Peter Bednár – Peter Gábor – Stanislava Hlaváčová – Rastislav Rusnák – Michal Šimkovic – Miroslav Matejka
Košice used to be a significant cultural and economic centre of the eastern part of the Hungarian Kingdom in the Middle Ages as well as in modern times. This was thanks to the fact that it was situated on an important business route that joined the Baltic with Transylvania, and the neighbouring rich ore mountains of Slánske vrchy (Slanské Hills) and Slovenské rudohorie (Slovak Ore Mountains). The information about Košice’s significant position in the medieval Hungarian Kingdom is more or less known, but what is generally forgotten is the Košice castle. The written medieval sources only make reference to it indirectly. We still know little about the time of its origin, its role in medieval housing structure, as well as to whether it was a proper castle or just an unsuccessful attempt to build one.
Several researchers tried to find answers to the questions above, in the past (J. Polák in 1924, F. Pogranyi-Nagy in the 1930s). The publication of M. Slivka and A. Vallašek, about castles in eastern Slovakia, was the first modern evaluation of the castle remains at the Hradová locality. The authors assumed that the castle was an incompleted construction dating from 1303 – 1307. The Archaeological Institute of the Slovak Academy, led by P. Máčala, carried out another research of the Košice castle between 1994 and 1997, which also explored the forgotten remains of the south-eastern fortification. Unfortunately, the research has not been yet processed and no documentation is available either. M. Plaček (2007) considers the fortified wing at Hradová to be a remaining part of a large, but incomplete castle. He follows the thoughts of M. Slivka and A. Vallašek, saying that it could be the work of Amade Aba from the beginning of the 14th century. At the same time, he also accepts another interpretation, that the fortified settlement at Hradová could be an incomplete anti-Tatar shelter.
In connection with the revitalisation of the castle area, prepared for the project Košice – European Capital of Culture 2013, an extensive archaeological and construction-historical research took place in 2011 and 2012, carried out by the Archaeological Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences in cooperation with M. Šimkovic and M. Matejka. The detailed survey of the castle revealed visible remains of a fortification that covered an area of some 6.5 hectares. The archaeological research found out that the upper terrace was already used in the early and late Bronze Ages. Other traces of human activity related to the medieval castle, where a cylindrical tower stood in the middle, with an outer diameter that measured some 13 m and an inner diameter of some 6 m. A possible relic of the perished construction lies in the centre of the top crest – it is a cavity of a rectangular ground plan with approximate dimensions of 8m x 4m.
An extensive castle courtyard can be found on the north-eastern side of the castle hill, surrounded with the remains of robust masonry walls. A triangular tower was built in their central part, with the outer length of the legs measuring some 19m and the inner length 8m. East of it are some 100 metres of preserved fortification. This line is divided into smaller parts, separated by two vacant lots, where the probes of the fortification masonry took place. Another preserved part of the fortification, defining the original size of the castle, starts below the south-eastern border of the crest, at the edge of the lower terrace. Here too, the fortification was not completed.
Along with the archaeological research, an extensive preservation research took place in 2012, inside the castle area. Geophysical research was also carried out on the upper terrace. The minimum of medieval findings discovered at the upper and lower terraces might indicate to the fact that life in the castle was not intensive and only lasted for a short time. Hradová was used much more in modern times. The top of the locality, either the remains of the medieval constructions or the protruding rock cliff, was a good source of stone. Traces of intensive mining are visible in several places not only in the fortified area, but also north and west of the castle.
The castle, with its perimeter, matches the royal castles that were built before the mid 13th century (Nitra castle, Bratislava castle, Zvolen – Pustý hrad, Zniev, Spiš castle). The Košice castle might have been established as a new castle that was to take over the political and economic administration of an economically perspective territory in the south-eastern part of Slovak Ore Mountains. One cannot rule out the possibility of its origin in the first half of the 13th century, in connection with the Tatar invasions. Shortly afterwards, however, a town might have been built, which offered better economic possibilities, as a new type of settlement, and the extensive castle above the town thus remained incomplete.
