KASSA (Germ. Kaschau; Lat. Cassovia), the capital of the county of Abauj-Torna, in Hungary, 170 m. N.E. of Budapest by rail. Pop. (1900), 35,856. Kassa is one of the oldest and handsomest towns of Hungary, and is pleasantly situated on the right bank of the Hernad. It is surrounded on three sides by hills covered with forests and vineyards, and opens to the S.E. towards a pretty valley watered by the Hernad and the Tarcza. Kassa consists of the inner town, which was the former old town surrounded with walls, and of three suburbs separated from it by a broad glacis. The most remarkable building, considered the grandest masterpiece of architecture in Hungary, is the Gothic cathedral of St Elizabeth. Begun about 1270 by Stephen V., it was continued (1342-1382) by Queen Elizabeth, wife of Charles I., and her son Louis I., and finished about 1468, in the reign of Matthias I. (Corvinus). The interior was transformed in the 18th century to the Renaissance style, and the whole church thoroughly restored in 1877-1896. The church of St Michael and the Franciscan or garrison church date from the 13th century. The royal law academy, founded in 1659, and sanctioned by golden bull of King Leopold I. in 1660, has an extensive library; there are also a museum, a Roman Catholic upper gymnasium and seminary for priests, and other schools and benevolent institutions. Kassa is the see of a Roman Catholic bishopric. It is the chief political and commercial town of Upper Hungary, and the principal entrepdt for the commerce between Hungary and Galicia. Its most important manufactures are tobacco, machinery, iron, furniture, textiles and milling. About 3 m. N.W. of the town are the baths of Banko, with alkaline and ferruginous springs, and about 1 2 m. N.E. lies Rank-Herlein, with an intermittent chalybeate spring. About 20 m. W. of Kassa lies the famous Premonstratensian abbey of Jaszo, founded in the 12th century. The abbey contains a rich library and valuable archives. In the neighbourhood is a fine stalactite grotto, which often served as a place of refuge to the inhabitants in war time.
Kassa was created a town and granted special privileges by Bela IV. in 1235, and was raised to the rank of a royal free town by Stephen V. in 1270. In 1290 it was surrounded with walls. The subsequent history presents a long record of revolts, sieges and disastrous conflagrations. In 1430 the plague carried Off a great number of the inhabitants. In 1458 the right of minting money according to the pattern and value of the Buda coinage was granted to the municipality by King Matthias I. The bishopric was established in 1804. In the revolutionary war of 1848-49 the Hungarians were twice defeated before the walls of Kassa by the Austrians under General Schlick, and the town was held successively by the Austrians, Hungarians and Russians.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)