Welcome to Michalovce, a charming town situated on the Laborec river in eastern Slovakia. Originally named after the Archangel St Michael, it is the second-largest city in the Košice Region and the seat of the Michalovce District. The city is located on the shore of Lake Sirava, approximately 360 kilometres (224 miles) east of the capital Bratislava and immediately adjacent to the border with Ukraine. Michalovce is mostly recognized for its adjacent lakes and volcanic mountains, which generates tourism, and for agriculture as well as the passing Druzhba pipeline. According to the latest census, the population of the town stood at 40,255, with a metropolitan population of 109,121, which ranks it among the largest population centers in eastern Slovakia.
Michalovce has a fascinating history that can be traced back to the Palaeolithic era. Archaeologists have found prehistoric Homo sapiens skeletons in the region, as well as numerous objects and vestiges by the foot of the Vihorlat mountains, dating from the Neolithic. During the Late Bronze Age, the surrounding area was an important cultural and trading center within the Carpathian Basin. The history of Michalovce was significantly influenced by the presence of Celtic tribes, starting from the Gallic expansions in the 4th century BC, and later by the Romans. The town of Michalovce is the place where the legendary Prince Laborec died and was buried according to legends. From the tenth century onwards, the region was part of Hungary. After the Ottoman conquest in south central Hungary in the sixteenth century, Hungary was divided, and present-day Michalovce became part of the Eastern Hungarian Kingdom, and later Royal Hungary. Since the Austrian-Hungarian Ausgleich of 1867, it achieved the status of a large community, and shortly afterward became the seat of one of the districts of Zemplén County.
The 19th century brought back significant development to the town. The construction of the railway linking Michalovce with Medzilaborce in 1874, as well as the construction of the first railway linking Hungary with Galicia in 1871, had a profound impact on the production, business, and regional development in and around Michalovce. After World War I, in 1918 (confirmed by the Treaty of Trianon in 1920), Michalovce, along with some other parts of Zemplén County, became part of the then-formed Czechoslovakia. In late summer and early autumn (August/September) 1944, 3500 Jewish inhabitants were deported from Michalovce. Since 1993, with the breakup of Czechoslovakia, Michalovce has been part of Slovakia. In 1996 it was made the seat of the Michalovce District.
Michalovce’s geography is characterized by the Eastern Slovak Lowland on the Laborec river, historically belonging to Zemplén County. The Vihorlat Mountains and the Zemplínska šírava lake are nearby, which make it an ideal destination for tourists. The biggest lake of the Vihorlat Mountains, Morské oko, Vinné castle, and Vinné lake are also nearby.
The town is home to many secondary schools and some university colleges. Of the seven secondary schools, the most well-known and prestigious is the Pavol Horov Gymnasium. The largest health care provider in the municipality is the Štefan Kukura Hospital in Michalovce, with 712 beds.
Michalovce’s sport scene is dominated by two professional top-division clubs: football club MFK Zemplín Michalovce and ice hockey club HK Dukla Michalovce.
In conclusion, Michalovce is a beautiful town that offers a blend of history, nature, and culture. Its location on the shore of Lake Sirava, proximity to the border with Ukraine, and scenic surroundings make it an ideal tourist destination. Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or simply seeking to relax and unwind, Michalovce has something for everyone.