Keep the door unlocked in the lockdown – the door to your soul. It is rightly said that art cultivates the soul, and movement, in turn, is needed for your body. Will you do anything for them? Do not seclude yourself to yourself or to the world. Don’t feel blue. We have a solution for you! The solution for your body and your soul at the same time. Raise your wyes and watch the buildings and places where outdoor art may be seen, and walk down the streets. Treat yourself to a beneficial sightseeing siesta together with the spirits of art personalities, invite, say, Michelangelo, Picasso, Monet or Klimt – choose who you wish and try to look at them from the perspective of art that literally looks at you from the streets. How would they perceive our contemporary street art, the world of drawing, painting, advertising, words and signs in art?
As you walk through the street art challenges and inspirations of Košice, let this art work in the exteriors of the city impress you. They are full of creativity, illusions, a world of escape. Take a look at the open exhibition in the east of the country – the Gallery in the City, where mural, graffiti, advertising typography is an ART WORK and the inhabitant of the city, its visitor, is its customer. Become a visitor to the city’s open-air gallery without a ticket and a red carpet. Observe how exhibits are created in public spaces. It will not only be paintings on the walls of buildings, but also installations in the streets or repainted switchboards and hydrants. Get to know the best street art works that Košice has. And let me tell you – you have something to look forward to!
1. Popping in the outdoor gallery
Street art, murals in Košice
Although such art is perceived as new, the fact is that it has existed since times immemorial. Just recall the cave paintings in Altamira, Spain, or Lascaux Cave in France, or the Italian Renaissance sgraffito – typical decorative style elements that appeared on the facades of buildings and later in interiors. But now just pop in from the ancient Altamira to preset-day Košice in the outdoor gallery, where you may enjoy such art. Then no one will catch up with you in inspiration! Murals and graffiti enliven the gloomy grey facades of residential blocks of flats, refresh the dreary corners of the city squares, and cheer up faded passages. Art in the city is also a statement that reflects social events, the issue of the time, nostalgia for something, dream, escape. In short, treat yourself to a fantasy world that uplifts, makes one laugh, ask questions, offers thoughts and sometimes even gives answers.
Street Art Communication (SAC) is a group of stubborn urban adventurers who believed back in 2008 that a city is a space that enlarges or shrinks in direct proportion to a sense of pride in it. Since 2011, the SAC has been managing the largest city mural gallery in Slovakia called the Open City Gallery (OCG). The OCG is an exhibition space on the facades of residential buildings. The gallery consists of monumental paintings by the greats of contemporary world Muralism. The exhibited works are spread all over Košice. Currently, the point/seat of the OCG database is in Tabačka Kulturfabrik at Gorkého 2 in Košice.
2. Following in the footsteps of Košice Banksy
Santiago – collector of discarded words
Vandalism as an art? Dancing letters? Statements and messages? These are all enchanting traces of a street artist who signs with a boat, a steamer or the name of Santiago. He also hides under the pseudonym of Banksy. Santiago is currently one of the most famous icons of street art. Santiago’s letters and their clusters offer the soul a magical smile. Santiago connects his footprints into more complex statements that express the most important thing – he pursues love! And love is really an art today! He even puts the concept of music into his letter creations. According to him, for example, the month of June is “the month of cracked strings”. Have you already heard those tones of the soul that literally dance on the facades of buildings? Santiago’s footprints may be seen on the Košice facades and areas around the busy sidewalks, which he saw as blank pages of the book. He writes his stories on them. He is a minimalist – a sentence or two are enough. Find clues capturing Santiago’s personal authentic reflections, the city’s specific social moods, forms of love and merry banality. His footprints will also lead you to serious philosophical topics, which are – characteristic of him – expressed in simple bon mots. Whether it is art or vandalism may be determined by the fact that many of Santiago’s inscriptions in Košice have never been wiped out. How could they have! As one of Santiago’s clues says, “Love is infectious.”
