VESZPREM - THE CITY OF QUEENS
Veszprem is a Hungarian city having come from the olden times. In is situated on the bank of the Sed river among the hills of Middletransdanube where everything is covered with thick woods. This charming city is situated at the distance of 16km from the “Hungerian sea” – Balaton lake, and 110km from Budapest. The city brought through the ages and saved its atmosphere of comfort and peace. It was founded by king Istvan I Saint (the first Hungarian king). He was the person who spread Christianity in Hungary. Dowry of queen named Gisela helped to unite devastated areas in the unified state – Hungary. The king married not only for a cupboard love, though age difference between the future couple was significant. However, long before this event, there was a castle located here, and historians assume that it was erected by Franks. The King and his wife Gisela established in Veszprem the first episcopacy in the country that had a privilege to crown queens. The year 1001 was notable due to the fact that St. Michael cathedral was erected in Veszprem, where coronation took place. Veszprem is also called “the city of Queens” which is connected with the episcopacy. Veszprem was wonderfully fortified and this fact was proven by multiple defeats of Mongolian attacks in the XIII century. However, in the year 1522 the Turkish decided to repeat their invasion, and they were driven away.
During the period of early Middle Ages, there was a fortress erected on the territory of modern city which was the beginning of its history. Unfortunately, the fortress hasn’t been saved, however, memory of it lives in the name of the hill on which it used to tower. The city is located on seven hills: Várhegy (Castle Hill), Jeruzsálem-hegy (Jerusalem Hill), Benedek-hegy (St. Benedict Hill), Gulyadomb (Herd Hill), Kálvária-domb (Calvary Hill), Cserhát , Temet?hegy (Cemetery Hill), as locals say.
Veszprem saved a number of attractions within its walls; they are passed from the Middle Ages. The most outstanding and significant ones are located on the hill called Várhegy. Rakoczi street leads to the hill. Houses of this street are built in such styles as art-nouveau, rococo, and baroque. At the end of Rakoczi you will find a square with the Town house built in the XIX century that belongs to the most beautiful landmarks. Another symbol of Veszprem is a fire tower located on the way to the hill. This unique architectural construction is built in the form of a lighthouse. Its appearance is connected with the fact that the tower was severely damaged by the earthquake of 1810 and it was decided to demolish it. However, the citizens were against and decided to rebuild it into a fire tower. From its top, namely, from its viewing platform, you can admire the hills of Bakonsky mountain range and wonderful view to the city.
The route to the Castle hill passes through the “heroes’ gate”. This received its name in honor of the citizens who died during the World War I. The hill saved ancient history of the city life. Lined houses of wealthy citizens froze along the ridge of Castle mountain and keep secrets of their deceased owners. Episcopal palace built in the baroque style advantageously differs among numerous constructions. The building gable hosts the bishop’s coat of arms representing winged angels that support wreaths hanging from a vase. Gisela’s chapel is situated near the Episcopal palace. The building was constructed during the reign of Arpad dynasty. The chapel suggests its visitors getting aquatinted with church art and visit lower church and cellar which were constructed on orders of queen Gisela and are the oldest in Hungary, as a legend says.
Central square of the city is adorned with the column of St. Trinity accompanied by figures of St. Emeric, Stephan, Martin, Maria Magdalena and George. Another most beautiful building is situated behind the column. This is St. Michael Cathedral. The first cathedral was erected here in the IX – XI. For successive centuries it was numerously rebuilt and as a result the cathedral gained an appearance, made in four absolutely different styles, and the only things reminding about its original look are the altar and the crypt. Solemn coronation was held in the cathedral and that’s the reason why its adornment is so rich – bright stained-glass windows, arched ceilings, and well-crafted fanciful patterns on the walls.
St. Michael cathedralfaces Eparchial museum dedicated to queen Gisela. This museum gathered all church treasures of Veszprem episcopate of the ХV- XX centuries. These include chiseling, paintings, textiles, sculptures, as well as archiepiscopal treasury. Northern part of the cathedral neighbors St. Dierdia chapel which is the oldest among buildings for public worship in the country. A legend says that in the chapel the son of king Istvan vowed celibacy. To honor this event, a sculpture was installed representing a horseman with a lilac in one hand and a sword in the other defeating the serpent which symbolizes the victory of good over evil and harm.
Another symbol of this wonderful city is located on the top of Castle hill. These are figures of queen Gisela and king Istvan I. They seem to have frozen in their calm majesty. There is a viewing tower that opens an incredible view to the wonderful Var valley whose lap hosts the city of Veszprem. From the tower you can see Bakon mountains, white mountain range Benedek and chiseled bridge of St. Istvan. Apart from being called the city of queens, Veszprem is also named the city of bell-ringing and wind. However, the ring can be heard only when the winds are quiet though the peak of Castle hill are never calm. This light wind seems to whisper about the exciting history and good old times.
Dezhe Latsko museum is also popular with tourists. Valuable relics are gathered here that passed the thousands years of Bacon massif history.
Very interesting and old places are situated near the city which are villa Balaszapusta (it came from the times of Ancient Rome), Herend museum, Nadvazhon fortress and Zits monastery, of the Cistercian Order. Kittenberger Kalman Zoo and wonderful botanic garden belong to interesting sights. Cultural life of the city seethes all year round – concerts, theatrical first nights and exhibitions.