City explorer routes

On the path of kings

On the path of kings

Did you know that in medieval Hungary one could only be the rightful monarch if the Archbishop of Esztergom placed the crown of St. Stephen I on their head in Székesfehérvár? We can follow the footsteps of our kings. Let’s open the history book of our country together!

One of Hungary’s most ancient and historically rich cities was founded by Grand Prince Géza in 972 and during the reign of Stephen I became a royal and cultural centre. The National Memorial Site comprises of the remains of the one-time coronation basilica built by Saint Stephen the King – Our Blessed Lady Basilica. 36 Hungarian kings have been crowned between its walls. As well as St. Stephen and his son Prince Emeric (Imre), another 14 kings also chose the basilica for their resting place. We can find our founding father’s carved stone sarcophagus in the St. Stephen Mausoleum. On the surrounding walls we can follow the story of the Holy Crown and the legend of the Holy Right on Vilmos Aba-Novák’s historic secco. In the town hall a copy of the Holy Crown can be seen. Its base is made of fine silver and it is covered in pure gold. This piece of art weighing 1.5-kilos is decorated with 19 enamel pictures, 8 framed enamel pictures, 80 almandine stones, 4 sapphire stones, 410 pearls, 6 amethyst stones and 1 turquoise stone. It is not only the crown which points to medieval past but also other crowning jewels. According to the inscription on the most emblematic piece of art dominating the main square of the city, the Orb: “Fehérvár is a free city by the grace of St. Stephen”.

It is worth extending our tour by visiting the archaeological exhibition of the St. Stephen Royal Museum where we have a chance to admire the remains of the stone carvings of the royal basilica amongst the treasures of the millennia. Remains of tombstones, sarcophaguses, altars and statues of emperors are exhibited here amongst the stone remains from the 1st to 4th century.

On the path of kings – standard sightseeing programme

Duration: 2 hours

Price of the programme in a foreign language: 18 000 Ft/group

Entrance fee to the National Memorial Site as part of the programme: 700 Ft/adult, 350 Ft/child

The National Memorial Site is open from 1st April to 31st October.

On the path of kings extra package with viewing the copy of the Holy Crown

Extra package with advance booking:

Duration: 2.5 hours

Price of the programme in a foreign language: 21 000 Ft/group

Entrance fee to the National Memorial Site as part of the programme: 700 Ft/adult, 350 Ft/child

The National Memorial Site is open from 1st April to 31st October.

 

Find the castle wall!

Find the castle wall!

Following the apparent remains of the medieval castle walls the stories of famous figures and legends of the one-time royal seat unfold before us. These walls protected Fehérvár until it fell into the hands of the Ottomans. At the foot of the walls we can find the statues of famous constables. Explore the historic city centre.

In this programme we present to the visitors the remains of the medieval city which has preserved its original structure of streets and its legends. Our journey takes us from the founding of the city up to the Ottoman times. Székesfehérvár was built on the hills of a marshy land that was easily defendable and could be found at the meeting point of natural trails which has determined the strategic and commercial importance of this settlement. More than ten trade routes led through the city during the Middle Ages.  One of these was a pilgrimage route leading to the Holy Land. It is not by accident that Grand Prince Géza built the first stone church of the Hungarians here which was also their burial place. The palace of the Grand Prince and later the Royal Palace were built nearby surrounded by a stone castle. „Feheruuaru rea meneh hodu utu rea” – in the earliest written record of the Hungarian language, part of the founding certificate of the Tihany Abbey dated 1055, the name of a city is mentioned referring to a “military route going to Fehérvár”. According to one explanation the name Fehérvár (white castle) refers to the stones or white-washed walls of the early royal castle and palace built by Grand Prince Géza. Although we may be unable to find white stones we can spot the remains of the castle wall at several different points throughout the city centre. The statues of the heroic constables of the castle – Ferenc Whatay who escaped four times from Ottoman captivity and György Varkocs who was locked out from the city and died as a hero – can be found at the foot of the walls.