Traces of medieval stonemasons in St. Elisabeth’s Cathedral
Architects, artists, art historians, restorers as well as other experts had repeatedly explored the Cathedral of Saint Elisabeth. The research of the medieval architectural-sculptural decoration of the Košice church was usually supplemented with comparisons or analogies of European cathedral architectonics. When preparing the documentation for restoring the exterior of the southern tower, the medieval masonry revealed unknown fragments, created by stonemasons during construction in the 15h century. The cathedral, situated in the middle of the lenticular square of medieval Košice, on the crossroads of the main communication axes, has preserved its authentic gothic ground plan up to this day (despite a considerable re-gothisation in 1877 – 1895). This plan is characteristic for the cathedral architecture of Western Europe. Several professional studies, mainly tackled the situation of the two towers of the western façade. The southern, so-called Matej tower, which is the subject of research, forms a massive south-western corner of the church. Its construction was interrupted at the beginning of the 15th century, stopping at the height of the crown cornice on the side naves. The tower remained incomplete for several decades. The southern tower is largely made of smooth stone masonry from regular rows of blockstones. The bulk of the tower gradually tapers upwards and its circumferential masonries reduce. The ground plan of the tower changes to an octagon in the upper part.
The stones of the southern tower reveal interesting facts about its construction, such as the protuberant stone gutter in the attic of the southern side naves, which now, covered by a roof, has lost its function. It is possible that at the beginning of the 15th century, when the construction of the tower was temporarily interrupted, the tower was covered with a terrace from which rainwater had to be carried away. Then, after they completed the naves and presbytery in 1462, they continued on with the construction of the southern tower, leaving the no longer needed but non-obstructive gutter element in place. In 1880 – 1896, when the high single pitch roofs were replaced with shallow ones and the truss construction was secured into the newly walled arches of the main nave, the gutter remained covered with a roof as one of a few examples of the medieval builders’ work.
The eastern wall of the southern tower also hides several curiosities. The smooth ashlar masonry, protected by roofs for several centuries and only uncovered at the end of the 19th century, preserved a number of stonemasons’ symbols. During their research and documentation, scarcely perceivable scratches were also discovered over the whole stone surface. They included long vertical and horizontal parallel lines, circles, their intersections, highlighted systems of points, scratched across several stones, or rows of stones. Following a detailed research, it is clear now that they are structural schemes created during the construction of the church over the area of some 7m x 5m. It is a uniquely preserved drawing area, which has no analogies in Slovakia. The existence of medieval stonemasons’ structural engravings is documented in several examples from Germany, France and England, where there are the so-called tracings (stonemasons’ sketches).
The content of the engraved lines suggests that it is a structural drawing, which is not complete in its entirety, or is only preserved in fragments. Regarding this, it is impossible to clearly say what structure it represents; maybe it is the composite spiral staircase. This, however, will be the subject of further investigation and research.
Renovation of Dominican Monastery in Košice
The area of the Dominican Monastery, at 6 Mäsiarska Street, also embraces the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, a cinema and adjoining garden with farm buildings. Located in a conservation zone, the monastery is listed in the Central Registry of the Slovak Monuments Fund. It is one of the oldest structures in the city’s urbanism, established in close vicinity to the western line of the medieval fortification of Košice. Ordo praedicatorum – the Order of Preachers – had grown into a significant community in the city’s life during the course of three centuries, also due to the fact that it owned many properties. The Dominicans were forced to leave the city twice. Each time, though, they returned and resumed their activity. The monastery, in their absence, was adapted for various functions. It was seriously damaged and therefore, after a thorough designing work in 2006, the Dominicans started a complex renovation of the monastery.
