The New Monumentality
Healthy, monumental, orange-coloured phallic symbols fill the skyline of many an industrial city. Through their innards they release the joyful news of industrial production, employment, life. After all, what testifies to the life and health of an urban organism better than working factories? The present-day region of Eastern Slovakia has consistently been the poorest part of any political unit it happened to be a part of, and it continues to honour this tradition by being one of Europe’s poorest regions. Despite the fact that the industrial revolution touched Eastern Slovakia only very gently, several exquisite chimneys can be found in Košice, livening up the otherwise sacral tone of the city’s skyline.
The Air Force Academy
The former military complex contains a two-storey building with an out-of-use chimney. The secret army archives it housed were easily identifiable by this orange communication channel.
The former distillery was an alcohol-mixing lab in the early twenties; today it is surrounded by the campus of the Technical University. After it stopped being a distillery lab but before the invention of modern heating methods, the building served as a boiler house for heating the university’s massive main building. The chimney has since been thorn down, only its base survives to this day.
The ‘Old Hospital’
The kiln of the ‘Old Hospital’, mired in rather unsavory legends, allegedly had the power to cure even the terminally ill. This dark history is tempered by the beautiful park that surrounds the hospital, by day full of patients enjoying the benefits of modern healthcare.
Though the beer brewed in Košice never matched the quality of its regional rivals, the brewery built on the edge of the Old Town became an organic part of the city. The brewery has since been demolished and replaced by residential and office buildings. Only the brewery’s chimney remains standing, towering over the new quarter.
The Magnesite Factory
The highly photogenic ruin of the former Magnesite factory built at the start of the 20th century enjoys stable levels of popularity thanks to its beauty and the freely available building material. Its two chimneys rule over the city’s northern skyline. However, the progressive dilapidation affecting the rest of the factory could one day also become the fate of these orange monuments.
The Soap Factory
Two chimneys adorn the beautiful torso of the soap factory. The idyllic industrial landscape is complemented by the train depot that lies across the dried-up canal basin. During periods of heavy rain, the soil around the factory turns into a huge bubble-blowing machine, with the bubbles also visible from the Old Town.
The VSS Factory Complex
Should the late Andrei Tarkovskij decide to make a sequel to Stalker, he’d set it within the machinery-producing factory complex in the southern periphery of Košice. The network of factory halls and cranes overgrowing with grass is crowned by a couple of chimneys.
The Heating Plant
In the course of struggles over privilege, property and land, the good people of Košice successfully dismantled their castle back in the 15th century. Towerblocks rather than medieval fortresses thus look down over the city from the surrounding hills today. Nonetheless, the city does have a castle-like building to its name. A heating plant with two massive chimneys and cooling pools, which respectively resemble dungeons and moats, spreads out in the southern part of the valley that cradles the city. A supporting wall at the edge of the Železníky district provides the best aspect for admiring the plant.
The true steel heart of the city. The independent mega-organism lives to the south of the city. Each day it absorbs the energy of tens of thousands of workers and in its kilns, rolling mills and cooling towers converts into a heavenly symphony. With its sprawling network of industrial buildings, the steelworks dominate the city’s horizon. The multi-coloured smoke rising from its chimneys reaches psychedelic proportions when watched against a sunset.
The Old Swimming Pool
The swimming pool cannot boast any energy-charged phallic symbols nor any levels of over-production - it simply does not belong to the industrial family. Regardless, it wins hands down over its macho adversaries. It is an elegant, fine-boned, timeless construction built in the 1960s on the banks of the river channel that ran through the centre of the city. After the channel was diverted and a road built in its stead, the building became unstable and its beauty was never able to reach a full bloom.
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Use The City – mit diesem Slogan konnte Košice als erste slowakische Stadt den Titel der „European City Of Culture 2013“ gewinnen. LABKULTUR.TV begleitet die Transformation der ehemaligen Industriestadt zur Kulturhauptstadt 2013.