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Sights of Kaposvár (Kaposvár)

The intellectual, economic and tourist centre of Somogy County, Kaposvár offers a great variety of opportunities for free time activities: museums, galleries, theatres and baths with fun elements. Nearby Lake Deseda is a nature reserve.

The town is surrounded by the gentle slopes of Outer Somogy to the north and the forested hillsides of the Zselic to the south. It is an important interchange, but also has a considerable economic, commercial and cultural role in the life of the region.

In its early history Kaposvár was not a noteworthy settlement. The first significant event relating to the town dates back to 1061, when a Benedictine monastery was established in Zselicszentjakab, now located within the boundaries of the present city. The Romanesque remains of the abbey founded in 1061 are the oldest protected heritage of Kaposvár.

 

A castle was built in the 14th century in the swampy area surrounding Kaposvár and was destroyed following the Rákóczi Freedom Fights when the Habsburgs had many fortresses razed as a preventive military measure. Barely anything remains of the ruins.

Not the site of the old castle, but a slightly more elevated area to the north was chosen for the 18th-century rebuilding of the settlement. The number of important public buildings such as a pharmacy, a college, a county library and a town hall grew along with the increasing number of inhabitants. In 1750 the town became the seat of Somogy County.

 

Progress started in the first decade of the 20th century, following the purchase in 1896 by the municipality of a considerable area of land formerly belonging to the Esterházy estate. The plots provided the building sites of the National Casino, the Orphanage of the Hungarian Railway Company, the St Imre church and the Reformed church.

The population of the surrounding villages started to move into town at a greater speed following World War II. Regarding the number of its inhabitants, in 1990 Kaposvár became the second most populated city in Southern Transdanubia and was gaining further importance. It was given county rights in 1990 and became an episcopal seat in 1993. In the same year it won a János Hild Medal for the reconstruction of the city centre.

In 1950 the village of Kaposszentjakab, in 1970 Kaposfüred and Toponár, and in 1973 Töröcske were annexed to Kaposvár.

 

SIGHTS

 

József Rippl-Rónai Memorial Museum

The most important figure of Hungarian post-Impressionism, Rippl-Rónai studied in Munich and then in Paris. The paintings exhibited here provide a cross section of his oeuvre. The furnishings are original.

In the Rome Villa and studio built in 1868 and furnished with Rippl-Rónai's furniture and personal belongings, 70 of the artist's paintings can be seen in his former home. The exhibition represents the whole life work of the artist. The most important paintings here are: Countess Tivadar Andrássy (1896), Lazarine in front of the mirror (1902), Sour cherry tree in blossom (1909), Spring work (1912), Painter and models (1912), and Zorka in black gloves (1924).

Today the home of the collection, the artist bought Rome Villa with a park and 3 hectares of land in 1908.  From one side of the building there is a beautiful view of the town, on the other a panorama of the gentle slopes of the Zselic. It was into this milieu that the painter received his artist guests. When the frequent visits and guests became inconvenient for him, he converted the neighbouring vintner's house into a studio and retreated there whenever he felt he would like to paint. This is where he developed his so-called 'corn' style which relates to pointillism (for example: Lazarine and Anella in the Park,
1910).

He was also interested in applied arts and designed embroideries and wall hangings. Count Tivadar Andrássy commissioned him to design and furnish a dining room in 1896. Two majolica plates made by the Zsolnay Facory in Pécs for this dining room can be seen in the villa today.

The museum was founded in 1978 in memory of the famous painter who lived primarily in Kaposvár after his return to Hungary.

Guided tours require prior booking.

 

Rippl-Rónai Museum

The museum has especially rich archaeological, ethnographic and fine arts collections. The latter encompasses the 1355 pieces of the Rippl-Rónai bequest which includes 976 paintings.

The museum's permanent exhibitions are: Selections from the fine arts collection from 1860 to the present day (Válogatás a képzőművészeti gyűjteményből); Chapters from the ethnography of Somogy (Fejezetek Somogy néprajzából) - its most valuable sections are on the relics of herdsmen's art and handicrafts; Our natural heritage: on nature and environmental protection in the county (Természeti örökségünk); The Hungarian Settlement in Somogy: an archaeological exhibition (Honfoglalás kora Somogyban); and finally Somogy County's geohistory and nature (Somogy megye földtörténete és élővilága).

 

Deseda Lake

Among the lakes found in the area that are rich in fish, the artificial Lake Deseda is the largest. Eight kilometres long and 300-400 metres wide with a surface of 260 hectares, it contains over eight million cubic metres of water. The lake is a local nature reserve.