The church and monastery are interconnected in construction as well as function. The monastery joins the polygonal presbytery of the church with its south-western corner. The street façade of the monastery recedes some 4 metres compared to the other houses in row. The ground level, in front of the southern façade of the church and monastery, facing the Dominican square, gradually increased since the Middle Ages by some 2m to 2.5m. The finding on the southern façade of the church, where an unknown primary entrance portal to the church was uncovered during the emergency archaeological research before the modernisation of the square’s paving, proves this. The original northern and eastern borders of the Dominican area almost resemble the current state. The interesting thing about the area is that the mutual proportions of the medieval sites and Dominican square have remained preserved to this day.
The buildings of the monastery and church, originally devoted to St. Jacob and Philip were probably built before 1290. The first written mention about the monastery comes from 1303. In 1556, when fire ravaged four fifths of the city, the Dominicans were forced to leave their area. However, before they departed, they made a written contract with the city about its temporary usage. When they returned in 1700, they repaired the church, the dedication of which changed to honour the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and in 1754, the monks continued with building a new monastery, which was completed in 1767. The western part of the courtyard wing was finished in the first quarter of the 19th century. The monastery did not suffer major damage during the Second World War. After the forced departure of the Dominicans in 1950, the monastery housed various institutions and the inner disposition of the buildings changed. The Dominicans returned to the area in 1990 and seven years ago started the renovation of the entire complex. In September 2011, as part of the Days of the European Culture Heritage, they opened parts of the interior to the public. These rooms contained restored findings of early-baroque decoration, as well as remains of medieval constructions in the monastery’s basement and in the staircase near the church masonry.
Findings of early-renaissance tile moulds from Košice
The residential lot No 542 at 11 Dominican Square, is situated in the western part of Košice’s historical centre. It contains a burgher’s house in a row of houses, which faces the square and has a smaller courtyard at the back. The house, medieval in its core, later underwent several construction modifications. Until recently, the courtyard had been largely covered with the southern wing, which was destroyed. The research of the site’s courtyard joined the partial archaeological research of the house basement from 2009. The Archaeological Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences carried out both researches. Two probes uncovered constructions documenting the development from the 13th – 14th century to the 20th century. The construction 3/11 was a remnant of a kiln, probably used for baking bread. The researches helped to uncover and conserve most of this facility, which mainly consisted of so-called tile’s bricks of late-gothic to early-renaissance origin.
The subject of interest of this article, however, are the findings coming from the immediate filling of the kiln. They contain a remarkable collection of late-gothic to early-renaissance ceramics, which might not relate to the existence of the kiln, but rather to the adjustments of the site, where the kiln was covered after its destruction with older waste, probably left from a manufacturing activity there. Apart from the fragments of kitchen and table ceramics, predominantly pots and pot-like bowls, the findings also included, though small in number, interesting tiles but chiefly fragments of clay moulds used for tile production and one large mould, probably a negative of a relief plate. Remarkable findings of construction ceramics are also part of the collection.
Up to seven or eight examples of various figural motifs with religious as well as secular themes could be detected in the fragments of the tile moulds. Another example that could join them is the solid mould for making tiles, acquired in 2009. Today, we can reliably identify only three sacral motifs; in the case of other preserved remains of the tile moulds, the situation is even less transparent. One remarkable finding clearly stands out of the collection: a mould fragment with an inscription in gothic minuscule, which has not been deciphered yet.
The range of the findings point to the fact that the house at 11 Dominican Square could have run a pottery workshop producing a selection of tiles, construction ceramics and other products of artistic pottery. This also documents the connection of several tile products from eastern Slovakia as well as north-eastern Hungary with Košice, as a historical artistic centre of a wide region.
Book of designs of Košice tailor’s guild from 1760
The collection fund of the guilds’ sector in the Eastern Slovak Museum in Košice, includes 1,021 evidence articles, i.e. 4,006 pieces of singularities. Among the characteristic documents are baptism certificates of apprentices, certificates of origin, educational reports, vocational certificates, journey books, accounting documents, guilds’ books of journeymen and masters, testaments, etc. The author of the article describes a unique collection item preserved in the Slovak territory, a book of regulations and drawings for making masterly designs for the Košice tailor’s guild from 1760.
