Centres
SPOTs offer not only the cultural and scientific but also sports activities for people of all ages.
 
Photoreport
Komenského East Park
It is a renewed relaxation zone mainly for families and children´s activities located in front of Poliklinika Sever (Policlinics North) in the city area of Košice- Sever (North).
 
Commentary
The project is alive and continues
“It has created all material, financial and human conditions for its rich heritage and long-term sustainability of the started processes,” says Ján Sudzina the former director of the non-profit organization Košice - European Capital of Culture 2013.
 
Photoreport
Komenského West Park
The park location follows the campus of the Technical University. I is mainly used as a recreational area for students and seniors.
 
Mysterious Košice Castle Complex
The investment activities within the Project ECOC 2013 also included the revitalization and opening of the archaeological site on top of Hradová Hill.
 
Urban park Moyzesova
Since its reconstruction and opening a section of the park as an open air gallery, it has been providing quality natural environment for recreation, sports, entertainment and cultural activities.
 
Amphitheater Renewal
The popular Košice amphitheater with a capacity of 12,000 spectators has eventually been saved.
Opinion Poll
How do you perceive Košice, year after hosting the European Capital of Culture? How can Košice help Slovakia and the European Union?
 
Investstory
Crafts Lane
It wants to resurrect and to illustrate a once glorious era of guilds and crafts.
 
House of Crafts and Casemates
It offers exterior presentation of the history of crafts and fortification of Košice and it is connected to the renovated historic casemates in the Executioner's Bastion.
 
Photoreport
New Face of Small Scene
Its extensive structural and technological reconstruction (nearly 4.5 million. Euros) placed it among the most important investment projects within the ECOC 2013.
Theatre museum in Thalia
Multi-functional building used by ethnic Hungarian theatre Thalia Színház finally got rejuvenated.
 
Report
The courtyard of the Barkóczy palace
It got some new features, a non-traditional fixed seating in the shape of fingers evoking listing through pages of a book.
 
A new extension to the Ján Bocacius Library
A small atrium, found between the new glass hall and the brick annex of the old building, providing a space where one can relax or play chess on the floor-based chess board.
 
Photoreport
Underground Hall of Modern Art
With its contemporary architectural expression, the East Gallery in Kosice has prepared high-standard conditions for mediation the art and visual culture. .
 
Playful Technical Experiments
In a new Science and Technology Centre are 119 original interactive exhibits which using entertaining and educational form popularize science, technology and natural sciences.
 
Story
Ruins turned into a Magnificent Manor House
A baroque - classical manor house in Krásna, which had been in ruins for 25 years, has become a new social and cultural hit.
 
Photoreport
Mini- Skanzen and Illuminated Exhibits in the Safe
The East Slovak Museum in Košice and the last part of the extensive renovation of its historic buildings.
 
The Puppet Theatre's modern atrium
The new infrastructure has enriched productions and enabled the theatre welcome presenting plays of visiting European puppet theatres.
 
Prison Cell in the Library
The result of the investments is a modern center of regional studies - Bibliotheca Cassoviensis with a small prison cell in the State Scientific Library.  
Report
King Matthias South Tower
Its first restoration and reconstruction were carried out 536 years after its construction.
 

 

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