3. Following the light into the past
Neon lights and advertising typography
Do you need to escape somewhere again? To follow the light? See cultivating and uplifting art in the light? Or light in art? In any case, we offer you a direction, a path to the light. Right in the city. Street, city, architecture, graffiti, typography, visual smog, font creation. These are some of the keywords that will get you into the art of light. From the viewpoint of visual culture, the urban space is made up of a wide range of elements, in which advertising typography has a dominant and specific position. Thanks to the personal relationship of the authors Samo Čarnoký and Rado Sinčák to public space and writing, the publication NEÓNA was created – a typographic syllabary mapping the occurrence of nostalgic advertisements and their leftovers, retro inscriptions, as well as advertising smog in 26 East Slovak cities, including Košice. A special chapter is neon light advertising, which has undergone a significant development since its first staging at the Paris Expo in 1912, but we still look forward to its spectacular effect, which adds a unique atmosphere to cities, even though in the form of eco-friendly LED advertisements.
Kuchynské potreby (Alžbetina ulica)
Stationery (Mlynská Street)
Marathon (Peace Marathon Square)
Remains of Mladosť (Youth) (Hlavná Street)
Merkúr (B. Nemcovej Street)
4. Getting to know the petrified inhabitants
Atlas of Statues (settlements, parks, squares, ..)
Let’s start travelling in time and visit the public areas of Košice. An attractive offer, is it? You don’t even need to visit the gallery, just follow the traces left by the sculptors in the city. Exact coordinates will help you when walking around. You will find the works in various parts of the city, in parks and housing estates. The diversity of the public space of the whole territory of Košice is captured in the publication by Danka Bodnárová and Mišo Hudák – Atlas of Sculptures. It is a successful attempt to create a list of essential works of post-war art. The emergence of artifacts was accompanied by the rapid development and growth of Košice caused by the construction of ironworks. The book captures artworks spanning fifty years. Together they create a timeline for the development of the city and society. So, with the Atlas of Sculptures in hand, visit the open-air gallery of Košice covering an area of 240 square kilometres: discover new ones in a familiar space, explore the messages of authors whose works live longer than they themselves. Some sculptures are sometimes demonstratively torn-down according to the requirements of the time or, conversely, rediscovered in amazement after many years. The Atlas of Statues spatially divides the city into 9 parts. For each artifact, it provides information on its the location, title, author, as well as details and circumstances of the artwork.
You may continue along the timeline just by looking at the Peace Marathon Monument. The academic sculptor Arpád Račko is the author of this three-metre-high statue of a naked runner, made of bronze on a pedestal made of Požáry Granite. The monument is located on the Peace Marathon Square. The statue was unveiled in 1959. The memorial contains the text NENIKHKAMEN (We have won, in Greek), which according to legend was the cry of an Athenian runner announcing victory. As the author himself revealed, the statue was first made of plaster, and later it was cast in bronze and inconspicuously replaced. They were also interested in such a statue in London, but the artist Račko, who loves Košice – he was attending school here, had his first girlfriend here and experienced the most beautiful moments of his life in Košice – did not want to allow the same statue to also be found elsewhere.
Peace Marathon Square
Youth is there also for the first loves. Or is it the other way round? No matter how old you are, just keep running. The statue Mladosť (Youth) is the work of the artist František Gibala. Softness and beauty of a naked, sunbathing woman has been talking to passers-by since 1965.
Every lady, more or less beautiful, sunbathing or not, would always comb her hair nicely. Ján Mathé is the author of the statue The Combing One. You will find it in the park in front of the Polyclinic – North. Ján Mathé was born in Košice in 1922. His sculptures adorn Košice settlements, such as Mier (Resting Family on J. Mathé Square), Terasa (Standing Family), Jazero (Fruit of Life, which today adorns the Barracks/Kulturpark). It is almost impossible to choose only one of the many sculptures by this exceptional artist.
