Sekesfehervar (Hungary) – the most detailed information about the city with photos. The main sights of Szekesfehervar with descriptions, travel guides and maps.
City of Sekesfeherhervar (Hungary)
Sékesfehervár is a city in central Hungary and the capital of the Feuer county. It was founded in the 10th century and for five centuries was one of the most important centers of the Hungarian kingdom. Székesfehérvár is the medieval residence of Hungarian kings, the place of their coronation and burial. Unfortunately, a large part of the medieval town was destroyed by the Turks in the 16th century.
Thirty-seven Hungarian monarchs were crowned in Sekesfehérvár.
Things to do (Hungary):
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Geography and climate
Székesfehérvár is located on the Middle Prinadubia Plain between Budapest and Lake Balaton. The city enjoys a temperate continental climate with warm summers and cool winters, typical of Hungary.
- Population – 97 thousand people
- Area – 170.89 km²
- Language – Hungarian.
- Currency – Hungarian forint.
- Time – UTC +1.
Sekesfehervar was founded in the 10th century by Prince Geza, who was the great grandson of the legendary Hungarian leader Arpad. The city was first mentioned in 1009. Under King Istvan, Sekesfehervar received urban rights, and grew and developed rapidly. In the 11th century, the first coronation of a Hungarian monarch took place here. Over the next centuries, 37 Hungarian rulers were crowned and 15 of them were buried in Sekesfehervar. Interestingly, the city was not plundered during the Mongol invasion and flourished until the Ottoman invasion in the 16th century.
In 1543, the Ottoman army captured Sekesfehervar, destroying virtually the entire city, the coronation basilica, and ruining the graves of Hungarian kings. The Turks ruled the city for nearly a century and a half. In 1688 Szekesfehérvár was liberated by the Austrians and rebuilt in Baroque architecture. But the ordeal was not the end of the town. During World War II, Sekesfehervar was a place of fierce fighting, during which almost half of the city was destroyed.
How to get there
Sjeksfehervar is an important transportation hub between Budapest and Lake Balaton. There are regular train and bus connections to the Hungarian capital.
Garden of ruins
“The Garden of Ruins” (Középkori Romkert) is a national symbol of Hungary, the place where an ancient basilica was built by Saint Istvan. In the Middle Ages this church was the most important religious building of Hungary, was the place of coronation of Hungarian kings and burial place of some of them. At its height, this imposing basilica with its four spires was considered one of the largest churches in Europe. It was also home to the national treasury, including the royal throne and regalia. The tomb of St. Istvan became over time a place of pilgrimage.
Unfortunately, the church and the tombs of the Hungarian kings were ruined by the Turks in the 16th century. The Ottomans then made the church a gunpowder warehouse. In 1601, the building was destroyed in a fire and subsequent explosion. Today, all that remains of the once great basilica are fragments of stone walls.
At the entrance to the “garden” is a mausoleum in which the sarcophagus of Saint Istvan, found in 1803 during the construction of the bishop’s palace, is on display.
Not far from the “garden of ruins” is the Baroque bishop’s palace, built from fragments of a ruined basilica in the first half of the 19th century. A little away from the building there is an interesting monument, which has the appearance of one of the regalia of the Hungarian kings.
Interesting museums of Sekesfehérvár:
- Museum Village, an ethnographic complex on Rát Street.
- Archaeological Museum in a former Cistercian monastery, with collections from the Neolithic to the Ottoman period of Hungarian history.
- Bishops’ Museum, located in a former Franciscan monastery, which displays royal treasures and religious artifacts.
- The Clock Museum, which displays hundreds of wall, table, pocket, wristwatches and even a 17th-century tower clock.
Basilica of St. Istvan
Currently, the Basilica of St. Istvan is the most important church in Székesfehérvár. It stands on the site of an ancient church built by Grand Duke Geza in the 10th century. It is assumed that the funeral of Géza and the coronation of St. István as the first king of Hungary took place in this church. The ancient church was replaced by a Gothic cathedral under King Béla IV. In 1235, breaking with tradition, he held his coronation here. The present baroque appearance of the building was acquired in the second half of the 18th century.
Church of St. Imre
The church of St. Imre is a baroque building constructed in the 18th century. According to legend, the church was built on the site where the palace of St. Istvan stood, where St. Imre was born.
The Cistercian Church is one of the most important religious buildings in Sekesfehervar. The building was built by the Jesuit order in the 18th century after liberation from the Turks.
Chapel of St. Anne
St. Anne’s Chapel is the only Gothic monument that survived the Ottoman period and is one of the few surviving medieval buildings in Székesfehérvár. The church was built in 1474 during the reign of King Matthias I. It is a small single-nave building with an exquisite net vault.
The castle belonged to Jeno Bory, who was a Hungarian sculptor, painter and architect. He built it with his own hands. The construction of the castle was started in 1923. Bori worked on it until his death in 1959. He considered the castle to be his own masterpiece and when building it he did not follow the drawings, but relied only on his imagination. The building is notable for its variety and eccentric mix of architectural styles, from Scottish to Romanesque to Gothic. It is free to climb the towers and walk among the garden sculptures that were created by him. Inside are several galleries with paintings by Bory and his wife.