The tailors in Košice had their first guild in 1457. They made dresses for all citizens, from aristocrats to the poor inhabitants of the city, for men and women, priests and nuns. They worked with various fabrics, from fine wool through brocade and silk to coarse domestic linen. Based on the way they worked and customers they served, the tailors were divided into Hungarian and German. The fine ones, or German tailors made conventional men’s clothing and the coarse ones, or Hungarian tailors made clothes influenced by the Hungarian fashion. In the 18th and 19th century, Slovak tailors were also used, making thicker clothes for common people. The tailor’s guilds employed the highest number of masters and this amount eventually kept increasing.
Each journeyman, who wanted to become a master in this guild, had to go on a work journey and after that produce a masterpiece under strict supervision of appointed masters. The book of regulations (designs) measures 18.7cm x 22.2cm and is written in Hungarian on hand-made paper using brown ink. The book has 12 numbered pages, and the binding is made of thick brown paper mixed with brown pork skin, with no decoration. The records date from 1695 to 1760. The introduction page reads the so-called denomination: Magyar Materia vagy Remek Melly irattattott Kassán. Anno 1760 Die 16 July. The text of the first page introduces the guild’s representatives with their functions in 1630, 1695 and 1760. Then follows the masterpiece itself, consisting of 18 designs, with one piece of clothing on each page. Page 12 is empty. Each design is accompanied with the information on the amount and type of fabric needed. A future tailor master had to produce at least three pieces of specified clothing in two weeks, for instance a peasant’s or nun’s garment, priest’s frilly robe, doctor’s coat, or even a cover for carriage or horse. To become a master was not easy and quite expensive, since the novice had to also pay for the exam.
After passing all procedures of the master test, a journeyman became a master. A new master was obliged to treat the whole guild with the so-called master’s lunch, which had specific rules. The collections of the Eastern Slovak Museum in Košice also preserved a list of a master’s lunch from February 18, 1692.
Mercantile prints from Eastern Slovak Museum
The author writes about mercantile prints from 1848 – 1918, preserved in the museum’s collections, which relate to the businessmen working in the city of Košice. The mercantile prints include invoices, bills, letters and various types of business forms used by merchants, lets say tradesmen and industrial establishments. Artistically designed letter heads on bills (receipts), correspondences, folders, price lists and product catalogues, provided the companies with visual communication that served advertising purposes. Apart from presenting the company’s identity of a businessman, they also contributed to the overall culture of business making.
The boom in trade papers and their ornamental decoration started in the 19th century, with the development of graphic prints. The heads of the bills (receipts) informed about the offered merchandise, company’s name and place of the trade, product prices, special offers and other activities of a tradesman. In Košice, the purchase receipt (one-off or repeated) was issued in the Hungarian or German language, sometimes in both, and occasionally in Hebrew. The mercantile prints usually contained the name of a company, its activity and focus of its business, range of services and goods, sometimes also more detailed descriptions of the goods and services on offer. The address of the company occasionally appeared as well. The Fund of the Historical Print in the Eastern Slovak Museum contains 619 pieces of mercantile prints collected between 1848 and 1918 from 254 companies, merchants, tradesmen, industrial establishments and stock companies working in Košice that time. They illustrate the rich economic life, and map the city’s areas most represented by businessmen, along with their mixed clientele. Also interesting are the facts on printers and publishers of the mercantile prints, as well as period print techniques.
They represent important sources for the study of the city’s economic history in the mentioned period, as well as of individual companies.