 

Exhibition of Minerals

Approximately 900 items are displayed here of the several thousand piece mineral collection of Dr Géza Benkő. Primarily, but not exclusively, minerals of the historic territory of Hungary are showcased.

 

Former County HallFormer County Hall Kaposvár

This Classical building that was once the county hall today hosts the home county museum management and the Rippl-Rónai Museum.

The initial building, a Baroque structure, was built in 1750-51 on land gifted by a member of the Esterházy family. During the first half of the 1760's the county jail behind was completed. Soon the county hall became too small, given that during the 1760's some 100 people were working here. For this reason the building was converted and extended between 1772 and 1778. County hall expansion began in 1807, that is during the Reform period. Initially, the cornerstone for the new jail was laid in 1824. Later the U-shaped county hall was closed on the south by a building completed in 1828. Today the former jail is the home for the archives.

 

Gergely Csiky Theatre

This Secession building was designed by Ede Magyar and József Stahl.

Built in 1911, the theatre has undergone several renovations and thus eclectic, neo-Romanesque and neo-Renaissance details can be discerned on the edifice.

The interior may be visited during performances.

 

Golden Lion Pharmacy

The originally single-storey Baroque Golden Lion Pharmacy was remodelled in a Romantic style in the 19th century.

At the end of the 18th century, even Mihály Csokonai Vitéz had been a customer in the Golden Lion pharmacy established in 1781 by the pharmacist József Pyrker. Later another famous Hungarian artist, József Rippl-Rónai, was a pharmacist's assistant here before he went to Munich and to Paris to study painting.

The building was renovated in 1985 and its furniture is from the Jó Pásztor (Good Shepherd) pharmacy on Ráday Street in Budapest.

 

Kemény Palace

Kaposvár Kemény PalaceThe neo-Renaissance Kemény Palace is one of the most beautiful buildings of the town centre. This residential building was completed in 1904 according to the design of Frigyes Kovács.

May be viewed from the outside only.

 

 

 

Pedestrian streetKaposvár Pedestrian street

Main Street had always been a site of heavy traffic in Kaposvár, but in the 1980's it was turned into a pedestrian street.

 

Several architecturally valuable residential buildings of heritage status are found along this pedestrian street.

The old-fashioned street lights, the flower baskets fastened to them, the display windows of the renovated shops, the historic building gates all combine to promise visitors a pleasant time walking along here.

Can be visited at any time.

 

Roman Catholic cathedral of Our Lady

Kaposvár cathedralRebuilt in a neo-Romanesque to neo-Gothic style, the cathedral of the Assumption of Our Lady dominates Kossuth Square. Originally the church was built between 1737 and 1744.

Although the church was consecrated in 1886, the rebuilding of the organ, the extension of the sacristy and the commissioning of György Leszkovszky to paint the exterior only occured later.

The picture above the porch depicting the parish priest, the mayor and town  inhabitants as they worship Christ and adore Our Lady of Hungary, was created in 1937. The St Stephen fountain, Jenő Bory's work commemorating the 900th anniversary of the death of King St Stephen, was placed on the south side of the church in 1938. The statues of the Immaculate Mary in the right side aisle as well as the figures of St Joseph and St Anthony in the left side aisle are also by sculptor Jenő Bory. The oldest statue of the church, the Madonna dates from the time of the Baroque church.

 

Ruins of a Benedictine abbey, exhibitionKaposvár ruins

This exhibition site presents the preserved ruins of a Romanesque and Gothic Benedictine abbey founded here in 1061 and rebuilt around 1440.

 

The earliest stone carvings of Somogy County, the 11th-century palmette ornamented footings and the column capitals from the abbey's cloister can be found here.

 

 

Steiner Collection

It is an exhibition of 19th-century industrial products of the Carpathian Basin: primarily stoves, pumps, drinking fountains, crosses, household objects, and small sculptures made in various foundries all along the Carpathians.

The outside walls of this family residence are ornamented by most attractive drinking wells. There are pumps and burial crosses in the garden and the owner has placed stoves in the cellar. The interior of the Steiner house is also full of artistic objects: cups, candleholders, picture frames, ashtrays and ornamental plates.

 

Vaszary Gallery

Kaposvár Vaszary GalleryThis gallery situated in the west corner of Anker House was founded in 1996 to host temporary exhibitions. It also holds a permanent exhibition of the images of the Kaposvár-born photographer Juan Gyenes (1912-95).

 

 

 

 

 

Accommodation in Kaposvár:

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

Map of Kaposvár:

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

 

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