Sarospatak Tourist Attractions
Sárospatak lies on the southern edge of the Zemplin range of hills, in the center of the historic area of Tokaj-Hegyalja. The main sight of this small town is the famous Renaissance castle above the Bodrog river, which has played an important part in Hungarian history. Since the founding of the Reformed College in the 16th C Calvinist teaching has flourished.HistoryThe area around Sárospatak was already populated at the time of the Magyar acquisition. Up until the end of the 14th C the town belonged to the crown, then it was the property of _the Pálóczi family and from 1526 Prince Péter Perényi. During the Thirties and Forties of the 16th C he extended the castle, built a town wall and founded a school which was to become the Re-formed College.In 1616 the Rákóczi, a Transylvanian royal house, inherited Sáros-patak as the dowry of Susanna Lórántffy, and be- came masters of the castle and town. The castle, which was extended in Renaissance style, became their favorite residence.In the 17th and 18th C resistance against the rule of the Habsburgs was continually flaring up in Sárospatak. Among those who met in the castle were supporters of the Wesselényi conspiracy. Ferenc II Rákóczi, the instigator of the Hungarian struggle for independence (known as the Kuruzzen uprising), made the town his headquarters and in 1708 made the castle into the state parliament. He fled abroad from here in 1710, a year before the end of the uprising.Sárospatak went to the Habsburgs who installed various noble families as lords of the castle.The town of Sárospatak is a popular tourist destination and an important cultural centre.
Kádár Kata utca
The tree-lined Kádár Kata utca was once the main axis of the walled town joining the castle with the parish church. After leaving the castle the visitor should stop at the Trinity monastery on the left hand side of the road. A hotel (Borostyán) now stands behind its historic walls, which still retains much of the atmosphere of the monastery with its basic furnishings.As well as the historical buildings there are interesting examples of modern Hungarian architecture to be seen in this provincial town, such as the residential and commercial center in the Rákóczi utca. This unconventional building, composed of individual cubes, with its unusual sloping windows and hood-like roofs, looks like a collection of goblins - a welcome contrast to the miserable prefabricated buildings left by socialism which fill in the gaps between historic buildings in many of Hungary's towns. The architect Ervin Nagy is a pupil of Imre Makovecz, who designed the neighboring cultural center (Muvelodési köspont) in the Eötvös utca.Makovecz belongs to the founders of a new "school of architecture" in Hungary for whom, with all their different representatives, the main concern is the human aspect of building and living. This is characterized in their preference for natural materials and organic shapes, which are partly reminiscent of anthroposophic architecture, and blend in with the surroundings. Traditional Hungarian styles and types of buildings which have long been forgotten provide the inspiration for these architects.
Rákóczi Castle is an impressive structure with large defensive walls. The six story Red Tower is the oldest portion of the castle and contains a room known as the Great Palace, with notable Renaissance decoration.
The parish church of the "Immaculate Conception", which originally joined directly on to the north town wall, at the northern end of the Kádár Kata utca, was built as a Gothic basilica and rebuilt at the close of the 15th C as a triple-naved church. Of interest are the tombstones in the north nave and the Baroque high altar with the representation of the Immaculate Conception in the altarpiece. To the south of the church the foundations of a round chapel from the 11th C, possibly that of a royal residence, can be seen. The modern bronze sculpture on the square in front of the parish church is the work of the Hungarian sculptor Imre Varga in memory of St Elisabeth (1207-31), later married to the Landgrave of Thuringia, daughter of the Árpád King Andreas II.
Outside of the medieval town, on the Rákóczi út, stands the building of the Reformed College built between 1806-22, now a school. This 16th C educational institution begun by Prince Péter Perényi developed in the 17th C through the engagement of Zsuzsanna Lórántffy, wife of the Transylvanian Prince György Rákóczi, to become one of the leading Calvinist colleges in Hungary. From 1650 to 1654 the humanist and pedagogue Johann Amos Comenius from Moravia (1592 to 1670) was a professor at the college. The jewel of the classical building is the two-story library with a gallery designed by Mihály Pollack. The library contains over 2000 manuscripts and 200,000 books (guided tours only booked at the tourist office). A 7ha (42 acres) park with beautiful old trees, assorted flora and sculptures by the patrons and famous scholars surrounds the college. The two-story Late Baroque building in the courtyard (1771/72) houses a small museum which displays the scientific collection of the Reformed College and documents the life and works of Johann Amos Comenius, together with craft exhibits.
Map of Sarospatak Attractions