Stage 1: Košice, Slowakei

It is an example of a transformation process that has reached a dead end – and it is one of the first stops on our journey through Central and Eastern Europe: the Luník IX district in Košice, Slovakia. 

Originally built in the 1970s as a workers’ housing estate for policemen and soldiers, today almost exclusively Rom:nja live here, with an unemployment rate of over 90%. After the collapse of state socialism, Košice – like many other places in Central and Eastern Europe – saw the collapse of industry and the promise of jobs. Those who could afford it moved away from Luník IX, while poverty-stricken and structurally excluded people, especially Rom:nja, were forcibly relocated to Luník IX in the following years. The transformation to an inclusive district originally planned for Luník IX failed.

The impressions from Luník IX will keep us busy for a long time. Out of respect, however, it seemed inappropriate for us to take photos at close range. Therefore, we decided to take a picture that shows the entire district from the air. However, we would like to refer you to a short film by Artur Čonka, who himself grew up in Luník IX for a few years and can thus give you a picture from the inside:

We will report again tomorrow!

Text: Tobias Schwessinger

Photo: Christian Faludi