On July 16, 2002, Pittsburgh acquired a new
Sister City in Slovakia. The city of Presov, located in Eastern
Slovakia, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, agreed to share information
pertaining to business, medical research, and cultural exchange
programs with the goal of developing friendship and understanding
towards one another. Mayor Juraj Kopcak, who was the mayor
of Presov at that time, and Pittsburgh mayor Tom Murphy, signed
the sister city proclamation in the city chambers with all
of the councilmen and a large audience of Slovak Americans
The majority of the Pittsburgh Slovaks have ancestors from the
Presov region making such an agreement more appropriate. Another
reason for this relationship is that United States Steel Corporation
has purchased one of the largest steel producing factories in
central Europe located in Kosice which is very close to Presov.
The former VSZ plant, now known as USS-Kosice, is the largest
employer in Slovakia. As a result of their success, many other
prospective businesses are exploring the feasibility of locating
in the area. Presov is marketing itself as a good place for business.
Presov is the third largest city in Slovakia with a population
of 95,000. The history of Presov goes back more than 750 years
and it is very interesting. In the 17th century, Presov was a
refuge for the leaders of the reformation. The Hapsburgs persecuted
those who embraced the Protestant movement. As a result, 24leaders
of the reformation were martyred in Presov. This is just one example
of the strong will of the freedom loving inhabitants of the city
and also the reason that Presov is called the "Rebel City"
of Eastern Slovakia.
Presov is home to an Evangelical (Lutheran) seminary, a Byzantine
(Greek Catholic) seminary and a Russian Orthodox seminary. All
of these institutions have residing bishops. The city at one time
had a large and wealthy Jewish community. Presently, the small
Jewish enc1ave is working to reestablish its facilities. The Presov
synagogue, which now houses a gallery, is one of the most beautiful
and famous in all of Slovakia. Numerous unique woodei1 churches,
which are on the historical list because of their vernacular architecture
and age, are scattered throughout the small villages surrounding
Slovakia is divided into eight districts and the Presov district
is the largest in area and population. The Saris area, the Tatra
Mountain area, as well as much of the Spis region are within the
boundaries of the Presov District. Just as Pittsburgh honors Andy
with a museum, so does a small village North East of Presov by
the name of .
Medzilaborce. There is a statue in the Town Square of Andy Warhol
as well as a mileage marker pointing to Pittsburgh and a gallery
dedicated to his work. The parents of the renowned artist were
born in the area.
Presov is a city young in spirit. It supports a junior hockey
team as well as a soccer team. It is also home to a historic liberal
arts university and several technical schools, which bring many
young people to the area. Several theaters, folk ensembles and
classical groups are domiciled in the city. A culinary and hotel
management academy prepares future chefs and managers for the
Just as Pittsburgh is planning renovation of its central business
district, Presov has already started and the City Square is almost
completely renovated in the beautiful rococo baroque style, which
prevailed in Slovakia in the 18th century.
The membership of Slovakia into NATO and the European Union makes
this area attractive for foreign investment. Several research
and development facilities are under construction.
It was through the efforts of the Western Pennsylvania Slovak
Cultural Association that the Pittsburgh and Presov Sister City
Agreement became a reality. Now the work will begin to make the
agreement viable and benefit both cities.
|Presov Mayor Pavel Hagyari and Honorary Consul Joseph Senko