St. Elisabeth Cathedral is Slovakia"s biggest church, as well as one of the easternmost Gothic cathedrals in Europe. The record on the existence of Košice, dating from 1230, is connected with that of the existence of the rectory church. According to historic data the present-day cathedral was built on the site of an edifice of older date which was consecrated to St. Elisabeth as well. It was referred to in the document of Pope Martin V of the year 1283 and in the letter of 1290, which stated that the bishop of Eger Andrew II exempted Košice parish from the dean"s sphere of jurisdiction.
This medieval monument was built in the High Gothic style between 1378 and 1508 in several stages on the site of a parish church that burned down in 1370, in memory of Saint Elisabeth of Hungary, the patron of all armed mercenaries and also Portugal.
The cathedral was often damaged by calamities (1556) and underwent numerous restorations. The most extensive restoration works took place in the years 1877-1896 by the drafts of Imre Steindl. The northern tower was completed in 1775, while the southern, Matthias tower in 1904. During the last phase of the restoration, a crypt was built under the northern nave of the cathedral. In 1906 the remains of Francis II Rákóczi and his friends from Rodosto were buried there.
On its southern side of the cathedral there is an entrance chamber with the royal oratory above it and chapels on its sides. The southern steeple, the so-called Matejova, dates from 1461 and the northern steeple with Rococo helm dating from 1775 complete the western front of the cathedral. The western portal is decorated with embossed scenes with the following biblical motifs: Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, Piety and Towel of St. Verona. The richest and artistically the most valuable is the northern portal with the embossed painting. The Last Trial executed in two rows one above the other. Also to be seen here are embossed paintings from the life of St. Elisabeth, Virgin Mary with women, St. John with soldiers. Above them there is one more painting the Crucifixion. In the middle of the northern portal there is a sculpture of St. Elizabeth. The southern portal has two entrances and forms an integral part of the whole composition according to the original design of the southern entrance chamber.
The interior of the St. Elizabeth Cathedral is very imposing and valuable. In this respect particular mention should be made of the main altar of St. Elizabeth, a hanged sculpture of Immaculata, the Late Gothic altar Visit of Virgin Mary, a stone epitaph of the Reiner family, a wooden sculpture of Virgin Mary, fragments of the wall painting The Last Trial, the side altar of St. Anton Paduansky, a wall painting The Resurrection, the bronze font, the altar painting of St. Anna Metercia, Gothic Calvary, the lantern of the king Matthew, wooden polychrome sculptures, the side altar Worship of Three Kings, Neo-Gothic stone pulpit. Valuable masterpieces and relics are preserved in the treasury.References:
The Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture.
The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.
The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.
The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.
Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.
The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.