St Elisabeth Cathedral - History and Facts | History Hit

St Elisabeth Cathedral

District of Kosice I, Region of Kosice, Slovakia

St Elisabeth Cathedral is a vast Gothic creation said to be Slovakia’s biggest church.

About St Elisabeth Cathedral

With a capacity of over 5,000 people, St Elisabeth Cathedral (Dóm sv. Alžbety) is said to be the largest church in Slovakia, bigger even than St Martin’s in Bratislava. A vast Gothic creation, it also holds the title of being the easternmost cathedral in Europe to be built in this style.

History of St Elisabeth Cathedral

Construction of St Elisabeth Cathedral began in 1380 and continued through to the 19th century, with the southern tower being completed as late as 1906. The design and construction of the cathedral was so significant that it influenced the building of other churches as far away as Poland and Transylvania.

The famous Altar of St Elisabeth, with its gothic double spiral staircase – one of just five of its kind in Europe – dates from the 15th century.

Many of the interior decorations exhibit the influence of German and Dutch artists, with a number of frescoes adorning the interior and exterior completed in the 15th century by the master and local artist Štefan being a particular highlight.

Francis II Rakoczi, a Hungarian nobleman who orchestrated the biggest anti-Hapsburg uprising in the former Kingdom of Hungary, is buried in the crypt.

The complex of the cathedral and its adjacent buildings – St Michael Chapel and Urban Tower – were declared as Cultural Heritage Monuments in 1970.

St Elisabeth Cathedral Today

St Elisabeth Cathedral is found on Hlavná ulica, or Main Street, a pedestrian street lined with buildings from many periods, including several beautiful Art Nouveau examples. It is particularly worth climbing the 60 metre high northern tower of the cathedral in order to enjoy a panoramic view of the buildings which give an insight into the country’s heritage and differing architectural styles.

Just behind the cathedral is the smaller but no less beautiful St Michael’s Chapel. Visitors must purchase tickets inside the cathedral to enter the chapel.

Getting to St Elisabeth Cathedral

From the centre of Kosice, St Elisabeth Cathedral is an 8 minute walk via the Hlavná road. It’s also a 6 minute drive via the Štefánikova road. Being located centrally, there’s a great deal to see in the surrounding area.