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Kalocsa (Kalocsa)

This atmospheric city in the central Danube plain is as old as the Hungarian state. An ancient centre of Hungarian Catholicism it boasts unequalled ecclesiastic heritage. Today name of the settlement is inseparable from its ground spice paprika and the decorative Kalocsa embroidery.

The city is the archepiscopal seat of the 1000 years old Kalocsa-Kecskemét Diocese. King Stephen I established the archbishopric in this fortified town in 1001. The first archbishop here was Astrik, who brought the crown to the king from the pope.

In the course of battles during the Turkish times in the 16th century Kalocsa was burnt to ashes on several occasions and towards the end of the occupation it ended up a small serfs' village. In the 18th century the serfs were arranged into groups on the enormous outskirts of the city. Some of these farmsteads (szállások) gradually developed into individual villages. As a result, on 1st January 1898 the communities of Homokmégy and Szakmár constituted themselves independently of Kalocsa. The inhabitants of the city and its 25 associated 'szállás' settlements together create the Pota ethnographic group.

Alongside the architectural heritage of the archepiscopal seat of Kalocsa, invaluable ecclesiastic artefacts have survived from as early as the 12th century. These can be seen in the Archepiscopal Treasury (Érseki Kincstár). Established in the 8th century and today in a splendid Baroque environment the cathedral library also treasures items of great rarity.

The 'distinguishing features' of Kalocsa are folk arts and ground paprika. The local handcrafts and arts of the region, including the famed Kalocsa embroidery, are presented in the Regional House of Folk Arts (Népművészeti Tájház). There is also a museum dedicated to paprika which introduces the entire process and equipment of ground paprika production.

 

SIGHTS

Roman Catholic Cathedral of Our LadyKalocsa Hungary

Probably designed by Andreas Mayerhoffer, this Baroque cathedral dedicated to the Assumption of Our Lady was built between 1735 and 1754 on medieval foundations. The earthly remains of St Pius are kept here.

A memorial note and relics of saints were placed in the golden globe sited on the top of the tower during the rebuilding of the roof structure.

The main entrance between the two enormous towers is framed by Ionic columns holding the arched balcony. The relief of Mary, patron saint of Hungary (Patrona Hungariae) can be seen above in the tympanum surrounded by the heralds of the three archbishops in office during the construction. There is a statue of Mary between the apostles Peter and Paul on the bridge linking the towers.

Jenő Bory's relief of Astrik was placed on the south side of the tower. The first archbishop of the diocese was Abbot Astrik, who brought the Holy Crown to Hungary from Rome. The 18th-century tomb of Martinus Ravesu can be seen in the wall of the sanctuary corridor.

Those who enter will be amazed by the gold, pink and white colours radiating in the interior. The elongated sanctuary has retained its Romanesque form, but the high main nave with its arched vaulting creates the feel of Baroque churches.

The high altarpiece was painted by Leopold Kupelwieser in 1857. Depicting the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, the picture caused a small sensation at the World Fair in Paris. Under the altar of Our Lady of Sorrows lie the earthly remains of the martyr St Pius in a coffin ornamented with gold. It was brought from the catacombs of Rome on 11th July 1741 by Gabriel Patachich.

The gilt pulpit was carved from wood with the nearly life-size statues of the four Evangelists. The gem of the cathedral is the huge organ with its characteristic French sound; it was built by Joseph Angster between 1876 and 1877. Franz Liszt played on it several times on his visits to Kalocsa.

 

Bishop's Palace

Bishop's Palace Kalocsa HungaryThe keep of the castle that once stood here was built into the current Baroque-style palace. The palace chapel and banquet hall are decorated with frescoes by Maulbertsch. The palace is home to the archepiscopal library and treasury.

Archbishop József Batthyány began the construction of the palace in 1775. Later Adam Patachich had the library wing added, thus establishing the renowned cathedral library. The wooden panelling in the library and the cabinet is Rococo style. The western wing was erected in the last years of the 17th century.

Among the interesting items in the palace ceremonial hall is the Franz Liszt piano, on which the world-famous composer played several concerts.

Only the library and the treasury can be visited by groups upon advance booking and in the following time periods: 1 April – 31 October, on Tuesday-Sunday between 9am - 5pm.

 

Episcopal Treasury

Alongside the findings from the excavation of a 12th-century tomb, the copy of a 13th-century red marble king's head, as well as the gilt silver King St Stephen's herm can be seen here.

The findings of a 12th-century tomb of an archbishop and the 15th-century wooden statue of St John the Baptist are amongst the innumerable rare treasures to be found here.
The institute receives groups only on prior arrangement even during opening hours.