Bellaagh’s composite book of Košice drawing school
The Eastern Slovak Museum in Košice keeps a unique collection of drawings of the Bellaagh drawing school in Košice in its art-historical collection fund. This is an important source for understanding the architectural and artistic-technical development in the 19th century. The activity of the Königliche National Zeichnungsschule zu Kaschau is documented in a composite book, in which the town architect, Jozef Bellaagh, who worked as the school’s teacher from 1804 to 1860, collected the works of students. Drawings, paintings, artistic-technical designs, and primarily architectural projects are bound in a massive book, consisting of 142 fixed and 10 loose pages. The pages in this composite book are arranged chronologically and thus represent an exceptionally interesting section of the development in the thinking and inspiration of future builders, architects, building inspectors, masonry masters and artistic craftsmen. Most of the drawings are architectural projects redrawn from various other sources, but there are also several artistic-technical designs of, for example, jewels, metal architectural elements, liturgical items, as well as horse gears and carriages. The book also contains drawings that could be defined as interior design today, and this is because the school raised not only future builders but also future craftsmen in various fields. Based on this, the individual drawing tasks were probably assessed at different difficulty levels, as their quality is unstable.
Among the school’s students were also the significant architects Michael Répászky, Joseph Fischer and Charles Gerster, the latter of whom helped to restore the Košice Cathedral. The research of the 19th century Košice architecture, concerning either individual constructions or other authentic sources, is likely to result in many astonishing observations.
Czech architects of the interwar period in Košice
Some remarkable architectural works were created in Slovakia between 1918 and 1938. Favourable social conditions of the origin of independent Czechoslovakia, the inflow of progressive ideas and opinions of graduates of European architectural schools, varied regional cultural trends, and particularly the work of Czech architects in Slovakia were the essential factors that influenced the origin of modern architecture.
Košice, as the second largest city of Slovakia, recorded a significant development after 1918. It became an important centre of economy, business, education and culture of the new state. The increase in the number of inhabitants was linked to a large constructional boom and subsequent significant regional growth of Košice. The city of Košice had 52,898 inhabitants in 1921 and by 1938 the number had grown to 80,000. Košice joined Europe and the rest of the world with an extended airline from Prague through Bratislava in 1924. The railway built earlier, largely influenced the development of industry. New residential neighbourhoods were built and modern architecture found its way into the city centre. The construction of new essential offices took place as well as needed city services, new state schools, churches, synagogues, hotels, restaurants, department stores, cinemas, sports centres, swimming pools and flats for new state employees. The author of the article closely describes the Czech and Moravian architects of the interwar period working in Košice – Bohumír Kozák, František Sander, Bedřich Koráb, Jaroslav Železný, Július Zikmund, Arnošt Sehnal, Ján Hradský, Bedřich Bendelmayer, Josef Polášek, Rudolf Brebta, František Faulhammer, Petr Kropáček, Miloslav Kopřiva, Eduard Žáček, Vojtěch Vanický, Václav Janoud and Antonín Brožek, as well as their works.
Josef Polák, director of the Eastern Slovak Museum in Košice
Czech lawyer of Jewish origin and former director of the Eastern Slovak Museum in Košice, Josef Polák (1886 – 1944), played a very important role in the cultural history of interwar Košice. He arrived in eastern Slovakia, as an officer of the Czechoslovak army, and on March 7, 1919 became the manager of the former Upper-Hungarian Rákoczy Museum, which was renamed the State Eastern Slovak Museum. That same year, the Ministry of Education entrusted J. Polák with the protection of artistic monuments for the entire, eastern Slovak region.
The Ministry of Education and National Edification took over the museum’s administration in the spring of 1921, and officially renamed it the Eastern Slovak Museum in Košice. This museum was the first, and for a long time, the only state museum in the then Czechoslovakia. Under the Polák’s management in 1919 – 1938, the museum was not just a museum but also an institute of historical monument preservation, a place of public lectures about art, a gallery, an auction sale room, an arts school and a public library. Polák’s domain was the exhibition activity, primarily the advocacy of current incentives of European modern style. He organised exhibitions of progressive local artists Anton Jaszusch, Konštantín Bauer and Eugen Krón, and avant-garde artists Gejza Schiller, František Foltýn and Alexander Bortnyik. Famous Hungarian artists, such as Károly Kernstok, János Kmetty and Béla Uitz, were also presented in the museum. This multi-national artistic society entered the history of Slovak fine arts as the Košice modern style of the 1920s.
