Sumeg Tourist Attractions
The picturesque little town of Sümeg, dominated by the castle on the hill, is about 20km (12mi.) north of western Lake Balaton in the southern part of the Little Plain, in a basin bordered by the Keszthely Mountains and the western foothills of the Bakony Forest. It is best known for the frescos by Franz Anton Maulbertsch in the parish church, the first and most important work of this painter in Hungary.HistoryFlints on the Mogyorós-domb provide evidence of a settlement here 6000 years ago; the foundations of an early Christian basilica date from the Roman period. A castle was built in the second half of the 13th C and in 1301 Sümeg was officially documented. When Veszprém was taken by the Turks in 1552 the diocesan seat moved from there to Sümeg for 200 years creating in the small town the atmosphere of a royal residence which can still be noticed today; particularly attractive are the groups of houses in Kossuth utca, on Szent István tér and Udvarbíró tér.
The mid 18th C Parish Church of the Ascension is most significant for its interior, particularly the incredible Austrian Late Baroque painting by Franz Anton Maulbertsch.
A paved path leads from the Franciscan church to an imposing, extensive ruined castle on the 260m (853ft) high hill above Sümeg. In the 16th C the castle was the property of the bishops of Veszprém, who extended it in 1552 with Renaissance Italian-style bastions against the Turks, who were unable to take it. At the beginning of the 18th C it was an important military base of the Rákóczi rebels resulting in its being set on fire and blown up by the imperial troops in 1713. Some parts were reconstructed after 1959 including a residential tower in the south of the courtyard (castle museum). Above the inner castle entrance is the coat of arms of the Veszprém Bishop Vetési (2nd half 15th C). From the castle hill there are wonderful views of the surrounding area.
The Baroque buildings of the Ferences kolostor (Franciscan convent) were built between 1652 and 1657 on the initiative of the Bishop of Veszprém György Széchenyi; they were inspired by the discovery of a wooden relief of the PietÖ in the ruins of a castle church, which the bishop had copied and today stands above the altar. Martin Athanasius Witwer, a Carmelite monk, led the restoration of the church in 1720 (passion chapel near the tower with splendid wrought-iron gates). The impressive altar (1743) was designed by Witwer and made by Franz Richter. The 17th C convent adjoins the church.
This beautiful bishop's palace was rebuilt from a Renaissance house in 1748-55 by Bishop Marton Padányi Bíró. Its front has a balcony over the doorway supported by Atlantis and decorated with garlands, over the balcony is the bishop's coat of arms on the central ressaut. To the right of the door is the chapel with decoration by Antonio Orsatti and frescos by Gregor Vogl (about 1750).
Saddle and Harness Museum
Below the castle (Váralja utca) in the former bishop's stables from the mid-18th C is a museum illustrating the development of saddles and bridles (Lószerszám múzeum). Breeding stallions are also kept here; behind the museum is a riding arena and horse-drawn coach trips are also available.
Lake Balaton was the main theme of the lyric poet Sándor Kisfaludy (1772-1844). The house (a few yards from the Franciscan church), where he lived and worked, is a museum dedicated to his memory.