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Sights of Miskolc (Miskolc)

The intellectual and economic centre of Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén County, Miskolc lies at the foot of the Bükk Hills. World famous music festivals are held in this town rich in historical heritage and nearby Lillafüred, Miskolctapolca and Diósgyőr also offer numerous sights to visit.

The advantageous geographical features of this location have been exploited by people since Palaeolithic times. Thousands of years old relics of prehistoric people have been discovered in caves in the Bükk Hills surrounding the town, as well as at the foot of Avas Hill close to the city centre. Such archaeological treasures are safeguarded in the Ottó Herman Museum.Miskolc

The Hungarians have been settling in the area for over a millennium. It became the centre for the Miskóc clan - hence the town's name - from the 11th century on. They established a Benedictine Abbey in the Tapolca Valley the ruins of which were uncovered in 2004 near the Cave Baths (barlangfürdő) and spa of Miskolctapolca, famous across Europe.

The Royal Castle of Diósgyőr was begun in the 13th century and further developed in the 14th century. It was once the centre of the old crown estate which also included Miskolc. The fortress awaits visitors interested in the heritage of the past, with fascinating exhibitions, cultural, tradition-keeping and leisure programmes, as well asmusical festivals.

The historical heart of the current town centre had developed by the late 15th century. The church and belfry built on the Avas hillside still stand in their original splendour. Beside them is a heritage cemetery, the final resting place also for renowned public figures of the city.

The 18th century brought a dramatic upturn in the life of Miskolc: churches and schools were built, as were the town hall and the county hall. Wealthier landowners commissioned their mansions one after the other and these buildings continue to conjure up this period. Hungary's first permanent theatre where plays were performed in the Hungarian language was erected in 1823 by public donation of the citizens of Miskolc.

The Szinva River which crosses the town flooded and destroyed part of its centre in 1878. Subsequently the several storey townhouse apartments seen today were built in the historical centre. In 1897, urban tram-traffic was launched here, only the second such system in Hungary.

Post World War II Miskolc became one of the region's industrial centres. Vast factories and housing estates were raised and in 1949 the Technical University for Heavy Industry, today the University of Miskolc (Miskolci Egyetem) was established.

The town is crossed by routes east-west and north-south which lead into the centre of Miskolc. The four directions are marked by districts named after each of the various gates (kapu): from the south the Csaba Gate (Csabai kapu), from the north the Szentpéter Gate (Szentpéteri kapu), from the east the Zsolca Gate (Zsolcai kapu) and from the west the Győr Gate (Győri kapu). Numerous formerly independent villages have merged with the current territory of Miskolc: Hejőcsaba, Diósgyőr, Lillafüred, Ómassa, Pereces, Hámor, Szirma, Görömböly and Miskolctapolca.




Avas Reformed church

The Avas District Reformed church began life in the 13th century as a small single-nave Romanesque church. It was subsequently extended a number of times and was finally rebuilt as a three-nave Gothic hall church with no tower.

Miskolc Avas churchUnder the Turkish occupation, there were several attacks on Miskolc and during one of these the church burnt out in 1544. Two decades passed until it was rebuilt in its current simpler form, complying with the demands of the Reformed Church.

The earlier pillars were changed to their current square form and a wooden ceiling was put in above the arched semi-circular arcades between them. On the southern side, a mortuary was built in 1760; the neo-Gothic churchyard was built in 1816 in place of the northern chapels and sacristies. Supported by five tall pillars, the current wooden ceiling has adorned the church since 1778.

One of the prime gems of the church is the 15th-century Renaissance 'Royal Stall' with its fine inlay work. Now in the left aisle, it was probably brought from the Diósgyőr Castle. There is a gravestone from 1589 set into the wall, commemorating the wife and son of the castellan of Diósgyőr, István Miskolczi. On the church's southern wall there is a collection of 17th and 18th century spire caps and weathercocks. There is also a so-called 'black seat' which dates from 1735, an accessory to criminal justice for public shaming. Around the same time the pulpit ornamented with a crown including a pelican was made.

