Szekesfehervar for Hungary is no less, and perhaps in some ways even more significant than the capital Budapest. “City of Kings”, “White City with a Throne”, “Cradle of Hungarian Statehood” – what epithets this settlement has not earned over the long years of its history. And the thing is that it was in the local cathedral that the monarchs of Hungary were crowned from ancient times and, despite the fact that the temple itself has not survived to this day, Szekesfehervar, no doubt, has retained its royal character.
Note: according to allcitypopulation, the population of Hungary is 9.71 million (2021).
The first autocrat crowned in the main cathedral was Peter Orseolo, and it happened in 1038. Janos II in 1526 ends the line of monarchs. Kings Istvan the First, Bela the Second, Matthias Korvin and others once rested in the temple.
On the territory of modern Szekesfehervar, a settlement existed in Roman times. And it was founded, according to legend, at the place where the tent of the leader of the Magyars Arpad, the ancestor of the first royal dynasty in the country, stood. In 1039, under the Hungarian king Istvan, Szekesfehervar was given the status of a city. During the war with Turkey, the city was besieged by the enemy, and after long battles it was taken. Those temples that survived became mosques, the graves of the monarchs were defiled and plundered. After the liberation of Hungary from the Turks at the end of the 17th century, the city was rebuilt, mainly in the Baroque style.
How to get to Szekesfehervar
Szekesfehervar is located only 65 km from the country’s capital, so first you need to get to Budapest, and only then look for either the South Railway Station (as it is also called, Delhi Station), or the Erzsebet Bus Station. Easier – by direct train towards Balaton, get off at the Szekesfehervar station of the same name with the city. Travel time is about 45-60 minutes, the fare is from 1290 HUF, the exact schedule can be found at the office. website of the Hungarian Railways (in English). Buses may take a little longer, as traffic in Budapest is unpredictable – traffic jams often occur.
The city center is quite accessible for pedestrians, so public transport is not needed here. In addition, in summer you can ride a mini-train that runs through the very heart of Szekesfehervar every half hour. But it’s better to get to Bori Castle by buses No. 26 or 26A (the ticket from the driver is about 300 HUF), and do not forget to tell him that you need the attraction (just say “Bori Var”, you will be understood).
Taxi ranks are available at the bus and railway stations, as well as at Alba Square. The fare in the city, as a rule, does not exceed 1500-1700 HUF.
The city, despite its architectural wealth, is small, so there are not so many hotels here. There are several worthy “threes” and “fours”, a couple of cozy guesthouses and motels, so it will be easy to find accommodation within your pocket, but it’s better to look for accommodation in advance. The average check for a double room starts from 15,500 HUF, if you want to save money, you can find a hotel a little further from the center, where a day will cost from 10,600 HUF.
Cafes and restaurants in Szekesfehervar
Szekesfehervar is the city of desserts, it was here that the Hungarian Ice Cream 2013 was created. and the best cake of 2014 – the famous Shomloy dumpling, but in a modern interpretation. In general, all the cafes of the city are very similar to the all-Hungarian ones – the same goulash and paprikas, plentiful portions, a good selection of Tokay wine and reasonable prices. The approximate cost of a meal per person in an average restaurant is 3000-4000 HUF.
Entertainment and attractions
On the Town Hall Square, the attention of travelers is immediately attracted by the Bishop’s Palace in the style of classicism of the early 19th century. The Town Hall itself was built in the Baroque style. Another interesting place is the Franciscan Church of St. Imre. There is also the main symbol of Szekesfehervar – the sculpture “Power”.
One of the most majestic and beautiful churches in the city, of course, is St. Stephen’s Cathedral. It was built in the center of the Old Town on the very spot where an ancient Gothic temple once stood, destroyed by the Ottomans. The baroque church took 10 years to build, from 1758 to 1768. Nearby is the unpretentious-looking chapel of St. Anne, a monument of medieval architecture (1480, just a minute!), Which escaped the fate of the rest of the medieval temples of the city.
The “Garden of Ruins” belongs to the oldest pages of the history of Szekesfehervar. This is the name of the foundation of an ancient basilica discovered by archaeologists, built in the 11th century. It was in it that the coronation took place, the Hungarian monarchs rested right there.
The main street of the city with the funny name Fe attracts with many shops, restaurants and bars. It also houses the Baroque-style Vereshmarty Theater and the Black Eagle Pharmacy, opened by the Jesuit Order in the 18th century. Now a fascinating exposition is opened in the pharmacy building.
Bori Castle of the middle of the 20th century, despite its very young age, is very interesting for tourists. The residence was built by the architect Yene Bori in 1959, and the construction itself lasted more than 30 years. The architect presented this palace to his wife, Ilona Bori, so the interiors contain many paintings, poems and sculptures dedicated to the architect’s wife. From the outside, the building is a mixture of several styles – here are Gothic, Romanesque, and Renaissance, some elements are even made of concrete. You can visit the workshop, which presents works of art created by Bory himself and members of his family.
Szekesfehervar has a temperate climate, but with a lot of rainfall, while, oddly enough, the driest month is considered to be the spring of March. The greatest chance of getting caught in the rain is at the beginning of summer, in June. And yet, it is summer that is considered the best time of the year to travel to the city.