Kalocsa Tourist Attractions
This town, situated on the east bank of the Danube, on a wide plateau stretching between the Danube and Tisza rivers, is known mainly for the cultivation of paprika, but its name is also synonymous with high-quality folk-art, especially in the form of the colorful embroidery to be found on textiles, walls and furnishings, the most beautiful example being at Kalocsa railroad station. In the 11th C, King Stephen I made Kalocsa the diocesan town for this bank of the Danube. The first archbishop, an abbot by the name of Astrik, delivered to the king the crown which was a gift from the Pope. From the 19th C, onwards the area around Kalocsa developed into a fertile agricultural region, and its produce still supplies the local food-processing factories.
The historical center of Kalocsa is the site of its two major buildings, the Cathedral and the Archbishop's Palace. The first episcopal church was built in the time of King Stephen, but was destroyed and rebuilt several times over the centuries. The plans for the new Baroque building, which was erected between 1735 and 1754 on the medieval foundations, were probably drawn up by Andreas Mayerhoffer, a pupil of the famous Austrian Baroque architect Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt. The twin-towered west front boasts a gable with statues of the Virgin Mary between the Apostles Peter and Paul. The interior was completed C. 1770 and restored following a fire in 1816. Italian masters were responsible for the stucco reliefs in the roof vaulting, while the painting of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary on the high altar was by Leopold Kupelwieser of Vienna. The figures in front of the choir represent Kings Stephen and Ladislaus. The relief on the south side of the cathedral is a likeness of the first archbishop of Kalocsa, the abbot Astrik.Valuable examples of religious art are housed in the oratory near the choir and in the cathedral treasury. The oldest bishop's sarcophagus in the crypt dates from the early 13th century.
This Baroque palace was built in 1776, to plans by the Piarist monk Gáspár Oswald, on the walls of a 14th C castle. The wall-paintings in the festival hall and the ceiling frescos in the chapel are the work of the famous Austrian Baroque artist Franz Anton Maulbertsch (1724-96). The east wing houses the library, which contains some 100,000 volumes, including 56 codices and 508 incunabula. The most valuable books include a Martin Luther Bible.
Kalocsa's major product and an important export item is paprika, a sweet, golden-red condiment obtained from the capsicum plant, the fruits of which, red peppers, can be seen hanging up to dry on houses everywhere in the region. In the Paprika Museum (Fiszerpaprika Múzeum) on Marx tér the visitor can learn a lot about the history of this pepper which was introduced from Central America, as well as its cultivation and processing.
Károly Viski Museum
As well as local history exhibits, this museum houses the collection formed by the ethnographer Károly Viski, which illustrates by means of some particularly beautiful examples the development of folk-art in the Kalocsa region, especially in the field of embroidery. Note also the collections of minerals and coins.
Nicolas Schöffer Collection
The sculptor Nicolas Schöffer was born in Kalocsa and lived in Paris from 1937. He left to his home town a collection of sculptures which can be seen in the house in which he was born (Schöffer gyijtemény.)Not far from the house, in front of the bus station, stands his huge space sculpture "Tower of Light".
Folk Art Museum
In a typical lowland farmstead with an arbor and furnished in true period style, the Local Crafts Society displays its products (Tajház). The flower patterns which have been handed down from generation to generation are incorporated by means of a special technique into embroidered costumes, blankets. table-cloths and sheets, and also in the form of painting on the walls and furnishings in the house. Beautiful souvenirs may be purchased in the museum shop.