Saint Elizabeth of Hungary was born in 1207 in Sárospatak as the third child of Andrew II King of Hungary.
She ended up in Thuringia when she was only four years old, where she married Louis Marquis ten years later. Their love was mutual and passionate during their brief, six-year-long marriage and, thanks to this, Louis supported Elizabeth’s charity work (helping ill, starving, and poor people) until his death in spite of the growing misapprehension of the relatives.
However, Elizabeth’s situation, who became a widow at the age of twenty, could not be maintained any longer. Andrew II’s wish to call home his daughter and three grandchildren and the marriege proposal of the German-Roman Emperor Frederick II were futile attempts as Elizabeth decided to reject these notions and take care of her patients at the infirmary in Marburg, founded by her, while also taking care of her children.
Elizabeth, who joined the third order of Saint Franciscan when she was twenty-four years old, died on 17th November 1231. Soon miracles happened at her grave and four years later the Catholic Church canonized her. Her love of life, kindness, goodness towards the poor, her love for her husband, and her desire for God made her worthy of being one of the most well-known and dearest Saints in Europe.
The pilgrimage way, opened in 2011, links the hometown of Saint Elizabeth, Sárospatak (Hungary) with Košice (Slovakia).
The total length of the pilgrimage route is approximately 100 km and is indicated by a symbolic red rose. The road crosses one of the most beautiful highlands of Hungary, the Zemplén, and goes through small settlements and fairy forests until it leaves the border of the country at Füzér Castle and continues in Slovakia.
We arrive at the destination of our trip in Kosice after a long, somewhat monotonous walk along the river Hernád. The old town surrounds the most Eastern Gothic cathedral of Europe with its simultaneously fresh and ancient atmosphere: the Saint Elizabeth Dome and the Saint Michael church. They were built for almost a hundred and fifty years.
The dome in Kosice also holds another treasure for us, Hungarians: our gallant prince, Francis Rákóczi II and his mother Ilona Zrinyi were buried here for eternal peace. The prince tried to fight for the independence of Hungary against the Habsburg Empire at the beginning of the 1700s. Although his aspiration was not successful, his deep religiosity, unquenchable love towards his nation, and sense of responsibility places him amongst the biggest Hungarians.
The shortest Hungarian pilgrimage route is full of surprises for the pilgrims. The Rákóczi castle in Sárospatak at the side of the river Bodrog is a testament of the power of the Rákóczi generation, who once lived here and won the Transylvanian Principality as well.
Although the way does not lead in that direction, it is worth visiting the Megyer-hill tarn which was chosen as the most beautiful natural wonder of Hungary in 2011.
In the Middle Ages Waloons settled here (Bodrogolaszi), later the Rusyns arrived in this territory (Komlóska), while we are greeted by the intimate ruins of the Rákóczi castle at Regéc reminding us of the glorious past, and the Pauline Monastery sorrounded by forests.
At Hollóháza, the masterpieces of the Hungarian porcelain production can be admired, and following a steep climb, we can discover the castle (Füzér) where the Saint Crown was guarded after the Hungarian kingdom lost its war of life and death against the Ottoman Empire. Our road leads through sites from the Bronze Age in Slovakia (Nižná Myšla), then we arrive in Kosice where not only can we proclaim our respects for St Elizabeth, but we can also get to know the famous sights of the city centre.