Košice is the centre and capital of Eastern Slovakian culture, and almost all of the regions top museums are found in this gem. History here goes way back and traverses many peoples and cultures, ensuring a varied collection of museums and galleries for intrepid explorers to, erm, explore. Culture vultures, this one’s for you. Non-culture vultures, you should pay attention as well.
Košice is the de facto capital of East Slovakia, so it is no great shock to find the definitive East Slovak Museum in this marvellous city. Speaking of ‘marvellous’, the building in which the museum is housed is worth a bit of appreciation in itself, a Neo-Renaissance piece of wonder that was completed in the early part of the 20th century, the first building in town built to be used specifically as a museum. And what a museum, as everything you need to know about this part of the world awaits inside. Many museums and exhibitions in the city come under the museum’s umbrella, including the Executioner’s Basion and the Francis II Rákócski memorial house.
Established all the way back in 1951, Košice’s East Slovak Gallery actually has the honour of being the first regional gallery in the entire country. This is the premier gallery in this part of the world, a varied house of more than 7,000 pieces of work that keep the vibrant heart of East Slovak art beating day after day. The building itself is impressive, an 18th century Baroque beauty that played a key role in the establishment of post-WWII Czechoslovakia.
Who doesn’t love visiting prison on their holidays? We meant this in the touristic sense of course, not in the ‘Banged Up Abroad’ sort of way. Besides, the Mikluš Prison hasn’t functioned as the slammer for many years, instead presenting itself as one of the most fascinating museums in the summer. See the old cells, how the condemned (guilty or not) were executed as well as checking out a display of executioner’s swords. This is a grisly piece of history that will intrigue and terrify in equal measure, depending on how empathetic you are. The interesting architectural history of this part of this town is also explored.
His widely-enjoyed back catalogue may have been written in Hungarian, but Sándor Márai remains the most popular author to have been born in Košice, at least until the emergence of a modern-day superstar. The house in which Márai was born has been turned into something of a shrine to the great man, with many manuscripts, artefacts and photographs within, including the famous globe that the great man always carried.