The new church organ is in the axis of the nave. Not yet executed, its painting will be unique, invoking the symbolic motifs of the painted vernacular Baroque pews and ceilings characteristic of Protestant churches. The church has excellent acoustics. The Angster Organ in the western neo-Gothic choir, built in 1895, is played from year to year by prominent organ artists from Hungary and abroad.

Outside regular opening hours the church can be visited by prior appointment.


Diósgyőr CastleDiósgyőr Castle Miskolc

The Gothic castle was built between the 14th and 15th centuries on the site of a 12th-century castle. For centuries, it was the engagement gift for queen consorts. Its heyday was under King Louis d'Anjou (Nagy Lajos király). Today it is among Hungary's most prominent heritage sites.

The ruins and restored constructions of the medieval castle are a living museum in themselves. The 2500-square metre palace once had around 50 rooms. Of the enormous building complex with its thick walls, only the four tall towers and the ground floors of the wings that connected them still exist with some ruinous parts of the first floor.

The expansive inner courtyard is today a venue for cultural events each summer. Access from here to the visitable towers, round bastion (rondella) and the sub-courtyard level.

The towers occupy 100 square metres each. The northeastern tower is today home to a Waxwork Museum (panoptikum), which has a scene showing the 1381 ratification of the Peace Treaty of Turin concluding the wars of Venice. The rondella entrance is here, which is home to an exhibition on the History of Medieval European Arms and Armour. The northwestern tower can be climbed to the top; the wonderful view makes the climb worth the effort. The tower has an exhibition on the history of the castle. In the rooms beneath there is a display including a fraction of the over half-million finds of bones, pottery, glass and iron objects and fragments discovered in the course of the castle excavation. They are in special display cases. Guests can try out a ball-press and mint their own coin.

Visitors can walk around the castle's outer wall. There is a Wax Museum in the casemate with the largest number of wax figures in Central Europe. Six scenes show life in the medieval 14th century. An old stove was restored and, of course, there is a deep well into which visitors throw their small change in the superstitious hope of returning there one day.


Exhibition Area of the Ottó Herman Museum

The exhibition of Ottó Herman Museum on town history summarises a millennium of the past of Miskolc. An archaeological exhibition covers the period from the prehistoric age until the Hungarian Settlement, and the 'Hungary's Minerals' exhibition displays a wealth of material.

Ottó Herman Museum MiskolcThe town history exhibition entitled 'Centuries in Miskolc' (Miskolci évszázadok) gives an idea of the processes of the settlement's development from the time of the Hungarian Settlement onwards with particular emphasis on the Turkish occupation, the events of the 18th and 19th centuries and of the Reform Period, the 1848-49 War of Independence, the development of the citizenry between 1867 and 1945, and on the most recent process of the urbanisation of Miskolc.

Among the outstandingly valuable objects in this exhibition are an exquisite 14th-century Gothic iron door and some objects that conjure up the royal lifestyle in Diósgyőr Castle, in particular a Gothic filigree enamelled masterpiece. Next to the most beautiful original pieces of 17th-18th-century Protestant ecclesiastical art, a highly protected treasure in the Museum is a 17th-century eastern carpet that once decorated the Avas Reformed Church. Masterpieces made by guild craftsmen are on display, such as the carefully restored 18th-century set of costumes of a wealthy merchant family, which were found in the crypt of the Avas church.

The first excavations for prehistoric finds in Hungary were carried out in Miskolc and its surroundings. The exhibition entitled 'Heritage of the centuries' (Mit ránk hagytak a századok) displays finds from these early digs. Other objects are from the Copper, Bronze and Iron ages, and the exhibition also provides an insight into the periods of the Great Migration and the Hungarian Settlement. There is, for example, a mammoth tusk on display here, found by Ottó Herman after whom the museum is named. Important objects in the collection pertaining to the settling Hungarians, found at the rich and famous site at Karos, include a gold-plated chief's sabre ornamented with silver plates and the sabretache plate, once used as a badge of honour.

