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Sights of Tata (Tata)

The city has numerous historic buildings: castles, palaces and mills. There is also an outdoor museum of geology and an Ethnic German Museum that collects artefacts from around the country.

The city's hot springs and pleasant natural conditions have made it a place of human settlement for several thousand years. Its written history begins with the expansion of the Roman Empire into Pannonia. The people of Brigetio (now Szőny, a part of the city of Komárom) built an aqueduct to connect the Tata springs to their houses. The springs were also the reason for the establishment of St Peter's Abbey, which was mentioned first in 1093.

Tata Castle had its heyday during the reigns of the kings Zsigmond of Luxembourg and Matthias Hunyadi (Corvinus) during the 14th and 15th centuries. In Matthias' times, the Renaissance palace was considered to be one of the finest buildings of the country.

The Tata domain was purchased by the Lord Chief Justice Count Joseph Esterhazy in 1727, who made it the administrative centre of his domains stretching from parts of present-day Croatia to County Pozsony/Bratislava. The Esterhazy family remained the domain lords of Tata until 1945.

The booming 18th century market town was the first in the Austro-Hungarian Empire to establish a faiance works. The construction of the railway in 1883 was also a significant step of its progress.

The two market towns of Laketown (Tóváros) and Tata were unified in 1938. The new town was first called Tatatóváros, later this was shortened to Tata. Tata received city status in 1954.

The springs, most of which had run dry as a result of mining at Tatabánya, are coming back to life these days. Several old springs have started up again, making Tata literally the 'city of waters'. Although with new functions, the mills that were originally built to make use of those waters are still a part of the city's atmosphere.

The village of Agostyán was annexed to the city in 1985. It had been settled by German settlers who arrived in the 18th century. Villagers still retain their ethnic culture.

 

 

SIGHTS

 

English ParkEnglish Park Tata

These 18th-century landscaped gardens of Ferenc Esterházy are one of the best of their kind in Europe. The park was built from 1783, when the first trees were planted around the artificial Old Lake and Cseke Lake.

It is a special feature of the park that it extends practically throughout the town and the surrounding landscape. However, today only the part around the Cseke Lake is known as the People's Garden (Néppark) or the English Park.

The entrance of the park is guarded by two stone griffins made by Antal Schweiger in 1801. The old palm house is in the area by Hattyúliget Street. Further along, on the right side of the walkway, there is an artificial grotto called Hell which has a Vergilian atmosphere: the water from a nearby hot spring flows down an artificial rock wall inside.

The Small Manor (Kiskastély) half hidden by the trees is today the headquarters of the County Museums Management.

Along with the Small Manor, the area was turned over to sportsmen when they were preparing for the London Olympics in the English Park in 1948. The choice of location was due to the special humid microclimate of the city of springs and lakes. The results achieved at the Olympics bore out the choice, so the training camp, initially only intended as a temporary solution, remained a permanent feature.

A line of mighty, ancient plane trees separate the camp from the Cseke Lake. The population here is considered by experts to be an important source of hybrids. Rare tree specimens also include a pendunculate oak (Quercus robur fastigiate), an incense cedar (Libocedrus decurrens), a weeping European beech (Fagus sylvatica 'Pendula') among others.

On the right side of the lakeside walkway a bench dedicated to the poet Kazinczy serves as a reminder of the author, a great garden lover, who visited the City of Lakes (Tóváros) several times. On a small knoll nearby, there is a building imitating a Turkish mosque. Crossing one of the stone and wooden bridges over the watercourse established along the course of the old Blue Spring (Kék-forrás) one comes to the most famous architectural feature of the park, the false ruins.

At the point where the Baj Stream flows into Cseke Lake, a few small islands and marshy area with reedbeds add variety to the landscape. The embankment of the lake is lined by a row of poplars.

 

Nature Reserve and Geological Museum

With an exhibition of 200 million year old geological strata and the calcified or petrified remains of the marine and terrestrial life of the period, this is one of the finest outdoor museums in Hungary.

The Geological Nature Reserve near the Tata Calvary Hill is an exceptional example of in situ outdoor geological and palaentological exhibitions. Of the geological periods, the museum has displays of the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous ages.

At the outdoor museum of geology, the geological items are complemented by a botanical collection consisting of some 600 plant communities. The landscaped area with its Transylvanian wooden gate carved by Ernő Cs. Kiss for the millecentenary celebrations offer an excellent spot for a rest or for a walk to discover the fossils (shells, snails, etc.) in the white, red and green-grey limestone, flint, sandstone and marl strata of the old quarry.

Here in the park the entrance to a hydrothermal karst cave is found, named the Megalodus Cave by its discoverers after the large number of fossilised Triassic Megalodus shells found in its walls. In a pavilion in the upper part of the park, evidence of flint mining for tools by prehistoric man is on display, while a smaller outdoor display in the lower section presents the useful minerals and ores of Hungary.