One of the significant events of Košice’s art scene during the interwar period was the opening of Eugen Krón’s private arts school inside the Eastern Slovak Museum in May 1921. J. Polák initiated this act by repeatedly confronting the Ministry of Education and National Edification as well as the Ministry of Finances with requests for supporting creative artists. Many significant artists, like Koloman Sokol, Július Jakoby, Vojtech (Béla) Nemessányi-Kontuly, Ľudovít Feld, Imrich Oravecz, Jozef Fabini and Jolana Kirczová were among the graduates of Krón’s school. Josef Polák did great work in raising the national-cultural awareness of eastern part of Slovakia, which was little developed that time. He turned Košice into a strong cultural centre, the standard of which outmatched the rest of Slovakia.
Epigraphic-heraldic memories of Keczer family
One of the most significant families of eastern Slovakia, the Keczers, lived in the southern region of Šariš, near Košice, from the Middle Ages to early modern history. Even though, the family members gradually stretched their properties to other counties of eastern Slovakia (Zemplín, Abaújvár), it was the territory of southern Šariš region, where they concentrated their family residences and their last resting-places. Their traditional attribute de Lipoc was derived from the Lipovec castle, which used to sit south-east of today’s Kecerovský Lipovec, and was built sometime in the second half of the 13th century.
Ambrose Keczer, a faithful supporter of Ferdinand I, was the most important person in the family history of the first half of the 16th century. His Lipovec castle was surrounded in 1543 by the followers of John Zápolya, who also killed him there. This event is captured in the inscription on the tombstone of Ambrose and his wife, which is now secondarily built into the southern wall’s pillar in the nave of St. Ladislaus Church in Kecerovské Pekľany (today part of Kecerovce municipality, district of Košice area). The marble sepulchre with its uniquely preserved polychromy, tells you not only the exact dates of the death of the deceased ones, but also the name of Ambrose’s murderer, John Zadarla, who was known as Szekely in Keczers’ family archive. Also interesting is the heraldic part of the artefact. It is the oldest image of the Keczers’ coat of arms, which should compare with the original coat of arms of the Aba family, as Keczers are one of their branches.
The death of Ambrose Keczer was accompanied with complete destruction of the Lipovec castle. Though it was given back to the Keczers, together with other properties, the castle was never reconstructed to its original state and gradually became a ruin. It was mainly thanks to Ambrose’s son, Andrew I. Keczer, the initiator behind the origin of the mentioned sepulchre, that the properties were returned. He brought fame to the family name by participating in several military campaigns, being the main captain of the Hungarian infantry and serving in the office of the Šariš deputy county-administrator for nine years from 1581. He also worked as the main military judge of the Upper Hungary for some time. He built a renaissance manor house (today called “southern” or “lower”) in Pekľany. This fact had been commemorated, until recently, by an original renaissance portal, which was unique in Slovakia with its artistic design. Unfortunately, it was violently destroyed sometime after 1997. Even though, there is no sepulchral monument preserved for Andrew I Keczer, or it has not been discovered yet, the tombstone of his wife, Clara Semsey, is located at the cemetery near the mentioned St. Ladislaus Church in Pekľany. The name of Andrew I is also found on a non-inscribed bell in the tower of St. Ladislaus Church. Andrej I initiated the production of the bell, which was completed after his death, thanks to his son Stephen, sometime between 1599 and 1611.
Second son of Andrej I, Andrej II, drew nearest to his father’s glory and rank. His tombstone, which features the new coat of arms of the Keczer family granted by Ferdinand II in 1631, is preserved in the nearby municipality of Opiná, outside the Church of St. Barbara near the northern wall. The tombstone was ordered by his wife, Fiora Kamper from Scharffeneck, a member in origin of the lower-Austrian family that settled in Bratislava in the 16th century. With her relates another interesting heraldic relic in the Keczer mausoleum in Žehňa (Prešov district), placed there secondarily (the construction comes from the 19th century). It is a polychrome panel that depicts the coats of arms of both, the husband and wife.