The Mineral Collection (Ásványtár) presents the exhibition 'Minerals of Hungary' with samples of the Bükk Hills, the Presov/Eperjes-Tokaj Hills, the Aggtelek Karst and the Kőszeg-Sopron Hills in geographical sequence. The exhibition has gained a national and even an international reputation since no other exhibition offers such a comprehensive picture of minerals and mineral associations in Hungary.

The minerals and the mystical world of stones refined into gems are displayed to visitors in a darkened area in cabinets lit by ultra-violet (UV) light. Several items of international value can be seen in the collection.

The museum is also a venue for temporary exhibitions.


Greek Orthodox church of the Holy TrinityGreek orthodox church Miskolc

Built between 1785 and 1806 in a late Rococo style, the church has Hungary's highest iconostasis, carved by Miklós Jankovits between 1791 and 1793.

The iconostasis is a partition between the sanctuary and the main aisle holding a traditional sequence of icons. This 16-metre high iconostasis depicts 88 scenes from the life of Jesus Christ. With the exception of four, the icons were painted by Viennese master Anton Kuchelmeister.

The late Rococo-style furnishings made in the late 18th century are all of heritage value: the altar of Mary, the Lord's coffin, the icon holder, the pulpit, the bishop's throne and the stalls.

The icon of the Black Madonna of Kazan was gifted to the church by Catherine the Great.

The access to the Hungarian Orthodox Museum is from the churchyard.


Hungarian Orthodox Museum

This exhibition introduces the visitor to the history and cultural heritage of the Eastern Orthodox church with the help of goldsmith works, textiles, icons and documents.

Hungarian Orthodox Museum MiskolcRebuilt in 1805, the former school erected by the trading association in the grounds of the Miskolc Orthodox church has been home to the museum since 1988. The exhibition called 'The artistic and cultural heritage of the Hungarian Orthodox Church' extends to three rooms full of ecclesiastic treasures originating from Orthodox churches and parishes in Budapest, Miskolc, Eger, Gyöngyös, Szentes, Kecskemét, Üröm, Karcag and Nyíregyháza.

The corridor of this small but rich museum holds a collection of church and school history pertaining to the Greek settlers who arrived in Hungary during the 17th-18th century. It is in particular their multifaceted cultural heritage which the museum showcases. The first room is actually the reconstruction of a chapel and reflects the atmosphere of the period when Orthodox believers gathered for liturgy in small chapels rather than in monumental Baroque churches. The copperplate consecration icons of the Orthodox churches in Hungary are kept here.

The second room contains woven and embroidered liturgical textiles and goldsmiths' works. Of particular significance is a set of blankets woven with metal fibres in the Zuzana girls' school in Constantinople. Some goldsmith works originate from the Balkans and from Venice, others were created in Hungary. A three-part set (chalice, altar cross and episcopal candlestick) created in 1721 in Moscopolis is a masterpiece of 15th-century Macedonian goldsmithery.

The third room displays a rich collection of goldsmith artwork and on the wall screens the icon collection is on view. Icon painting is guided by a strict canon of symbols and instruments. Up to the most minute details painters adhere to narrative and illustrated iconographic. By the 18th century in Hungary icons were only painted by a few workshops of a lesser standard; more significant works were commissioned from invited or itinerant icon painters. One of the most outstanding and beautiful pieces is a Suffering Mother of God created by a member of the Cretan-Venetian circle.

Today the Hungarian Orthodox Church's headquarters are in Budapest and they have six parishes and three outparishes comprised of Orthodox believers mainly of Hungarian and Russian origin, belonging as they do to the Patriarchate of Moscow.