The 45-metre Jakab Fellner lookout tower is nearby.

 

Old Castle

The castle was started in the 13th century in Gothic style, then extended and partially rebuilt in a Renaissance style in the 14th and 15th centuries. However it was not left untouched by 18th-century Baroque and 19th-century Romanticism either. Its system of fortifications dates from the 16th century.

Old Castle TataEnter the grounds of the castle across a bridge built by the famed Baroque architect Jakab Fellner and catch a glimpse of the original gateway to the left, now walled up. Beyond the gate and behind the ruins the preserved and rebuilt wing of the palace is an impressive sight.
The foundation walls of the four corner turrets and the adjacent wings are clearly discernible.

The castle was probably built between 1397 and 1409 on an outcrop of bedrock in the surrounding wet, marshy area. It was not built for protective purposes but rather as the centre of a domain, used as a resting place and a hunting lodge during the period of the kingdom. It was a royal palace of Zsigmond of Luxembourg (1368-1437) and then of King Matthias (1443-1490).

During the period of Ottoman occupation, it was reinforced, but it never truely served a defence purpose. Additions in Baroque, neo-Classical and Romantic styles were made later.

The castle was converted to a museum in 1959.

 

Botanical GardensBotanical Gardens Tata

The 31 hectares of peaceful botanical gardens were cultivated here from 1955. Its main attractions are spruces, ginkgos and blue pines.

In addition to being beautiful, the rare pines, cypresses and cedars also offer a fantastic oilfactory experience: the essential oils in the resins of the conifers create a truly wonderful atmosphere for visitors.

There are also a hunter's lodge and a fishing pond in the gardens.

 

Calvary

The Gothic Calvary Chapel was built in 1350. Jakab Fellner designed the Baroque conversion of 1755. Calvary Hill is a nature reserve and offers an excellent view over the surroundings.

In medieval times, the houses of the village of Szentiván stood here and their church dedicated to St John was built on the top of the hill. The church, which had fallen into disrepair, was demolished around the middle of the 18th century. The present chapel was built by Fellner using a remaining part of its sanctuary. The ceiling of the chapel has an 18th century Baroque fresco.

The Baroque Calvary statues were created by Antal Schweiger around 1770.

 

Old Lake

The lake is one of the sites covered by the international Ramsar Convention for the protection of wetlands of world importance. There is no other city in Europe where the timid wild geese stop overnight in such numbers.

During the autumn and spring migration periods, the area resounds with the gaggle of 10,000-15,000 wild geese. Every year the people of Tata put on a colourful programme to accompany this spectacular natural phenomenon.

 

Belfry and clocktower

The carpentered bell tower was built in 1763 to house the bell of the Capuchin church. Characteristic of the workmanship of master carpenter Joseph Éder, the belfry remains in its original place and has become one of the symbols of the city.

 

Esterházy Palace

The Baroque complex was built according to the designs of Jakab Fellner in the 18th century. The palace was the scene for an important event of history: Emperor Franz I and Napoleon concluded the Treaty of Schönbrunn here.

The turreted main building was constructed from 1764 to 1769. The stone frames of the internal windows opening onto a corridor seem to imply that this corridor was originally an open veranda walled up only later. Upstairs there is a marble bathroom, while the so-called Dutch tile bathroom was probably added in 1897.

In the style of a royal banquet hall, the most impressive room of the palace is the first-floor ceremonial hall with its green wood panelling and gilded stucco work. The hall was used as a salon on the occasion of the 1897 military exercise when Kaiser Franz Joseph, King of Hungary, stayed in the palace. The halls in the other end of the palace provided splendid accommodation for the German Kaiser Wilhelm II.

The northern tower, where the 1809 peace treaty was signed, opens from the other, equally wood panelled banquet hall of the palace. This hall has a tile stove and a fireplace, next to affording a view of the lake. In October 1921, the last Hungarian king, Charles IV fled to the palace after the unsuccessful battle of Budaörs.

The park in front of the palace used to be a part of the landscaped English Park and still retains some of its features. The building is presently being renovated and will operate as an exhibition and stately cultural venue managed by the National Heritage Trust.

 

Pötörke Mill

The 18th-century Baroque Pötörke Mill is named after the family that originally owned it. Designed by Jakab Fellner, the mill was still in service between the two world wars. Today, it houses an artists' studio and offices.

 

The Pavilion

Set in a beautifully tended park, between the watermills and the Ady Road bridge, a pavilion offers an opportunity for a rest. The building is situated among the flowerbeds planted on the site of the old horse bathing site.

Until the middle of the 20th century, the waggoners coming to the mills groomed their horses here while the millers ground their cereals. Today it is also used as a concert venue.

 

 

Accommodation in Tata:

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

Map of Tata:

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

 

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