Our second Invisible Experience has been prepared as a prize for the two winners of our contest, who got to enjoy the Invisible Hotel’s Gold Treasure room as well as the streets, galleries and museums of Košice. We organised a special guided tour of the city for them, led by a local historian who’s been an instrumental figure in popularising the city and its history — Milan Kolcun. He took our guests on a tour of Hlavná Street, which hides many secrets, some of which are unknown even among the natives of Košice.
Our tour started at the Zlatý Dukát Hotel at Hlavná 16 which is where the room is located. Milan Kolcun explained where the name of the hotel came from and told us about the history of the Košice Gold Treasure, discovered on Hlavná in the 1930s. It was this treasure that inspired the design of the Golden Treasure Room.
Take a look at other designer rooms of The Invisible Hotel.
From the hotel, we walked to the nearby Archaeology Museum at the so-called Lower Gate. It was on the site of this archaeological complex, now open to the public, that the remains of the 13th-century city fortifications had been uncovered. Just a few steps from the Lower Gate, at Hlavná 9, stands the house where Béla Gerster, a civil engineer who designed the Corinth Canal and helped to design the Panama Canal, was born and is now commemorated by a plaque.
Our guide then took us to Zvonárska Street, which used to be a part of the Košice Jewish ghetto. Today, the Old Synagogue hosts exhibitions and other cultural events. Across the street from the synagogue stands a pub called ‘Krčma — Nositeľ radu práce’ where time seems to have stopped back in the 1980s. This, however, is no retro-fitted venue but a genuine remnant of times long gone, where portraits of communist leaders and other artefacts adorn the walls.
Around the corner, at Zvonárska 12, is the MUSIC Centre shop, where one can find not only records and other music-related merchandise but also the owner’s collection of toys and other memorabilia from the 1960s. From here we moved next door, to Halmi Space, a unique blend of a coffee shop, vegan restaurant and a coworking space. Our guests enjoyed the stylish terrace and even played the piano there.
After this short break, it was time to return to Hlavná, where the 14th century St. Elizabeth’s Cathedral — the largest church in Slovakia and also the easternmost Gothic cathedral in Europe – a definite must-see. As we entered the church, we could admire its altars, a bronze baptismal font and numerous wall paintings.
Our next stop was at the State Theatre where our guide told us about the building’s extensive underground space that reaches as far as the nearby park. We also learned about the history of the plague column known as the Immaculata standing near the park.
As our guided tour of the city centre neared its end, we reached our final destination — Hlavná 68, where the Košice Gold Treasure was discovered in 1935 during construction works. The Second World War made the Treasure kept hidden in a secret place but in 1969, a vault was built underneath the Eastern Slovakia Museum to put it on display. And that’s where you can see this unique collection of coins up to this day.
text: Nikolas Bernáth, foto: Džagy, map: Tomáš Filo