Palace Hotel (Lillafüred)Palace Hotel Miskolc - Lillafüred

Built between 1927 and 1930, this neo-Renaissance mansion imitates the style of the hunting residences of the King Matthias era. A hanging garden and a park surrounds it and the tower offers a fabulous view over the Szinva valley and Lake Hámor.

One of Hungary's most beautiful holiday venues, the Palace Hotel, was built above the Forge Lake (Hámori-tó). It still operates as a three-star hotel.

The breathtaking natural setting offers a beautiful panorama and the River Szinva waterfall rushes beside the building. The park behind the hotel is adorned with ancient trees, well-kept lawns and flowerbeds.

The northern main facade of the four-storey hotel looks onto Lake Hámor, the southern facade onto the River Szinva Valley. The main facade is defined by large terraces and, above the main entrance, a pointed tower standing erect which offers fantastic panoramas in all directions.

The renowned architect Kálmán Lux, commissioned with the design of the hotel, dreamt up a building that evokes the atmosphere of the late-1400's Renaissance style, that of the palaces of the era of King Matthias. Established beneath the palace hotel, the steep hanging garden still further enhances the ambience of the Middle Ages with its castle-wall-like bastions, towers and drawbridge-style gate.

The interior, the tinted lead-windows and the names of the halls also evoke King Matthias.

The Palace Hotel regularly provides a venue to fine arts exhibitions, performances and chamber concerts.


Attila József Statue

This statue was created for the centenary of Attila József's birth, 11th April 2005. The poet wrote The Ode , one of the most beautiful love-poems in Hungarian literature, here in Lillafüred.

Attila József statueThe Munkácsy Prize-winning sculptor Éva Varga's work of art stands in the hanging garden of Palace Hotel at the waterfall of the Szinva River in Lillafüred.

A fascinating feature of the composition is that the female shadow cast onto the sill next to the poet, who is resting deep in contemplation, is formed from the lines of The Ode.






Avas Bell TowerAvas Bell Tower

Following the destruction in 1554 of the St Michael's Cemetery Chapel this freestanding bell tower was erected in 1577. One of the town's most characteristic sounds, the chimes resound in this symbol of Miskolc.

The stone tower stands next to the Gothic Reformed church. It has a hexagonal shingle spire with a wooden arcade surrounded by a balustrade beneath it. A particularity of the tower is that there are two corner buttresses on its eastern side and a central and two corner butresses on its northern and western sides. The thick fortress-like wall is penetrated only by a few narrow window slits.

The clock itself is also special. The 'worn striking clock' had been mentioned as early as 1740, but was replaced only in 1781. The bells signalled each passing quarter hour even back then. However, the structure broke completely in 1884 and only on the 1st May 1941 did the tower clock and the chime structure resound once more. A section of the chimes can still be heard quarter hourly and the complete sequence on the hour.

The tower's interior is not open to the public.


Game Park and Zoo

On a 21-hectare area the city's zoo is home to 500 animals of almost 100 species. In addition to big game and other animals typical for the Bükk Hills, predators and birds from all over Hungary live here next to species from other continents.

One of Central Europe's largest wolf packs lives here in natural surroundings as do all varieties of Hungary's hoofed game (for example wild boar, moufflon, deer). Among the most popular attractions are the pets corner, the aviary with its many different parrots, the Madagascar lemur collection, the Bengal tigers and the panthers. Well-loved African species include the camels and ostriches together with the grey meerkats (Suricata suricatta).

A speciality of the game park is the Conservational Statue Park (Természetvédelmi Szoborpark). It is a memorial site dedicated to those European naturalists instrumental in shaping the culture of modern zoological gardens. Life-size bronze statues of extinct species are also displayed to warn visitors of the irretrievable damage man inflicts upon nature. The first portrait sculpture of Gerald Durrell, world famous natural scientist and popular author of books on nature, was erected here.

Adjacent to the Bükk National Park, the game park also presents the national park's flora.


