Széchenyi Square is one of Central Europe’s most attractive and largest public squares. The Town Hall built in the neo-Baroque style stands on the west side of the square.
On the Tisza side of the square a statue of István Széchenyi made of white Carrara marble (by Alajos Stróbl) can be seen followed by a bronze statue of Pál Vásárhelyi (by Lajos Mátrai), famous for regulating the Tisza River and then next in the row is Lajos Tisza’s statue (the work of János Fadrusz), the fourth one being György Zala’s statue of Ferenc Deák. On the other side of the square, opposite the Town Hall, stands a mounted statue of Béla IV and the symbolic bronze figures of the Blessing Bringer and of Tisza, the Destroyer. Next to it is Miklós Melocco’s statue of Kuno Klebelsberg, the final pair of statues in the square, the works of Sándor Kligl, is that of St. Stephen and Gisella.
The western walls of the castle built on the bank of the River Tisza in the 13th century were situated in the present Széchenyi Square, while the barren field in front of them served as a practice area for the soldiers defending the castle and as the main market square.
Kárász Street is Szeged’s pedestrian precinct. At the centre of Klauzál Square emanating a Mediterranean ambiance, stands József Róna’s full figure statue of Lajos Kossuth. The Virág Cukrászda cake shop on the ground floor of the Új Zsótér House is a favourite meeting point of local residents and also the visitors of Szeged. One of the most important monuments of the square is the classicist building of Kárász House, from whose balcony Lajos Kossuth delivered his last speech in Hungary in 1849. During his stay here in 1857, it was in this building that Joseph Ferenc took up his quarters. The Kings’ Fountain, a work by Klára Tóbiás, is also located in the square.
Prior to the Great Flood in 1879, a wheat market had operated in Dugonics Square. The main building of the square is an early Eclectic palace housing the central office of the university, which building was originally intended as a college of sciences. In 1921, the university of sciences was relocated here from Cluj (Kolozsvár). This was where Antal Horger reprimanded arts student Attila József for his poem entitled “With a Pure Heart” and published in the periodical “Szeged”. Next to the building stands Imre Varga’s bronze statue of the poet.
Throughout the year, the square is host to a number of cultural events and several handcraft markets.
György Vastag Jr’s mounted statue of Ferenc Rákóczi II stands in the square and a memorial column for the Szőreg Battle. At the foot of the monument a list of 13 martyrs executed in the city of Arad can be read on a marble table. On the Tisza side of the square, a nice early Eclectic building houses the world famous Bolyai Institute. This is the building where currently the university’s science faculty operates. Formerly, it used to house a Piarist Grammar School and Monastery, where Gyula Juhász also pursued his studies. Behind the building, in the Rerrich Béla Square, a replica of the Kolozsvári Brothers’ statue of St. George and the Dragon can be seen. A monument to 1956 by Miklós Melocco is located on the other side of the square.
The Martyrs of Arad Square is connected by the Boldogasszony sugárút (Blessed Virgin Boulevard) to the Heroes’ Gate, which has been erected to commemorate soldiers who fell in the WWI. Under the arches there are frescoes by Vilmos Aba-Novák. Besides the protective saints, St. Saint George and St. Barbara, and the cross-bearers the artist himself also appears among the figures.
Dóm tér (Cathedral Square) is as large as Venice’s St. Mark’s Square, i.e. 12,000 m2. The square is home to internationally renowned Szeged Outdoor Festival, which was first organized in 1931. The archways of a row of North-European style red brick buildings feature the National Pantheon, a series of statues and reliefs depicting prominent figures of Hungarian history, literature, arts and sciences. A musical clock built into the building’s wall, a symbol of medieval universities, is one of the peculiarities of the square and can be found on the side facing the main entrance to the Cathedral. The oldest monument of the city, the Dömötör Torony (Dömötör Tower) also stands in the square.
After the great flood in 1879, the city’s leaders were determined to erect a vast church now known as the Votive Church. Both inside and outside, the Cathedral is decorated with a multitude of mosaics, sculptures and reliefs. With its 9,040 pipes, the organ is the third largest among Europe’s church organs.
The majestic New Synagogue was built in the Hungarian Art Nouveau style with Moorish elements at the turn of the 20th century. The stained glass windows, the artistically carved benches, the ivory, blue and gold decorations all harmonizing with each other were all created based on Immánuel Löw’s ideas. The marble altar’s closing stone was made of Jerusalem marble and the door of the Ark of the Covenant, holding 18 Torah Scrolls in its 9 slots, of acacia tree from the Nile River. The stained glass windows and the internal ornaments were all made in Miksa Róth’s workshop.