Park in front of the Polyclinic – North
So well, now you may slow down a bit, walking is one of the healthiest sports. But don’t stop so that your muscles don’t stiffen and you’re petrified like the Chodec (Pedestrian) statue. Its author is Juraj Bartusz. Július Jakoby or “Gyula Báči” himself told the author about this sculpture “Buddy, it is not a nice statue, but it is true.” And the author himself considers this to be the best assessment, because in art he did not strive for any beauty, but for substance and truth. He captured his Chodec (Pedestrian) authentically: walking through the city, in knickerbockers, with a breadbasket and a thoughtful look. You will find the statue on a walk along Alžbetina Street.
Now you would probably prefer to be riding a horse and admiring the art from its saddle, right? Ardo Stallion – a bronze horse weighs about 4.5 tons. The original of this replica was created by the significant Czech sculptor Josef Václav Myslbek. It was an equestrian statue of St. Wenceslas in life-size – the dominant sculpture of Wenceslas Square in Prague. In 1979, two more bronze Ardo statues were cast in the ČKD Blansko, identical, just smaller. One then travelled to Brno on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the local veterinary school, the other aimed it at the Košice school when it celebrated the 30th anniversary of its establishment. Ardo is currently standing in the campus of the University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy. On the corner of Zvonárska and Orlia Streets, where it had been standing for many years, there now stands a statue of a pony named Casso. It is also cast in bronze. Casso has been donated to the city of Košice by a group of Košice residents who wanted to remain anonymous.
Campus of the University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy, Komenského Street
No, no, don’t say anything about fatigue yet, no rest in the meadow with a book in hand yet. Although it would certainly require reading from the work of Sándor Márai now. The academic sculptor Peter Gáspár is the author of the Sándor Márai Memorial. It took the Czechs a few decades to publicly acknowledge that the German-speaking Prague Jew Franz Kafka was also their author. Similarly, Slovaks have only recently become acquainted with the Hungarian-writing man of Košice, Sándor Márai’s of German roots. Today, his books are bestsellers in Germany, Italy, and Spain. Visit the calmly sitting Sándor at the end of Mäsiarská Street and together think about the world around you.
Crossroads of Mäsiarska and Zbrojničná Streets.
So, and you already have not just your time to relax, but also a pleasant meadow. And now with a beautiful flower! It paid off well to endure and run. Mikuláš Szigeti is the author of the sandstone statue Kvet (Flower) in front of the Presidential Office on Strojárenská Street in the Old Town.
And now you deserve a royal reward, at least a medal! It will not be handed over to you by King Louis I the Great, but after a difficult run it will certainly be as important and unique to you as the Coat of Arms of Košice, which dates back to 1369. King Louis I the Great granted it to the town at the royal castle in Diósgyőr (part of Miskolc today). Although the Coat of Arms is not the oldest one in Europe, its uniqueness lies in the fact that the King issued it a coat-of-arms deed – armales, which is the first such document in Europe granted to a legal entity. Until then, coats of arms were awarded only to natural persons and this event testifies to the important position of the city of Košice in the Kingdom of Hungary. The academic sculptor Arpád Račko is the author of the artwork located in the South Park is. The statue was ceremoniously unveiled in 2002 on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the award of the Coat of Arms to the city of Košice.
Between the Lower Gate and Freedom Square
Sculptor Šimon Grimming and builder Tomáš Tornyossi left the most beautiful Baroque Sculptures of Immaculata on Hlavná Street. It is connected with the event in the years 1709 – 1710, when there was a plague in Košice. It took it more than a year to finish. Those who survived, raised the funds into a new plague pillar at the site of the old military execution site as a sign of their gratitude.
5. Chasing “chickletss” (or pigeons) in city parks
Košice by running
Did you have a rest? Have you regained strength and adrenaline is calling you out? And running again, right? Great! You don’t need seven-mile boots that will take you quickly to distant places. Classic sneakers are enough for our visitors to get to know the city effectively. Run into the city like local athletes do. Become a “lockdown marathoner”! This challenge also has a deeper meaning, because people from Košice feel like an important part of the running world. Thanks to the long tradition of the international marathon, as well as smaller local runs, locals are used to encouraging running sports enthusiasts with shouts and smiles. You may be pleasantly surprised by the size of the spontaneous fan base in Košice.
