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Rožňava Summer in Košice, 2015 – Guilds of Rožňava

written by Ágnes Kovács, Sylvia Holečková
translated by Zoltán Bartko 2015-07-05


Rožňava Summer in Košice, 2015 – Guilds of Rožňava


At last, Rožňava Summer has arrived in Košice! The Mining Museum  in Rožňava and Rovás Academy of Košice have teamed up to set up an exhibition entitled ′The Guilds of Rožňava′ at the premises of the latter institution.


The varied life of these guilds is witnessed by written records as well as a rich collection of artefacts such as seals, call boards or chests (storing the guild′s documents and its other necessities).


The oldest guild of Rožňava was the Brotherhood – a miners′ guild – established at the beginning of the 14th century. The guilds established later came to life as organisations serving the needs of mining and to satisfy the miners′ needs. These were the guilds of leatherworkers, butchers and blacksmiths. 


In the 17th century, Rožňava used to be a significant handicraft centre in the Hungarian Kingdom. Moreover, it was an important mining town, too. This fact is demonstrated by the exhibition and the collection of artifacts.


Due to the decline of mining in the 18th century Rožňava became the town of handcraft with a vivid life of guilds. Throughout history more than 40 different professions founded their guilds – most of these dealt with textile, leather, metal and wood processing. Those, who wanted to learn a craft and become masters had to acquire their skills in a very tedious way. Apprentices worked 19 hours a day, for 3-4 years. Goldsmiths issued certificates of apprenticeship after 8 years of studies. After completing their studies, apprentices became journeymen. Journeymen started their 2-3 year long journey: they learned foreign languages and learned to make a living in many different ways. After their return home and after 1 master year they created their master work piece and they could become masters in their profession. 


Guilds reached a decline in the 18th century. One of the reasons for this was the advent of two factories: the stoneware factory and Markó′s leather works. The other reason, however, was the moral decline, which led to the dissolution of all guilds in 1872. 




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