Europe’s unknown Capital of Culture
A year of festivals, from Warhol to wine
Košice will sparkle in 2013 as it brings its art and music scene to its streets. The Use the City festival from 22 to 26 May will spruce up the city’s Communist-built neighbourhoods with art, theatre and dance performances as well as outdoor film screenings.
In August, Pop Art Party celebrates Košice’s ties to Andy Warhol – even if the artist himself was not keen to. Warhol’s parents grew up in eastern Slovakia near the town of Medzilaborce, 115km northeast of Košice, and Košice’s Muza Hotel has one of the best private collections of Warhol originals in the world. The city streets will reverberate with artwork, film screenings and artsy workshops throughout his birth month; fans should not miss his artworks projected onto city buildings on 2 August, when the Muza Hotel’s usually private Mihal Gallery will be open for public viewings.
Košice is also making use of the six Unesco World Heritage Sites that lie within an easy day trip. These include the national parks of Slovak Karst (comprising some of Central Europe’s most extensive and impressive cave systems) and Slovensk Raj (a vast mountainous, forested wilderness filled with exhilarating hiking through waterfall-splashed gorges), as well as the idyllic low hills of the Tokaj wine region to the south of the city. Toast one of Eastern Europe’s best-regarded drops at September’s annual Wine Festival (12 to 14 September 2013), and learn more about the amber-hued nectar through guided tasting sessions, lectures and workshops.
Those partial to a tipple should also give a hearty na zdravie (cheers) to Košice Gold, a cocktail (recipe strictly secret) on offer at many venues around town to pay homage to Europe’s biggest hoard of gold treasure, discovered underneath the city in 1935. The treasure is making a much-heralded return to the East Slovak Museum on 24 August following a tour around Europe.
Košice’s take on 2013 seems primarily about concentrating on the small things that officials believe will make big differences, ensuring its arts scene thrives for years to come. The city with the oldest coat of arms in Europe looks as though it is coming of age. At least, it is glimmering with far more than just steel this year.