St. Elisabeth Cathedral

Košice, Slovakia

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.

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Founded: 1378
Category: Religious sites in Slovakia

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4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

&Tilly (2 years ago)
It’s truly a colossal church. Very ornate and standing out from far away. The outside pattern reminds of those of Vienna’s Stefansdom. Surely worth visiting when in Košice.
Guillermo Carrillo (3 years ago)
Gorgeous gothic architecture! This is truly an amazing church. There’s so much detail, just need to take a few hours to carefully appreciate its magnificence! My wife and I got married here and it felt like a dream, the sound of the organ and the music inside this superb acoustic structure was out of this world. If you are in Kosice it’s definitely a must see spot.
Pratomo Aji (3 years ago)
Nice old town with some interesting places and beautiful architecture, one of them is St. Elisabeth's Cathedral. We enjoyed our time here during winter, which everything was beautifully covered with snow. The old town is easy to get around and doesn't take much time to see whole area of the old town
soneri deshpande (3 years ago)
Highly recommend visiting this church, especially in the early hours of the morning! Built from 1378-1508, this is one of the oldest and the largest church in Slovakia. It has beautiful interior with gorgeous stained glasses which shine bright as the first rays of the morning hit them and illuminate the whole cathedral. The church has a morning service that goes on until 7:45-8am. The whole service was tranquil and extremely calming.
Shivesh Karan (3 years ago)
A beautiful church located in the heart of Kosice with amazing views of the entire city from the tower. The price for going up the tower is 3 euros. It is one of the major attractions in the city. I even managed to witness a wedding at the church.
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In 1816, Austrian authorities liquidated the abbey, and in 1821-1826, it was the seat of the Bishop of Tyniec, Grzegorz Tomasz Ziegler. The monks, however, did not return to the abbey until 1939, and in 1947, remodelling of the neglected complex was initiated. In 1968, the Church of St. Peter and Paul was once again named the seat of the abbot. The church itself consists of a Gothic presbytery and a Baroque main nave. Several altars were created by an 18th-century Italian sculptor Francesco Placidi. The church also has a late Baroque pulpit by Franciszek Jozef Mangoldt.