Visit at Ťahanovce, Košice
Text by Valérie de Saint-Do
It wasn’t without a little mockery that Mišo Hudak, an artist familiar to non-quite-touristic tours in Košice, introduced us in Ťahanovce, an district of Kosice where visitors don’t usually go. It is situated in the city limits, and supposed to be the area with the highest criminality rate in Košice next to Lunik IX. What were we supposed to see in this conglomerat of blocks, some of them recently covered with new isolation and fancy colours. Mišo explained us that construction works in this area started in 1985, and first families move into new flats in 1988. It was planned to be twice as large, and to erase and replace an old village set just in front, under a pedestrian bridge which has no use now.
Ťahanovce had to shelter in various scenarios from 60.000 to 80.000 of inhabitants. But the project was short of money after 1989, last blocs of flats were finished between 1995 and 1997. For a long time, the district was devoided of infrastructures like nurseries, culture centres, and even the school had to organize schedules into morning and daily shifts to welcome all the numerous youth of the district, but this was also result of last babyboom in Czechoslovakia in 1980s. The district was planned to be extended, but the city became short of fields. During the communism, state or municipality just bought fields and parcel from owners for lower prices, without any discussions. But after the fall of communism, state or municipality has to negotiate with owners about conditions and money. Today, as the properties and lands are divided into thin stripes, developers, or city municipality have to deal with hundreds of owners.
Mišo didn’t hide us some real social problems in the district, unemployment, and a youth which boredom makes somewhat agitated (no more than youth usually is). But as long as we were walking in the district, all that we see was children on the playgrounds, quiet families, nice and well taken care of little gardens. Nothing to compare, for instance, to what we woud call difficult suburbs in France. In some way Mišo had trapped us, even the people from other districts avoid to buy or rent a flat here, or just pay a visit, because they think, that is it one of the most dangerous part of Košice, this district is fundamentally a fine place to live in. He cant testify of it, he lived here for 25 years, since his childhood.
And next to the district, a very large place of wasteland offers a paradise to children, walkers, dreamers. Under the ground, there is an infrastructure hidden for the future development, but the surface has happily been left uncared, and instead of a organized park or playgroud, you have kinda space of total freedom in the city. The kind of spaces too many cities in europ are lacking.
Photo from Julie Chovin