 

Archiepiscopal Library

The building of the archepiscopal palace is home to the cathedral library. The 140,000 volume collection is kept on carved wooden shelves in a splendid Baroque interior.

 

The collection was established in the 18th century. Amongst its rare volumes there are 60 codices, 508 incunabula, an 11th-century parchment manuscript, a 13th-century copy of Philosophia Aristotelis, a hand-written journal dating from 1483, and a Bible once belonging to Martin Luther and signed by the reformer.

Groups can visit upon prior arrangement only, even during opening times.

 

Grand Seminary, Cultural Centre

The former seminary building was constructed from 1757 onwards and both the second floor and the current Baroque facade were achieved in 1807. The edifice currently serves as a municipal cultural centre.

A memorial plaque above the richly ornamented main entrance immortalises the name of the commissioning archbishop, Francis Klobusiczky, whose carved stone crest can be seen further above. The former chapel is now a chamber hall. There is a statue of St George with his lance between the two street-front windows. One of the two memorial plaques either side of the entrance reminds passers-by that this is a listed building and the other is in memory of composer Franz Liszt.

Inaugurated in 1764, the original two-storey building of the Grand Seminary was an L-shaped Baroque edifice. The second storey was commissioned by Archbishop Ladislaus Kollonich (1787-1817) at the time of the first enlargement in 1807. Archbishop Peter Klobusiczky (1822-1843) had the Classical two-storey Hunyadi Street wing built. Finally, Archbishop György Császka (1891-1904) achieved the last enlargement in 1897.

The Grand Seminary was closed in 1951 and the building was taken as state property. It was then managed by the Budapest Social Institution as a care home until the families of Soviet military pilots based at Kalocsa were housed here from 1957.

In 1974-7 the city council had it transformed into a cultural centre, based on the design of Ybl and Kossuth Award-winning architect József Kerényi. The cultural centre occupies the upper floor. The former chapel was turned into a hall for chamber performances.

 

Hungarian Spice Paprika MuseumPaprika Museum Kalocsa Hungary

The museum traces the entire procedure of making spice paprika with a display of the tools used from the traditional mortar through the Elekes seed washer to modern machinery.

The museum introduces the history of spice paprika from the time it arrived in Europe. It was thanks to the Turkish that this spice arrived in Hungary, later to become the 'most Hungarian' spice of all. The tools and machinery used in the cultivation and processing of the paprika can be seen in the exhibition.

Along with Szeged, Kalocsa is the most significant centre of spice paprika cultivation. The products of its factory are world famous.

 

Károly Viski Museum

The traditional local costumes and lifestyle as well as particularly attractive mineral and numismatic rarities are presented in the Sárköz of Kalocsa regional museum.

The permanent exhibitions of the museum are: Peoples, lifestyles and traditions in the Sárköz of Kalocsa (Népek, életformák, hagyományok a Kalocsai Sárközben); the Kalocsa numismatic collection (A kalocsai éremgyűjtemény); Minerals and life (Az ásványok és az élet).

 

Regional Peasant House Museum of Folk Art

Built on a 1-2 metre tall artificial bank, the house is home to a spectacular exhibition presenting 20th-century peasant furnishings and typical examples of the Kalocsa folk art of worldwide renown.

 

The local embroidery, egg-, furniture- and wall paintings are very famous. This is the only settlement in Hungary where the walls and the porches are also hand painted; painting is traditionally done by women. The linen shirts, waistcoats for women (pruszlik), aprons, headdresses, scarves and bed coverlets are richly embroidered. Several tracing women rose to great fame, becoming known internationally. They include Ilus Király, Julis Pirisi, Pöre Peák and Mári Balaton to name but a few.

 

St. Stephen's House

The former dwelling of the canons was built in 1835 in a Classical style upon medieval foundations. Today it is home to the paprika museum.

The single-storey building used to be the home of canons (priests in charge of the cathedral). Its cellar and foundations are of medieval origin. The cellar presumably was the crypt of a chapel or early church which stood on this site. When the building was converted in 1989, remains of a 3rd-century Celtic settlement were discovered in the cellar.

The chapel and the crypt were probably linked with a Franciscan monastery which existed here in Kalocsa from the 14th to the 17th century. The present Classical building was erected in 1835. It is also referred to as the Huber House, in memory of former resident, Canon Lipót Huber (1861-1946), who also taught at the theological seminary. The paprika museum's exhibition is in the attic. After the building was returned to the Roman Catholic Church in December 1992 it was named St Stephen' House.

 

Accommodation in Kalocsa:

 http://www.hungaryrooms.com/hotels/Kalocsa/

Map of Kalocsa:

 http://www.hungaryrooms.com/map/Kalocsa/

 

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