Find the castle wall – thematic excursion

Duration: 1.5 hours

Price of the programme in a foreign language: 15 000Ft/group

Time-travel

Time-travel

This city adventure equals to travelling through time, which spans over a thousand years. Through the pieces of art found in public places one can become acquainted with the story of this city that has been destroyed and renewed again and again all the way up to the scroll motive of the high-street that was completed in 2013 and which is a unique Hungarian innovation in our city. Have you got “the time”?

A stroll in Székesfehérvár is time-travel in itself from the founding of the state to the present day. Clocks are special to us and it is symbolic that at each end of the historic city centre a clock has been placed. In the magical atmosphere of the Kossuth garden a clock puts the passing of time into historic perspective by summoning the well-known figures and legends of Hungarian history in an artistic presentation accompanied by chiming. The happy procession features King Stephen, Prince Emeric, King Ladislaus fighting with a Cuman valiant, St. Elizabeth and St. Margaret as well as King Mathias and Queen Beatrix. On the ground floor of this antique building we find the collection of the Clock Museum consisting of many hundreds of wall-clocks, Grandfather-clocks, pocket-watches, wrist-watches and even the mechanism of a tower clock from the 17th century. At the other end of the city centre a flower-clock which has been operating for 60 years tells us the exact time with flowering plants on its face that also displays the correct date. On our excursion we present the history of the city reflected in the pieces of art in public places. There are statues erected for kings, soldiers, humanistic scientists but the costermonger’s bronze figure also fits in whose nose has been rubbed so much by passers-by hoping for good luck from touching her nose that it now shines. On the Városháza Square a lovely clown, Mujkó keeps his eyes on every step we make. Can you see from where?

Time-travel thematic excursion

Duration: 2 hours

Price of the programme in a foreign language: 18 000Ft/group

Time-travel extra package with advanced booking

Duration: 2.5 hours

Price of the programme in a foreign language: 21 000Ft/group

Entrance fee to the Clock Museum as part of the programme: 1000 Ft/person

The gems of the city centre

The gems of the city centre

The historic city centre has preserved its medieval street structure ornamented by baroque, rococo and Louis Seize style buildings many of which are paramount examples of national architecture. Walking these quaint streets one stumbles upon romantic inner courts and sweet enclosed corner balconies. Be sure not to miss the real gem in our jewel-box the Hiemer house!

The city centre of Székesfehérvár is not only a paradise for those searching in the past but it also presents many delicacies for those open to art. Over the course of our excursion we will become acquainted with the architectural assets of our city, we will call at the antique buildings of the Vörösmarty Theatre and Magyar Király Hotel(Hungarian King) and we will admire the listed Árpád Spa with its shell decorated dome masterpiece of Ödön Lechner in art nouveau style. The Városháza (Town Hall) square is dominated by the Bishop’s Palace which is one of Hungary’s most remarkable pieces of architecture in Louis Seize style with its splendid proportions, natural and clear-cut distribution and fine details.

In the 17th century, enclosed corner balconies decorating baroque facades became fashionable and a typical element of architecture in Fehérvár. We can admire one of the earliest and most famous examples of this on the Hiemer House on the main square. The centre of our programme is the Hiemer House, winner of the Award of Merit, which is regarded as the baroque gem of the city centre and which regained its former grandeur in 2012 after undergoing multiple stages of renovation. This architectural piece of art formed by the fusion of three buildings tells a story about the history of the city: through its unique medieval merits, baroque and rococo architectural relics and through its modern time alterations the past centuries of Fehérvár come to life. It gives home to the wedding hall, the Hetedhét (behind the beyond) Toy Museum, an elegant restaurant and café, the Fehérvár Gift Shop and the Tourinform Office.

The gems of the city centre – thematic excursion with curiosities from the history of art

The gems of the city centre – thematic excursion

Duration: 1.5 hours

Price of the programme in a foreign language: 15 000 Ft/group

The gems of the city centre extra package with the Hiemer house

Extra package – with advanced booking

Duration: 2 hours

Price of the programme in a foreign language: 18 000 Ft/group

Entrance fee to the Hiemer House as part of the programme: 300 Ft/person

The treasures of the churches

The treasures of the churches

A great deal of our ecclesiastic relics is related to St. Stephen and to his son Prince Emeric. They were both laid to rest and canonised in the one-time coronation basilica. Following this Székesfehérvár became the destination for Hungarian pilgrimages with several miraculous healings recorded and others being set free spiritually.

