Hlavná ulica, literally translated as the Main Street, is the hearth of Kosice and, most importantly, it is the oldest part of the city.
Since there are many interesting spots you would not want to overlook, this guide is here to help you not to miss the essentials.
Bus stops "Namestie Maratona Mieru" and "Namestie Osloboditelov" are both located on the opposite sides of Hlavna street. With direct access to the promenade, these squares are a good starting point when exploring the downtown. Our guide will start on "Namestie Osloboditelov" which is the southern point of the promenade.
Aupark is a major shopping center located just south of Hlavna Street. The building is very controversial, even though it does not open until Fall 2011. Ever since its proposal it has been a subject of disputes among developers, historians, cultural activists, city council, architects and many others. During it's construction, the historic City Wall was unearthed. The construction destroyed most of it and only a small part was saved and preserved. Also, architects claim that this modern structure does not fit into the historical city center of Kosice and questions about the value of the land are part of the controversy as well. However, even after all of these issues, one of the biggest shopping centers in Kosice is now built, set to provide ample store space and free parking to thousands of visitors.
Slavia is a Art-Noveau building which serves as a Hotel and Coffee House. The first mention of this building comes from tax books from 1480. In 1787 there was a cowshed for 16 animals. Fire in 1841 destroyed a major part of the building and a reconstruction was required. The last reconstruction came in 1902 after the change of the owner and Slavia become one of the most beautiful secession buildings in the region. Formerly known as Savoy and Royal, today Slavia relfects its history through its interior and is therefore a very popular and classy Coffee spot. You can see some historic photos.
St. Elisabet's Cathedral is definitely the most popular and the best known monument of Kosice. It is Slovakia's biggest church as well as the easternmost Gothic cathedral in Europe. A reference to Košice dating from 1230 is connected to that of the existence of this church. In the process of the settlement's transformation from a rural community into a town, all the periods of success and failures had been reflected on St. Elisabeth's Cathedral. The Cathedral is not completely finished and there are discussions about weather to finish it today or leave it the way that all of the previous generations have known it. However, the existing Cathedral has gone through many substantial reconstructions. Very popular is also HDR photo of this monument. To do it justice, this monument requires more than just a few lines, so I recommend Wikipedia and of course a personal visit. You can visit it all day long without an entry fee and if the tower is open (right next to the entry to the Cathedral), you can climb the many stairs for an amazing view of the historic part of the city and its buildings.
Urban's Tower also known as St. Urban Tower is a Gothic building with pyramidal roof. It dates originally from 14th Century. Today, you can find a wax museum on its premises. In 1966 the Tower and it's bell were partly destroyed. During the reconstruction, the tower was given a new bell while the one that was originally present is now reconstructed and located in front of the building.
Fountain with Zodiac signs is the second major fountain of the historic center. Many believe that if you touch your zodiac sign, make a wish and walk 3 times around the fountain, your wish will become a reality.
Immaculate (Plague Column) - The Immaculata Statue is the most beautiful Baroque-style sculptured monument in the city. It commemorates the plague of 1710 -1711 and was built between 1720 - 1723. It is a 14meters high column on a stone base with sculptures of Josef, Sebastian and Ladislav. On the top is the sculpture of Virgin Mary. On the pillars of the fence are sculptures of St. Gabriel, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, St. Margita, St. Michael the archangel and St. Barbora. It can be seen and admired from the grounds of the Zodiac Fountain.
Aida is the most popular patisserie among the local citizens. It's fame comes from the past when long lineups of people used to wait for its ice-cream. Today, it is located in The Andrassy's Palace and the owner plans to reconstruct it to make it look more classical. Original location was in a much smaller building on Postova street, only some 200metres from it. Due to its popularity, there are also 2 smaller locations on the different ends of the city center.
Beggar's House is located on the same side of Hlavna Street as the Hilton Hotel. The legend says that it is a place where a beggar used to ask people for money. Kosice's citizens were so generous to him that he was able to build this house. To show his gratitude, at the top of the building he sends his "Thanks" to everyone on Hlavna Street.
Tesco building signifies that you are at the end of Hlavna Street because you have almost reached Namestie Maratona Mieru. There is also a lot to see. The National Museum with popular Golden Treasure exhibit is located on the square, just behind the statue of a Marathoner who serves as a reminder that Kosice hosts the second oldest marathon in Europe. On the other side, the building of Kosice Self-Governing Region is located.
Hlavna Street is the place to be in the summer when it is full of cafeterias and patios. You can sit in these summer gardens and people-watch, admire the historical buildings or just enjoy a coffee or a summer cocktail. In 2011, summer gardens are allowed to open all across Hlavna on April 1st. Of course, this is subject to good weather conditions. Even though prices on Kosice's Hlavna Street are usually higher then in other parts of the city, the little extra money is definitely worth it. The entry to many of the historical sites is free of charge after all.