Massa Museum of the National Technical Museum, Ancient Foundry

There are only three industrial heritage sites of this type of ancient blast furnace in Europe. Alongside it there are a reconstructed 18th-century ironworks and the Massa Museum introducing its history. There is an open-air industrial museum nearby.

Massa Museum MiskolcHungary's earliest industrial heritage is the charcoal-burning blast furnace at Újmassa, commonly known as the 'Ancient Foundry' (őskohó). Frigyes Fazola had it built in 1813. Over the course of half a century crude iron was produced there which was then transported to the nearby forge for further processing.

Next to the foundry is the Massa Museum which shows the main stages of the hundred-years history of the Diósgyőr-Hámor Ironworks (1770-1870) through original documents and the tools and products that were made and used there. The original plant of the ironworks and its equipment can be seen through working models and maquettes.

In the forge reconstructed in 1979 using the 18th-century drawings, the iron hammer and bellows driven by a waterwheel and the tempering furnace conjure up the atmosphere of iron procesing of the time. The maquette of the Ómassa foundry built in 1772 along with the structural drawing of the building and the casting hall are also on display at the museum.

In the open-air exhibition opposite the museum for the history of industry, there are a few items of machinery employed in iron metallurgy in the 19th and 20th centuries, as well as some tools and remaining objects from the Miskolc-Lyukóbánya mining works that closed down in 2004.

The museum is negotiable by wheelchair.


Otto Herman Museum - GalleryOttó Herman Gallery

This is one of the wealthiest museums apart from Budapest, including a large numismatic collection. The folk art collection of the Matyó and the Palots ethnic groups are internationally acknowledged, while its picture gallery is nationally renowned.

The Museum's permanent (and the temporary) exhibitions are held in the Exhibition Building:
- The archaeological collection entitled Heritage of the centuries(Mit ránk hagytak a századok) gives a representative overview from the first objects of the palaeolithic ages through to the Great Migrations and the period of the Hungarian Settlement.
- The exhibition on the town's history entitled Centuries in Miskolc (Miskolci évszázadok) displays the significant stages of the city's development to the present day.
- The natural sciences exhibition on the Minerals of Hungary  (Magyarország ásványai) offers a taster from perhaps Hungary's richest museum the Minerals Collection. The Ottó Herman Museum's Collection of Minerals is located in Kossuth Street.

With its fine arts collection of national importance, the museum gallery is located in the first floor halls of the main building. From the 1700's to the mid-20th century the history of Hungarian fine arts is introduced through excellent works of art. A few names from the collection: Ádám Mányoki, Miklós Barabás, Mihály Munkácsy, Pál Szinyei Merse, József Rippl-Rónai, József Egry, Jenő Barcsay. From the early 20th century, the plentyful section of works by Csontváry and Gulácsy stands out. The exhibition also offers an overview of Miskolc's characteristic art works from history, fitted organically into the historical display. Painting takes the main role, but the exhibition is enriched with some works by prominent Hungarian sculptors, and some applied arts objects giving a taste of certain eras (boxes and caskets, works from nunneries, pottery, rugs, ivory and boxwood carvings, and glass artwork).

The museum was awarded the Museum of the Year title in 1999.

There is a café in the museum that is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9am to 10pm.


Szeleta Cave

Inhabited for several tens of thousands of years towards the end of the Glacial Period, this was the first cave in Hungay where traces of Prehistoric men were found. Their bay-leaf shaped spear heads and other tools belong to the Szeleta Culture.

In the hillside above Miskolc-Felsőhámor, the Seleta Cave was explored by Ottokár Kadic between 1907 and 1913 at the instigation of Ottó Herman who launched research into prehistoric man in Hungary. In the cave entrance not only were many cave bear bones found but even traces of a fireplace. As the excavations continued fragments of pots and Neolithic stone tools came to light, while the earlier layers hid a total of 40 Paleolithic stone tools.

Today under strict protection, the cave evolved through the dissolving effect of a once plentiful karst spring that has since dried out. The passages are over 90 metres long in all. The cave is a temporary and permanent home to numerous endangered animal species, including both protected and strictly protected bat species.