More than 30 churches and chapels were built in Székesfehérvár in the middle ages but only one of them, St. Annes chapel, still exists meaning that this is the oldest intact building of the city. At the highest point of the city centre we find St. Stephen’s Cathedral with its huge steeples, the construction of which was started by Béla IV. In its undercroft of medieval origin we find the tombs of Béla III. and his wife Ann of Antioch. On the marble slab of the tombs kept in Mathias Church the imprint of the bodies of the royal couple can be seen. We meet the various forms and virtuous pieces of art from the era of late baroque in the churches of the city centre, in the Seminary Church and Cistercian Church. The Carmelite monks asked the best painter of Europe, Franz Anton Maulbertsch, an Austrian master to paint two altar pictures and frescos that continues to impress visitors even today. In the vestry of the Cistercian church with its two steeples we can find a suit of vestry furniture that is regarded to be the most beautiful in Europe. According to a relief framed on the wall of the St. Emeric church the palace of St. Stephen, the birth place of St. Emeric stood here which fell victim to the Ottoman devastation in 1601. In its place, in the founding stone of the church the relic of St. Emeric was laid. Amongst the valuable liturgical pieces of art and religious relics of the Székesfehérvár Diocese Museum the most distinguished is the head relic of St. Stephen in an ornamental silver relic case which was locked away from the public for centuries but is today exhibited for anyone to see.

The treasures of the churches – thematic excursion for sacral travellers and cultural “treasure-hunters”

Duration: 2 hours

Price of the programme in a foreign language: 18 000Ft/group

The treasures of churches extra package including the Székesfehérvár Diocese Museum and Bishop’s Palace

Duration: 3 hours

Price of the programme in a foreign language: 24 000Ft/group

Entrance fee to the Székesfehérvár Diocese Museum as part of the programme: 390 Ft/adult, 190 Ft/child

Guided tour of the Bishop’s Palace as part of the programme: 6 000 Ft/group

Ethnography

Ethnography

Forgotten folk traditions come back to life: we find out how the cobbler lived, what the currier worked with, what the scourer did and even more we become acquainted with the ‘hind quarters’ woman pushing her cart on the walking street. She brings good luck!

One can witness the preservation of folk tradition even while walking in the city centre as amongst the work of arts on public display on these streets and squares the brass statue of Aunt Kate, the market costermonger, a lovely acquaintance of the people of Székesfehérvár fits in well with our one-time kings and great people. Following local superstition her nose has been rubbed so much by passers-by hoping for good luck that it shines. In the Palotaváros (Palace town) open air museum in Rác (Rascian) Street we can experience the everyday life of the famous hat maker dynasty, the Dietrich family, we see the tools and guild relics of the currier, the cobbler, the bootmaker, the shoemaker, the saddler, the scourer, the fur-dresser and the “szűr” tailor. We can call at the Craftsmen’s House where the Association of the Fehérvár Craftsmen give us a glimpse into the secrets of making folk musical instruments, egg painting, cakes with wooden templates, felt balls, reed mace boats and paper. The other gem of this street is the “Birth of St. John” Serbian Orthodox church which houses an extremely rich collection of iconostasis.

In the building of the King Saint Stephen Museum at the Országzászló (National Flag) Square the “Traditions of creating objects” exhibition presents the folk tradition of Fejér County, the journey these objects took from their creations through their use up to the folk tradition movement of today and the works of the applied art of folk artists. Become acquainted with the products of the gingerbread makers, the potter or the goose hind-quarters vendor!

Ethnography – guided traditionalist excursion (with advanced booking)

Duration: 2 hours

Price of the programme in a foreign language: 18 000Ft/group

Entrance fee to the Open Air Museum as part of the programme: 500 Ft/adult, 250 Ft/student, senior citizens

Ethnography – extra package with visiting the museum

Duration: 2.5 hours

Price of the programme in a foreign language: 21 000Ft/group

Entrance fee to the museums as part of the programme: 1200 Ft/adult, 600 Ft/student, senior citizens

Titkos helyek

Titkos helyek

Only in hungarian available!