Passing through the Furča Forest Park like a whirlwind
If you want to be the master of the road, maybe even of the whole forest, and you don’t need encouraging fans to perform, run to the Furča Forest Park. You will let your worries dissipate in the dense forest and will only perceive the customs of the locals who use the Forest Park for family weekend walks. The entire 7-kilometre route back and forth among the tall, slender trees leads along a straight asphalt road. However, you have to stop about halfway along the route! No, there is no obstacle, just an endless view right on the borderline of the two forests. On the route, you will be informed about the kilometres walked, you do not have to pull out your latest “Garmins”. Information boards along the route are a great help, motivating you to perform better every 0.5 kilometres. Athletes will also enjoy the information that they will find a fully equipped social amenities in the forest.
Location: Košice, Dargovských Hrdinov – Forest Park Furča
Route length: 7 km
Nature of the route: combination – asphalt + forest surface (in case you go from the main asphalt route to the sidewalks), slight elevation
Chasing “chickletss” (or pigeons) in city parks
A sufficiently wide promenade, lined with historic buildings with cafes in combination with rich green parks, which will provide you with a considerable amount of oxygen. The City Park is ideal to start the trot, to which you will be guided by a bridge near Jakab’s Palace. A number of gravel sidewalks, intertwined between green areas, where locals sunbathe, read books or “picnic” in the summer months. You will change the faster dynamics of the run in the vibrant city centre, which you will surpass as a winning marathon run, accompanied by admiring views of people on the cafe and restaurant terraces. Yes, we understand that you will not keep this pace and Hollywood smiles for long, so choose the peaceful environment of the park on Moyzesova Street to finish exploring the city. It is located close to the city centre. Even if you still experience the pace of a vibrant city, the green oasis will give you plenty of room to slow your breathing down.
Location: Košice – City Park, Moyzesova Street (park), Hlavná Street
Route length: 7 – 15 km
Nature of the route: gravel, asphalt, flat
Nad Jazerom Dam – your teleport to Margitsziget Island in Budapest
Do you know those stylish shots in which people with a perfect figure and headphones casually trot on the coast and feel that the world belongs to them? Yes, you will find this feeling, but a little more authentic and believable with a slight dose of retro and remnants of socialism! The dam next to the lake in the city district Nad Jazerom is also ideal for beginners. A gentle breeze will blow you on a long and straight route along the Hornád River and with a view of the surrounding forests on one side and the housing estate on the other. The straight asphalt route is safe and is a popular place not just for runners but also for skaters.
Before the run, you can have a great coffee at the cafe, where a French bulldog named Boston is the main character. According to the name of this hairy hero, you will find a restaurant near the dam.
Location: Košice, Nad Jazerom – Dam
Route length: 5 – 9 km
Nature of the route: asphalt, flat
Dam on the Lake – your teleport to the island of Margitsziget to Budapest
You have certainly seen those stylised photos of people of perfectly well-formed bodies with headphones on, casually trotting along the coast as if the world belonged to them. Yes, you will find such a feeling, but a bit more authentic, with a slight dose of retro and socialist nostalgia here! The dam next to the lake in the city district Nad Jazerom is also ideal for beginners in jogging. A gentle breeze will blow you on a long and straight route along the Hornád River, overlooking the surrounding forests on one side and the housing estate on the other. The straight asphalt route is safe and is a popular place for runners and skaters. Before the run, you can have a great coffee at the establishment, where a French bulldog named Boston is the main character. You will find a restaurant near the dam according to the name of this shaggy dog.
Lokalita: Košice, Nad jazerom – Dam
Route length: 5 – 9 km
Route surface: asphalt, flatland