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:
Heraclea Lyncestis was an ancient Greek city in Macedon, ruled later by the Romans. It was founded by Philip II of Macedon in the middle of the 4th century BC. The city was named in honor of the mythological hero Heracles. The name Lynkestis originates from the name of the ancient kingdom, conquered by Philip, where the city was built.
Heraclea was a strategically important town during the Hellenistic period, as it was at the edge of Macedon"s border with Epirus to the west and Paeonia to the north, until the middle of the 2nd century BC, when the Romans conquered Macedon and destroyed its political power. The main Roman road in the area, Via Egnatia went through Heraclea, and Heraclea was an important stop. The prosperity of the city was maintained mainly due to this road.
The Roman emperor Hadrian built a theatre in the center of the town, on a hill, when many buildings in the Roman province of Macedonia were being restored. It began being used during the reign of Antoninus Pius. Inside the theatre there were three animal cages and in the western part a tunnel. The theatre went out of use during the late 4th century AD, when gladiator fights in the Roman Empire were banned, due to the spread of Christianity, the formulation of the Eastern Roman Empire, and the abandonment of, what was then perceived as, pagan rituals and entertainment.
In the early Byzantine period (4th to 6th centuries AD) Heraclea was an important episcopal centre. A small and a great basilica, the bishop"s residence, and a funerary basilica and the necropolis are some of the remains of this period. Three naves in the Great Basilica are covered with mosaics of very rich floral and figurative iconography; these well preserved mosaics are often regarded as fine examples of the early Christian art period.
The city was sacked by Ostrogoth/Visigoth forces, commanded by Theodoric the Great in 472 AD and again in 479 AD. It was restored in the late 5th and early 6th century. When an earthquake struck in 518 AD, the inhabitants of Heraclea gradually abandoned the city. Subsequently, at the eve of the 7th century, the Dragovites, a Slavic tribe pushed down from the north by the Avars, settled in the area. The last coin issue dates from ca. 585, which suggests that the city was finally captured by the Slavs. As result, in place of the deserted city theatre several huts were built.
The Episcopacy Residence was excavated between 1970 and 1975. The western part was discovered first and the southern side is near the town wall. The luxury rooms are located in the eastern part. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th rooms all have mosaic floors. Between the 3rd and 4th rooms there is a hole that led to the eastern entrance of the residence. The hole was purposefully created between the 4th and 6th century.