One of the most notable pieces of Art Nouveau in Hungary is the Reök Palace. The building was commissioned by hydrology engineer István Reök. The façade and the staircase feature stylised floral ornaments. The particularly beautiful wrought-iron works were made by Pál Fekete on the basis of Ede Magyar’s drawings. The building resembling the Spanish Antoni Gaudi’s dwelling houses are among the most attractive ones in the world. Locals call it the “horse’s backside” building as it is situated behind a hussar statue commemorating WWI heroes. In August 2007, a Regional Pan-Arts Centre began operating in the refurbished building. In addition to high-standard periodical exhibitions, REÖK also offers permanent programmes including a Literature and Opera Salon, light and classical music concerts, small theatre performances, REÖK’s specialty lies in its pan-arts repertoire offering new and exciting programmes to those interested.
Móra Ferenc Museum was built in Neo-Classicist style in 1896 “for public education”, as it reads on its tympanum. Right by the stairs stands a bust of János Reizner, the former director of the museum. The two statues by the columns are those of Homer and Socrates and the entrance is flanked by those of Clio and Euterpe.
In the museum, the following permanent exhibitions can be visited: the Móra Memorial Room; an exhibition entitled “They called themselves Avars”; Csongrád County’s Folk Art, an ethnography exhibition; Ferenc Lucs’s collection; and a Pharmacy History exhibition.
Just as the Budapest Vígszínház (Comedy Theatre), the Szeged National Theatre was designed by Hellmer and Fellner in the eclectic neo-Baroque style. It opened in 1883 but burned down in 1885 and reopened in 1886. Its façade is decorated by Antal Tápai’s statues of composer Ferenc Erkel and playwright József Katona. Some of the most prominent Hungarian actors and actresses who appeared here also merit a mention: Sári Fedák, Gyula Hegedűs, Tivadar Bilicsi, Pál Jávor, Lili Neményi, Antal Páger, Margit Dayka and, among the greatest opera singers, József Simándy. Erzsébet Komlóssy and many others. Today the theatre has three sections: opera, dance and drama.
The Water Tower completely made of reinforced concrete and having a capacity of 1004.8 m³ was completed by the end of 1904. In terms of both its structure and material it was a building unique of its kind in the country by the standards of the era. With its flagpole, also made of reinforced concrete, the Water Tower has a height of 54.9 m. As opposed to its earlier function, thanks to its renovated space it is now predominantly a rest and memorial park by nature. While keeping its original function, it is also a touristic attraction today. With the help of a Foucault Pendulum located inside it, we can satisfy ourselves that the Earth rotates around its own axis. The Water Tower was refurbished in 2006. In addition to the amazing engineering creation it represents, we can view exhibitions, paintings, drawings and photographs related to the history of physics, while we can enjoy the view of Szeged from its lookout level.
Visitors can enjoy a salami taster, receive Szeged paprika samples, buy winter salami at a discount and take home gift postcards. The gift shop sells Szeged paprika at factory price. Permanent exhibitions: The History of Pick Salami; The History of Szeged Paprika.
The Tisza is our largest river. Meandering through the Great Plain it used to possess a vast area until its regulation began in 1840. At the initiative of Count István Széchenyi, Pál Vásárhelyi prepared the designs after the appropriate pre-studies. There were several major causes of the 12 March 1879 Szeged flood, which ultimately destroyed the city completely. The city’s current hub-and-spoke layout is one of the consequences of the Tisza’s flooding. The Tisza River and the city of Szeged are inextricably intertwined.
The Belvárosi Bridge was originally built after János Feketeházy’s designs and then, in 1948, was rebuilt at the location of the first public road bridge completed by the Eiffel Company.
The number of visitors to the Szeged Zoo has risen considerably in recent years, thanks to continued improvements and its ever increasing collection of animals, including popular rare species. In terms of the animal headcount (approx. 650 individuals of 140 species), it is considered a medium-sized zoo by Hungarian standards but when viewed from the aspect of the nature conservation value and rarity of species it is regarded to be among leading zoos. The Game Park keeps one quarter of species within the scope of the international wildlife conservation programme, which is an outstandingly high proportion.
Within the Botanical Garden’s 17.5 ha area the most spectacular part is the arboretum. Thousands of trees and bushes are taken care of here, the most attractive among them being the garden’s collection of conifers – the oldest Sichuan mammoth pine in Hungary lives here. The most beautiful part of the botanical garden is the lukewarm lake. Its greatest attraction, besides water lilies, is the Indian lotus. Its flowering period is July, when its flowers blooming among the huge leaves like lilies cover the entire lake surface.