THE CITY OF VESZPRÉM
Veszprém - from the air
The University of Pannonia has always emphasised the importance of cultural events. As a programme organiser, the university actively contributes to the enrichment of the cultural life of Veszprém. The buildings of the university provide a venue for cultural programmes like guitar evenings, movie nights, classical and pop concerts or even exhibitions.
Street Music Festival
There are around 50 volunteer, self–motivated teams at the university in all kinds of activities like dancing, singing, making trips around Hungary or tasting and learning more about Hungarian wines, so everybody can find something that fits with their interests.
There are a lot of historic memories in Veszprém County which offer insight into the culture of past ages and lifestyle. Our county can be proud of its many castles and churches. Besides the historical heritage there are many traditional and open-air museums, exhibitions for visitors to see.
The Archbishop’s Palace can be found on the Szentháromság (Holy Trinity) square. The Baroque palace was completed in 1776 but at the end of the 19th century the building as well as the frescoes had to be restored. With its inner terrace and garden the building offers an imposing view to the valley.
Several paintings and works of art can be found in the palace. The episcopal and prebendal archives and library also reside in this building.
St. Michael’s Cathedral
The St. Michael’s Cathedral dates back to the time of Prince Géza. It was already mentioned in the Pannonhalma Charter (1001). The cathedral was destroyed by fire several times and the early 18th century saw the restoration of the original Romanesque red-white stone church in Gothic style. During a later rebuilding, the basilica lost its Baroque features: its towers were raised by several metres and reshaped in Romanesque style.
The Gizella Chapel next to the Archbishop’s Palace is said to have been founded by Blessed Gizella, the wife of St. István. The Gothic building dates back to the 18th century and it was almost completely destroyed in the Turkish period. The interior is one of the oldest in Hungary, making the chapel one of the most important sights of Veszprém. Not only are the keystones of the vaults exceptionally rare and old but also the frescoes of the apostles decorating the walls date back to the 13th century.
The neo-classical building erected between 1828 and 1836 has a two-storey tower but it is still the shortest church of the Castle. We can read the inscription MMT on the wall; the abbreviation of the following Greek text: Mary, Jesus’ mother. The painting on the high altar was painted in honour of St. Emeric, the side-altars depict Piarist saints.
... Tired of reading? Let's hear some music from Veszprem:
Next to this house, you can see the single-naved Rococo Franciscan Church built in 1730. The church and the monastery were built in 1730. The Italian paintings above the carved panelling of the dining room decorate the walls for more than 200 years. The gilded statues of St. Emeric and St. Ladislas can be seen by the high altar. There are several religious paintings on the vault.
Looking down from Benedek Hill, you can catch sight of the Margaret ruins. The former church and monastery was built by Bishop Bertalan for Dominican nuns around 1240. St Margaret, King Béla IV’s daughter was educated here for six years. The church and the monastery were destroyed at the time of the Turkish Conquest. The ruins were excavated in 1938 but today only the foundation walls and part of the church wall are visible.
Ruins of the Greek orthodox nunnery
It is worth visiting the ruins of the nunnery of Veszprém Valley Nuns in Séd Valley near the zoo. They were excavated in 1936. Legend has it that the gorgeous coronation robe of Queen Gizella and maybe that of her husband were prepared here.
The Castle Gate commemorates the Hungarian victims of the First World War. The historic right-hand tower is a museum displaying stones and minerals. Three niches were created above the arch of the wide gate: on the right and left there are cherubim while the sword with intertwining leaves in the middle reminds us of the victims of the war. Here you can also see the starting and closing date of the first big war.
Fire Lookout Tower
The Fire Tower is one of the symbols of the town. Its foundation dates back to the period of King Béla IV when it functioned as a watchtower and had defensive purposes until the end of the Turkish period. Its height is 48 metres so it was perfect for observing the town for signs of fire. The clock of the Rococo copper tower plays the recruiting music composed by Antal Csermák every hour.
Statues of King St. István I and Queen Gizella
At the end of the street at the castle we can find the statues of King St. István I and Queen Gizella.
The statues created by József Ispánky in 1938 for the 900th anniversary of the king’s death have become symbolic of Veszprém. It is worth stopping at the north-eastern end of Castle Hill to admire the wonderful view of several sights of Veszprém.
A narrow flight of stairs leads down to Benedek Hill. The hills served as a burial place for the Hungarian conquerors. On the white rock, we can see the cross erected in 1904. Below you can see the Séd Brook surrounded by lanes generating a medieval atmosphere.
Looking to the left from the statues of the royal couple or from Benedek Hill you can see one of the famous symbols of Veszprém, the Viaduct spanning across Fejes Valley. The St. István’s Valley Bridge – 50 metres above the winding Séd Brook – leads to St. Ladislas’ Church. From the bridge there is a wonderful view of both the town and the area: we can see the Castle, the Betekints Valley and the Bakony Hills.
Kittenberger Kálmán Zoo
The Plant and Wildlife Park named after the reputed Africa explorer was established in the Fejes Valley. Approximately 600 animals of 125 animal species live in the area exceeding 13 hectares. Apart from the species found in nearly every zoo, there are also zoological rarities in the Veszprém Wildlife Park such as the Sumatran tiger, the karaka or the Pere David’s deer. Much to the enjoyment of locals as well as tourists, significant improvements have taken place in the past few years: the Kamchatka brown bear received a new pen, a beautiful bird conservatory, a Nature Conservation Rescue Centre and exhibition hall was built and a house for chimpanzees was established. Guests can also go horse riding in the Riding School of the Zoo. The permanent sights are complemented with interesting and useful cultural programmes.
Eötvös Károly County Library
The Theatre Garden is an example for the horticulture flourishing in Hungary in the 18th century. The building of Eötvös Károly County Library can be found here. With its eclectic towers this attractive building is an indispensable part of the university town. In the library there is a rich collection of journals, technical books, literature and children’s books as well as a collection of music, Information Office for Enterprises, European Information Point, American Corner and English Language Resource Centre.
The Petőfi Theatre can be found in the heart of the city. It was established in 1962, and offers modern and classical dramas, musicals, operettas, dance pieces for the audience. There is a puppet theatre named “Kabóca Puppet Theatre” working in the city and we should mention the Pannon Castle Theatre and Latinovits Zoltán Chamber Theatre which are quite popular among people who are interested in theatre performances. Beside the professional associations, there are amateur productions performed by the University Stage led by keen and talented young adults.
Cloisters and gardens at the foot of the Castle
The Veszprém Valley offers numerous leisure activities and is a real gem of Veszprém. Walking hand in hand, going for a stroll, having a rest on a comfortable bench, having a coffee and a chat in the Historia Garden are all possible here. Hungarian Folk Tales and “Siege” playgrounds await the children. A rising number of people find the area ideal for their new passion, “nordic walking”.
The valley also attracts a range of people for climbing, others prefer to mount their bikes or put roller skates on. Embraced by shady trees and alleys we can find monuments from the Árpád Era such as the Margaret Ruins, the ruins of the Veszprém Valley Nunnery and the Jesuit Church.
The Veszprém Valley offers a wilde range of programmes throughout the year: varied events, concerts, all-day programmes for families, folksdance and exhibitions. The city of hills and valleys shaped by the Séd Brook invites everyone for walks, strolls with the loved one or pleasant chats in a café. This can now be enjoyed outside the city centre, in the natural environment as well.