Kosice - the 2013 European Capital of Culture
The City of Kosice is along with Marseille in France, the European Capital of Culture for 2013. There are hundreds of events planned, starting on January 19, 2013.
This region is characterized by the diversity of its geographic landscapes, alternating between plains and mountainous regions. The efforts made to preserve the natural environment in a dynamic economic region, plus the cultural and historical monuments, make Kosice a very attractive place to visit. Kosice, the second largest city in the country, also offers tourist infrastructure and various options for arriving there (airport, train station, buses). In addition to its cultural riches, the city also has many natural attractions including a zoo and a botanical garden. It is in this region that the national park called "Slovak Paradise" is located. The Herlany Geyser should also be mentioned.
Kosice is the center of East Slovakia. This city, the second largest in Slovakia, has a long and rich history as an important and wealthy regional hub under the Austro-Hungarian empire. In the town center is the magnificent Gothic cathedral, the Cathedral of St. Elizabeth, as well as the Chapel of St. Michael, the Urban Tower and the Neo-Baroque State Theatre where good quality orchestras perform. The Katova Citadel and the Mlynska Citadel are witnesses to the ancient system of fortifications for protecting the city against its enemies. The visitor can also discover the beauty of several other monuments and buildings of great cultural and historical interest (the old Town Hall, the old University, the Captain's Palace, Liberation Square, etc.) as well as several galleries and museums (the East Slovak Museum). Many sites are being redeveloped for the European City of Culture events, inclusing a planned Kunsthalle in a former swimming pool an various locations around the historical city centre, including the quiet of Municipal Park located in the area between the Train Station and the city center.
The Jasov Monastery, the Betliar Castle and Krasna Horka are located in the surrounding areas of Kosice.
The most splendid site is certainly that of the fortified castle of Spis (Spissky hrad). It is one of the biggest castles in Central Europe and it is part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. Situated on top of a hill, it dominates a spectacularly beautiful region. It has been restored and contains several exhibitions. A must-see!!!
The Slovak Paradise National Park is a protected natural area which extends over 140 sq. km. It has an infinite variety of natural riches: a network of underground galleries, caves and animal and botanical reserves. Among the natural reserves which make up this group are the White Valley (Biela dolina) which has, notably a huge waterfall, the Lost Valley and its ice cave (one of the most precious elements of the Slovak Paradise), the Dobsinka Ice Cave (120,000 m3 of permanent ice), Kocurova, Sucha bela, the valley decorated with remarkable geo-morphological shapes, the small and large "Kysel", the large ravine with waterfalls and caves (bear caves).