For a long time Košice served as one of the vital commercial crossroads of Europe. It has always been the centre of Eastern Slovakia, a region of special importance within the Kingdom of Hungary.
Medieval Košice was one of the most densely populated urban areas of the Kingdom. In the 13th century, an association of 24 towns of the Spiš region was formed here, as well as the association of 7 mining towns and the so called Pentapolitana, which united the 5 most important cities of Upper Hungary.
The first written record of the city dates back to 1230. The oldest Hungarian guild regulations dating back to 1307 and the fact that in 1369 Košice became the first city ever to be granted its own coat of arms are testimonies to the rapid growth of the city, due to its strategic location and Royal privileges. Since the early 15th century, Košice presided over the Pentapolitana association and maintained its position as the second city of the Kingdom after Buda (today’s Budapest) from 1347 until the early 18th century. The founding of a university in Košice in 1657 was a natural reaction to its economic, administrative and political status.
The historical centre of Košice, whose medieval city walls were removed in the 18th century, is today formed by a nearly one kilometer long promenade lined with exquisite historical buildings, once inhabited by medieval kings and nobility. Together with craftsmen’s houses, churches, squares and narrow streets, they create an atmosphere full of legends and stories. You can uncover these and much more of the city’s history, science, culture and art at some of the exhibitions available in the city centre, dominated by a medieval square, the heart of the largest conservation area in Slovakia.
Buildings of great historical and architectural value line the lens-shaped city centre – a lens through which you can look into history.