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Sekesfehervar – the first capital of Hungary
…I’ve been thinking for a while now: Why am I writing all about the past? It’s time for something “fresh”. For example, Sekesfehervar, a Hungarian city with a complicated name. It took me a long time to start pronouncing its name correctly and without stuttering. To tourists it is known practically by one landmark – the Castle of Eternal Love. But I, as an experienced traveler, do not think so. This town is worth a visit, knowing its thousand-year history, although to get acquainted with it is enough and one day. And its romantic component (the castle) is an additional item to the obligatory program.
So, let’s talk about it one by one.
Székesfehérvár is the administrative center of the Feyér county (Hungary is divided into 19 counties and the city, equivalent to the county of Budapest). The population is 100,000.
In ancient times, the territory of the Central-Zadunaisky region was part of Pannonia, one of the provinces of the Roman Empire. Already in those times there was a settlement on the site of Sekesfehervar, which is proved by the excavations conducted in the city. The now Hungarian city was founded in 972 on the site of the tent of Arpad, the leader of the Hungarians who led their repopulation in what is now Hungary. The city was founded by the great grandson of Arpad, Prince Gesa. The first written mention of the city dates back to 1009.
In the Middle Ages on the territory of modern Sekesfehervar there was a royal residence. It was the first capital, the cradle of Hungarian statehood. There were 37 kings crowned here. However, the city was known by the name of Alba Regia.
The name Székesfehervar is translated as “Throne White Castle”: “szék” – “throne”, “fehér” – “white”, “vár” – “fortress” or “city”.
During Turkish rule, the city was known as Belgrade or Istolni Belgrade. In the era of the Austrian Empire, it was known as Stuhlweissenburg. Most of the historical buildings of today’s Sekesfehervar were built over a hundred years (1740 – 1840). The swamps, which had been saved from the Mongol invasion, were drained, the city plan was changed, and the centuries-old walls were demolished because they were not needed.
The city survived not only the Mongol invasion, but also the Turkish invasion, the takeover by the Habsburgers and the transition into the Austro-Hungarian Empire. During the fighting in World War II, almost half of the buildings in the city were destroyed. The remains of more than 4 thousand Soviet soldiers were buried in mass graves in the city cemetery.
After the war, the Baroque buildings in the historic center were restored, and the rest of the city was built up with modern standard houses typical of the socialist countries. Sekeshfehervar was transformed into a major industrial center. The most important factories were the Ikarus bus plant, which in the past was very popular in this country (and in dozens of other countries, too), and the Videoton TV and radio equipment factory (Wikipedia article).
What is Sekesfehervar like today? I’ll show you and tell you.
From the railway station the navigator took us through Prohászka Ottokár út. Street names I will not write in Russian, not to confuse the names, because the Hungarian (or Magyar as it is also called) is one of the most complex languages in Europe.
At Prohászka Ottokár út – nothing to do, all sovdepia. It is as if you are not in Hungary, but in your homeland. At Vörösmarty tér are already houses, the details of which you start to look at.
And here is the man after whom the square is named – Mihály Vörösmarty (sometimes it’s called Michael Vorósmarty), the Hungarian poet and playwright.
Várfal park (literally translated as “Castle Wall Park”) is the starting point for many tourists and visitors. After all, it is from here that it is convenient to start your route.
In fact, the remains of the city wall. The two towers of Szent István Cathedral are in the background.
In the center is the Püspök-kút, the bishop’s fountain. The composition features four bishops and an Arpadian warrior standing on top of the column .
At the beginning of F.Liszt Street is a tactile map of the city (2016).
Here is also a place for selfies
F. Liszt Street (composer and greatest pianist of the twentieth century).
The old woman in a scarf is a monument to the simple milkmaid Kati Neni (baba Kata), which has become an indispensable attribute of city life. When passing by, you should touch her for good luck and happiness.
The main square in the Old Town is Varosház tér, or Town Hall Square. In the background are the towers of the Cistercian church of St. John of Nepomuk.
A monument to the 10th Hussar Regiment of the famous Hungarian cavalry, which existed from 1741 to 1918 in the form of a barely dressed rider on a horse. Residents of the city joke that the hussar is naked because he is standing right up against the windows of the Tax Commission of City Hall.
City Hall – consists of three buildings that were erected at different times. The main building dates back to the medieval period of the city’s history. It can be easily distinguished by the flags and two statues above the entrance. The building was thoroughly reconstructed in Baroque style immediately after the fall of the Turkish yoke in 1688.
The Derzhava fountain is a huge marble ball, which is held by three lions and symbolizes the Derzhava, and the crown on the ball represents the power of kings. The lions also hold the royal coat of arms. On the pedestal are engraved three most significant dates: 1001 – crowning of King Stephen, 1688 – liberation from the Turkish yoke, 1938 – 900 years since the death of King Stephen.
Around the ball there is a commemorative inscription: LIBERTATES CIVITATI ALBENSI A. S. REGE STEPHANO CONCESSAE – “The Great King Saint Istvan granted Fehervar the right to be a free city”. A marble orb stands on three lions, and on its top is a crown symbolizing royalty and a cross – recognition of Christianity.
Below, in the background on the left, you can see a piece of the Bishop’s Palace, which was the royal residence until the mid-16th century. It is now the official residence of the bishop. On the right is the road to the Garden of Ruins (Koronazo Square). It represents the remains of the foundations of the cathedral where the Hungarian kings were crowned.