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Sights of Szekszárd (Szekszárd)

The county seat of Tolna County is famous for both its architectural heritage and its wine culture. Belonging to the city, the Gemenc Forest is a nature reserve of national significance.

On Bogyiszló Street close to the centre of the old town an Avar cemetery with 800 graves was excavated, the final resting place of potters. In the vicinity plentiful heritage from the Celts, as well as of soldiers and citizens from the Roman period, has been discovered.

SzekszárdA Roman guard tower stood on Bartina Hill, today known as Calvary Hill. Towards the end of the 19th century Roman and Turkish graves were discovered here. At the beginning of the 20th century even an altar tablet pertaining to the Sun God came to light.

Szekszárd has been the county seat of Tolna County since 1779.

Belonging to Szekszárd, the Gemenc Forest is a recreational belt famous for its game population. The landscape we see today is the result of the drainage of swamps and the regulation of the rivers Danube, Sió and Sárvíz. The Gemenc Forest, a remaining floodplain of the Danube has been a nature reserve of national significance since 1977.

 

SIGHTS

 

Abbey ruinsAbbey ruins Szekszárd

King Béla I founded the Benedictine abbey in 1061. Excavated in 1967 the walls of the abbey and of the Byzantine-style church with 11 naves can be seen in the courtyard of the county hall.

Béla I was a king who reinforced Christianity and suppressed pagan revolts. By erecting this monastery he made it clear to travellers who rules the land, even from a distance of 30 to 40 kilometres. Examination of the excavated walls of the abbey demonstrate from various aspects how the creators strove to comply with the principles of both western and Byzantine church architecture. People still talk of the golden period of the former abbey which controlled 44 villages and market towns and was amongst the country's five most significant ecclesiastic estates in terms of economic and military power.

A Benedictine convent was built next to the abbey church and over time a fortification was erected around them. This fort was taken easily by the Turkish forces and Szekszárd became the seat of a sanjak (Turkish region) in 1541.

 

Exhibition Place - Gemenc Recreation Centre

The exceptionally rich fauna and flora of the Gemenc region is introduced by the exhibition of the Gemenc Recreation Centre. The narrow gauge railway also departs from here.

Exhibition Place SzekszárdWith the aid of dioramas, stuffed animals, and photographs the exhibition entitled Life on the floodplains (Élet az ártéren) introduces the habitats of the wetlands and forests, the rich and varied fauna and flora of the 18,000 hectares of the protected Gemenc Region of the Danube-Dráva National Park. Visitors can learn about creatures living in the water and in the floodplain forests, and about night beings otherwise rarely seen.

The objects and photos of the ethnographical exhibition situated in the gallery display the farming traditions of the Gemenc area which developed through centuries, but disappeared almost completely after river regulation. Tools of floodplain farming, fishing and water transport are on display.

Visitors can approach the exhibition building on the longest completely straight road of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy (12,828 metres), flanked by mulberry trees planted in 1885. Start to discover some 50,000 hectares of one of Hungary's most beautiful floodplain forest here.

 

Mihály Babits Memorial HouseMihály Babits Memorial House

Arranged in the house of the poet's birth, the Memorial Museum contains personal objects, family documents and works depicting Babits by renowned Hungarian fine artists.

The statue of Babits by Pál Farkas stands in the courtyard of the building.

Downstairs is Babits' mother's room, in which the poet was actually born on the 26th November 1883. The family's reception room shows many childhood memories of Mihály Babits.

Upstairs the exhibition moves from family customs, through Babits' childhood years to the volumes published in Hungary and abroad when he already was a mature poet and a literary personality.

Babits Mihály (1883-1941), poet and translator of literary works, was among the most outstanding figures of the first generation of Nyugat (West) magazine, along with Endre Ady and Zsigmond Móricz. This memorial was established in 1967 in the house where he was born and where he lived for several decades. Babics also wrote several of his works here.

 

Mór Wosinsky Museum

The rich collections of the museum include some real rarities, as well as attractive items of fine and applied art and literary history. Exhibitions are significant in terms of archaeology, ethnography and numismatics.

Mór Wosinsky MuseumThe most important items are archaeological finds like the Kánya cart-shaped urn, the treasures of an Alan ruling princess from Regöly, the Mórágy-Tűzkődomb Neolithic graves, an Avar village and burial site from Szekszárdbogyiszló, the statue of Goddess Concordia from Tamási, and the Ete medieval excavated material, as well as old stoves and Sárköz furniture and textiles.