The protected cave is not developed. It can be visited at any time


Anna (Petőfi) Limestone Tuff  Cave

The cave stands out even on a European level. The limestone that has been carried by the Szinva Stream over several tens of thousands of years has shaped special limestone tuff formations and fossilised plants into what we can see today.

The Anna Cave has evolved in young freshwater limestone, and as such, it differs considerably from dripstone caves that have developed in older sea limestone. Instead of large halls and gigantic stalagmites visitors can admire the light detailed ornamentation of the spring limestone formations that are only characteristic of hot-water caves.

The cavities were not dissolved and eroded into the receptive rocks by water after their creation, but rather they evolved simultaneously with the rock mass. Fossilized curtains of lime-covered algae- and moss-threads with fine fringe trimmings hang from the ceiling of the subterranean nooks and crannies. In places, hundreds of thousands of tiny spring limestone nodules sit beside each other, at others fossilized tree leaves, blades of grass, twigs or their fossil prints preserve the relics of the past millennias' flora. The majority of smaller cavities evolved in the place of vast decayed tree trunks that were once buried in the rocks.

The cave opens from the lower terrace of the terraced gardens of the Palace Hotel, next to the waterfall . The 30-minute tours lead along 200 metres and set out every hour on the hour with a minimum of 6 visitors.


Lake Hámor

Lake HamorSituated in imposing surroundings, Lake Hámor was created by the damming of the Garadna Stream in Lillafüred. It is popular for angling and rowing and can be skated on in the winter. Take a stroll along the shorepath for about 1 kilometre.

The water of Garadna Stream was dammed around 1770 to supply the iron forgeries after which it was named (hámor means forge). Thus the 1,200 metre-long, 4-8 metre-deep Lake Hámor was created, storing about 400,000 cubic metres of water. Due to its depth and cold water it is not suitable for swimming.



Lillafüred WaterfallLillafüred Waterfall

The 20-metre high waterfall of the Szinva Stream can be enjoyed as it gushes down from the terraced, or hanging, garden of the Palace Hotel. The three-section rapids is a magnificent sight in summer, but many spectators are also attracted by the ice palace created by the frozen water in winter.

It can be visited any time.






Built between 1861 and 1863 the synagogue is one of the masterpieces of Hungarian Romantic architecture. The designer was the same Ludwig Förster who delivered the plans for Budapest'sDohány Street Synagogue.

Synagogue MiskolcThe synagogue has three naves, although it has the look of a basilica from the outside. On the facade of the main nave, which is slightly raised above the side nave, the Tablets of the Law can be seen. The circular window is made up of eight arches, the extension of which are octagonal stars enclosed by frets. The window is in the axis of the main nave at the height of the side nave. Directly below it, right above the main entrance, four large semi circular windows break up the main facade. The main entrance is framed on each side by a neo-Romanesque column upon which an arch is placed. The wings of the door have wrought iron hinges decorated heavily with neo-Romanesque motifs.

Three arched doors lead into the main nave from the entrance hall of the building. The cast iron structure of the interior clearly shows the traits typical of the architect Förster, as they equally evoke the Byzantine, Romanesque and neo-Gothic styles.   

The richness of the interior results from the structure itself and the similarly superb carpentry. The wall paintings fill the whole surface with motifs of stripes and stars and the combination of these. The former warm olive green painted cast iron structures and the gilt decorating elements harmonised with the wall paint.

Lying east-west, the building plot between Déryné Street and Kazinczy Street practically cried out for the building, since the orientation requirements were no problem in fitting the synagogue into the street. Partly because of this the outside of the synagogue, currently waiting for renovation, does not attract attention, although it has maintained its original look.

The marble plaque in memoriam of the Jews displaced from Miskolc and from its surroundings in 1944 was placed next to the entrance on the Déryné Street.

Upon prior request the synagogue can be visited on Sundays as well.



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