In Hanušovce nad Topľou (district Vranov nad Topľou), near the ancient parish church, is a belfry that still preserves a functioning bell cast by the Prešov bell-maker George Wierd. It recalls the times when the town was co-owned by the Keczers, in the first half of the 17th century, as says the inscription in the upper third of the bell’s waist.
Women’s clothing of the 14th – 16th century and collections of Šariš museum
The historical exposition of the Šariš Museum in Bardejov contains a rich spectrum of sculptures and altar paintings, which can be the source for studying the history of everyday lives. The works come from several places of the Šariš county (Bardejov, Bajerov, Brezovica nad Torysou, Fričovce, Hervartov, Rokytov, Tarnov, Vysoká, Zlaté) as well as Spiš (Plaveč). The aim of the article is to introduce women’s clothes from the period between 1370 and 1540, on the example of the collection items, as well as to illustrate the conjunction and concurrence of the old (gothic) forms of clothing with the new (renaissance).
Like today, clothing in the past used to reflect societal and social status of the one who wore it and the then morals, but, above all, it protected from adverse weather. The research in this field is multi-disciplinary and involves work with iconographic material (source), study of written sources as well as replenishment of archaeological findings. The written sources create a terminological image and provide information about the imported as well as exported textile materials and clothing accessories, such as jewels, buttons and gems. Iconography is an especially important source for visual image. The medieval artist knew nothing about the everyday realities of the period, in which the pictured events took place (the cycle of Christology and of the Holy Virgin, the lives of saints) and therefore he transferred his world and his times into the depicted themes.
The author analyses the typical clothes of the given period, represented in selected sculptures and paintings of the local provenience. She mainly describes tunics and variants of their designs, and at the same time points out the German influence on our fashion. She then explores various kinds of coats, headwear of single as well as married women (focussing also on hairstyles and their meaning), and shoes, which are partly covered by clothes in the historic artistic depictions. The accessories in the exhibition include belts, which used to be an inseparable part of women’s clothing and completed the figures’ silhouettes. Rings and other kinds of jewels were not documented in the examined iconography.
Iron smelting in Vlachovo
The municipality of Vlachovo sits in the valley of the river Slaná, southeast of the mining town of Dobšiná and northwest of Rožňava. The origins of the municipality go back to the 14th century, when it was probably formed as a mining settlement. The first written evidence about Vlachovo comes from 1427. The lives of the local citizens were significantly influenced by Turkish plunder in 1566. The plague in 1578 also left damage behind. The estate of Krásna Hôrka became the owner of the municipality in the 16th century.
The mineral deposits in the municipality’s area formed the so-called Vlachovo ore field, where ores containing silver, copper and iron were mined. The exploitation of the local ores started in the Middle Ages. More detailed reports, however, came from the 18th century and documented the condition of copper and silver mines. By the end of the 18th century, in the western part of the Vlachovo field were the mines of Pauli-Hermani, the owners of which mined copper ore. In the first third of the 19th century, the mines in the eastern part of the field, specifically in the localities of Babiná a Stromiš, also focussed on mining copper ore. The mines for silver and copper were also working in other parts of the area; however, mining of these ores stopped in the second half of the 19th century.
In Vlachovo, ironmongery and the mining of iron ore became more profitable. The sources mention local production of iron for the first time in 1570. Other mentions about iron production come from 1667, 1690, 1707 and 1717, and confirm the continuity of the local metallurgy. The production facilities in the 18th century belonged to the family of Töltési, later it was the family of Andrássy who significantly influenced the iron production in the Gemer region. Karol Andrássy built a high furnace at the municipality in 1843, called Karlova huta (Charles Smelter) and hámre (iron forges). His son Emanuel Andrássy built another high furnace in the Vlachovo smelter in 1870. His successor Gejza, however, did not protect the family business from competition and the Andrássy iron works thus became part of the Rimamurány-Salgótarjání vasmúrészvénytarsaság stock company in 1900. The new owner disabled the last high furnace from operation in 1907.