The following exhibitions are on display: Millennia in Tolna from prehistoric times until the Hungarian Settlement (A tolnai táj évezredei az őskortól a honfoglalásig); How life changed in Tolna County from the 18th century to the 20th century (Életmódváltozások Tolna megyében a XVIII-XX. században); Images coming to life - A small town at the turn of the century (Megelevenedett képek - Egy kisváros a századfordulón). Archaeological and arms collections are stored in the research archive of the cellar museum which is available to visitors.

Temporary exhibitions are regularly held in the museum which also hosts a public library. There is access for the disabled.

 

Our Honey-sweet Memories, Museum of gingerbread, candle and sweet making

The history and the utensils of moulded and sprayed gingerbread and candy making are presented in the museum, along with the tools and techniques of dipping and pouring candles.

The concept of gingerbread encompasses not only the well-known gingerbread figures, but also the rounded macaroons (puszedli) and other confectionery made of the same honey dough. The tradition of candle making accompanying the trade originates from times when the gingerbread baker used both the honey and its by-product, the beeswax.

Part of the exhibition is the Petrits family business history which reaches back as far as 1825. Born in 1772, János Petrits was a ropemaker, but his son, József Petrits, started a new trade: gingerbread making. At present no less than the sixth generation of gingerbread bakers continues the work.

Together with the past, the museum also introduces the present of the trade. Regular gingerbread decorating demonstrations are held, where visitors are invited to test their skills. Gingerbread is also on sale.

 

Roman Catholic church of the Ascension of Our LordChurch Szekszárd

Set in the middle of the historic main square this late Baroque church consecrated to the Ascension was built between 1802 and 1806. Designed by court architect Joseph Thallner, it is the largest single nave Roman Catholic church in Central Europe.

Inside, the altarpiece painted by Stephan Durlach depicts the resurrection, and the paintings of Joseph Schmidt, academy painter from Vienna, depict the life of Jesus from birth to resurrection. The main altar, the two side altars and the pulpit were made around 1800 in a late Rococo style.

The richly ornamented glass windows were finished in 1905 on the centenary of the consecration. Twenty years on, children wanting to smoke out pigeons initiated an unintentional alteration: the steeple burnt down and was rebuilt in its current form in 1926.

 

Arts House

The Romantic-style synagogue built in the 1890's was designed by Hans Petschnigg, a teacher at the technical university in Graz. József Kerényi lead out in the reconstruction of the building which is today the Arts House.

Arts House SzekszárdThe triumphal arch in the front of the building provides a modern frame for the cast iron columns rescued during the renovation. The original chandelier was replaced by a light-emitting sculpture created by artist-craftsmen Zoltán Fülöp and János Máté.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Augusz House

The house of the Augusz family boasting a successful career in the 19th century is in fact comprised of three structures, one of them erected in a late Baroque style overbuilt in Romantic, another Classical and a late Baroque building.

In accordance with a rise in his social rank, Antal Augusz further extended the house that his father had bought and expanded in a Classical style. Inspired by the Miramare Palace near Triest he had the northern part of the mansion, which had evolved when the three houses were connected, rebuilt around 1860-70 in a Romantic style. With its Gothic details, the tower is reputed to have been built at composer Franz Liszt's sugestion.

The mansion once had a small park. When the Augusz family died out the mansion became a casino for the nobility.

The oldest part of the house is the southern section. It used to be the Black Elephant Hotel (Fekete Elefánt Szálló) which King Joseph II (1741-1790) also visited.

The central arcaded section was built by the later Baron Antal Augusz. Composer Ferenc Liszt stayed here four times, and among other works he wrote his 8th Symphony here, the Hungarian Rhapsody. His memory is preserved by the music school named after him that operates in the building.

 

Former County HallFormer County Hall Szekszárd

The Classical building of the former county hall designed by Mihály Pollack was erected between 1828 and 1833. The foundation walls of a Benedictine abbey and an 18th-century Baroque stone crest are on view in the courtyard.

Monumental, yet human in scale, a description devised upon its construction fits the county hall perfectly: 'it stands like the Whitsun Queen among the peasant girls'.

 

German Theatre

The building represents Art Nouveau in the town, in particular Austrian-Hungarian-type Secession. Designed by János Uglár and built in 1913, the former Világmozgó (world-moving) Cinema today operates as the German Theatre.

The first permanent cinema (Világmozgó filmszínház) in this county seat opened in 1913, and is described as having been lavishly furnished. The cinema burnt down in the 1960's and its successor was a mere shadow of the original. In 1986, it burnt down again. During the rebuilding process, the original facade plan was used, while the rest of the building was modernised.

Hungary's only German Theatre, the Deutsche Bühne operates on the first floor. With its repertoire of operettas, farces and dramas, all performed in German, the theatre serves as a great support to ethnic Germans in Tolna County as well as to students of German.

 

 

Accommodation in Szekszárd:

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

Map of Szekszárd:

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

 

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