Known as “The City of Queens” Veszprém is a lovely jewel worth visiting. The term comes from the fact that in the past, Hungarian queens were traditionally crowned here by the bishop of Veszprém, beginning with Gisela, King Stephen’s wife.
The town was originally known as Bezprem, a Slavic compound word that meant ‘uneven,’ owing to its location atop seven hills. Another popular version concerning its origin is that it was named after Queen Gisela, who offered her fur coat with the cry “Vessz prém!” (roughly translated as “Farewell, fur!”) to help fund the construction of St. Michael’s Cathedral. There was also a prevalent belief that Veszprém got its name from the German name for the town’s well, “Weissbrunn.”
The town was at its peak around the year 1000 during the reign of the first royal couple, Stephen I and Gisela. They established the bishopric and contributed to the construction of St. Michael’s Cathedral and the Veszprém Valley Nunnery, where the crowning gown was sewn. The embroidered robe was gifted to the church by Gisela. From 1216 onwards, the Veszprém bishops’ right to crown Hungarian queens was guaranteed by law.
In Veszprém, Stephen and Gisela’s legacy lives on and is cherished.
The Castle area, which you can enter through the Gate of Heroes, is undoubtedly Veszprém’s most well-known site. Ernő, the guard, a miniature statue by Mihály Kolodko, stands guard at the gate. He’s proudly wearing the Crown Guards’ uniform and attentively safeguarding his small treasure box on the left side of the gate. He’s so small that it’s easy to overlook him approaching the gate, so keep an eye out for him.
The Fire Tower, one of the town’s icons, is the next prominent sight as you go up the cobblestone street of the Castle. It was raised to keep the gate safe. From its vantage point, it now provides a spectacular view of the city. Every hour, the tower clock chimes a Hungarian tune.
The heart of the Castle neighborhood is home to St. Michael’s Cathedral. It is based on Queen Gisela’s founding of the country’s oldest episcopal cathedral. If you continue walking, Castle Street will open up onto Trinity Square, which is home to the beautiful Trinity statue. The Archbishop’s Palace, where a valuable library and archive await anyone interested in the origins of old volumes, family trees, and names, Gisela Chapel, named after Hungary’s first Queen, and Dubniczay Palace, an exhibition site, are all located around the square. St. George’s Chapel (constructed between the 10th and 11th centuries) is located along the northern flank of the Cathedral and is arguably Veszprém’s earliest medieval edifice where, according to legend, St. Emeric, our first king’s son, took a virginity oath.
The statue of the first Hungarian royal pair, Saint Stephen and Blessed Gisela rises above the town in the Castle’s northern corner. Narrow stone stairs go down to Benedict Hill on the Castle’s northern side, not far from the royal couple’s statue. There is a cross on its white rock that was built in 1904 and refurbished in 2005. The city of Veszprém, the Bakony, the meandering Séd stream, the Viaduct, and the lovely park of the Veszprém Valley may all be seen from the cross.
Kolodko mini statues, the newest attractions
Sculptor Mihály Kolodko sculpted two other mini statues in Veszprém, in addition to the above-mentioned Ernő, the guard.
Ödön, the street musician, is a merry and bohemian figure. It is seated on a suitcase and clutching a musical instrument in the shape of a snail shell. He is located in Kossuth Street, near Hangvilla, the piano-shaped structure that serves as Veszprém’s cultural core. Ödön is a symbol of music, which is an important component of Veszprém’s cultural life, and it reflects composer Zoltán Kodály’s notion that “music should belong to everyone.”
The third Kolodko mini statue in Veszprém is Leonora, the girl with the lion. It’s not in the centre, so you’ll have to go for a lengthy walk to find it. Margaret Ruins serve as the backdrop to it, with Veszprém Castle visible in the distance and Veszprém Zoo just a short walk away. The girl is perched on the back of a lion and holding something. It’s up to you to interpret whether it’s a smartphone, a book, or the Bible itself.
The sculptures’ names were decided by public vote, and the statues are site-specific works with strong ties to Veszprém’s past and present. Look for letters on the small statues, which aren’t simple to come by. They are the initials of the statue commissioner’s family’s first names. The letter ‘B’ on the guard statue represents Balázs, the letter ‘A’ on the street musician statue represents Andrea, and the letter ‘T’ on The Girl and the Lion statue represents Tekla.
forrás: 5 Perc Angol Magazin, 2021 dececemberi szám
|compound word||összetett szó|
|at its peak||csúcspontján|
|crowning gown||koronázási palást|
|to cherish||ápolni, megbecsülni|
|to overlook||nem venni észre|
|cobblestone street||macskaköves utca|
|vantage point||jó kilátást nyújtó hely|
|to chime||harangjátékot játszani|
|virginity oath||szüzességi fogadalom|
|to clutch||kezében tartani, szorongatni|
|to perch||ülni, gubbasztani|
|strong ties||erős kötődés|
|to come by||rábukkanni|
|to represent||jelenteni, képviselni|