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:
Hluboká Castle (Schloss Frauenberg) is considered one of the most beautiful castles in the Czech Republic. In the second half of the 13th century, a Gothic castle was built at the site. During its history, the castle was rebuilt several times. It was first expanded during the Renaissance period, then rebuilt into a Baroque castle at the order of Adam Franz von Schwarzenberg in the beginning of the 18th century. It reached its current appearance during the 19th century, when Johann Adolf II von Schwarzenberg ordered the reconstruction of the castle in the romantic style of England's Windsor Castle.
The Schwarzenbergs lived in Hluboká until the end of 1939, when the last owner (Adolph Schwarzenberg) emigrated overseas to escape from the Nazis. The Schwarzenbergs lost all of their Czech property through a special legislative Act, the Lex Schwarzenberg, in 1947.
The original royal castle of Přemysl Otakar II from the second half of the 13th century was rebuilt at the end of the 16th century by the Lords of Hradec. It received its present appearance under Count Jan Adam of Schwarzenberg. According to the English Windsor example, architects Franz Beer and F. Deworetzky built a Romantic Neo-Gothic chateau, surrounded by a 1.9 square kilometres English park here in the years 1841 to 1871. In 1940, the castle was seized from the last owner, Adolph Schwarzenberg by the Gestapo and confiscated by the government of Czechoslovakia after the end of World War II. The castle is open to public. There is a winter garden and riding-hall where the Southern Bohemian gallery exhibitions have been housed since 1956.