Miskolc Tourist Attractions
After Budapest, Miskolc is the major industrial center and second largest town in Hungary. It lies in the eastern foothills of the Bükk Mountains, a region with charming countryside and ample tourist facilities, making it one of Hungary's favorite holiday areas.
The provincial town center of Miskolc at the foot of Mount Avas is surrounded by rather mundane suburbs and industrial estates which sprang up in the post-war years. Miskolc's main attractions are Diósgyor Castle in the district of the same name, and the holiday resorts of Miskolctapolca in the south and Lillafüred - the "Gateway to the Bükk Mountains" - in the east of the town.HistoryIn the caves of the Bükk Mountains outside Miskolc skeletons of Ice Age man were found, some of the oldest of such remains to be found anywhere in Europe. Scythians also settled here some 2000-3000 years ago. A Magyar tribe known as the Bors (hence the regional name of Borsod) occupied the Miskolc region in the 9th C. Protected by Diósygor Castle the settlement developed during the Middle Ages into a small town, which was plundered by the Turks in 1544 and then burned to the ground. After capturing Eger Castle in 1596 the Turks occupied the town for almost one hundred years, until 1687. Like many another north Hungarian town, Miskolc supported the fight for liberation from the Habsburgs (Ferenc Rákóczi had his headquarters in Miskolc for part of the time)and paid for this in 1706 when Austrian troops burned it down once more, from which it took years to recover.From the late 18th C the rich iron deposits in the Bükk Mountains were processed in the countryside around Miskolc, and by the end of the 19th C there were already some industrial firms operating here. When the surrounding suburbs, Diósgyor in particular, were incorporated into the town Miskolc became an industrial conurbation of some 130 concerns.EconomyOnce just a trading town, Miskolc has developed since the 19th C, and in the post-war years, into a major center of heavy industry with giant steelworks, iron foundries and machine tool factories. A number of large electrical firms and paper factories have also set up here. The Technical University of Heavy Industry, which provides training for skilled and management staff, has been sited in Miskolc since 1949.
Széchenyi utca enters Városház tér, where the carefully restored buildings bring an historical sparkle to this industrial town. Standing proudly on the right is the 1727 Regional Office, renovated in Classical style, a long building with two main storys and a mezzanine floor. Horizontal moldings serve to break it up horizontally and counteract the effect of the four Ionic columns above the entrance which unite the two upper floors.The building of the Regional Office is rivaled by the two-story Baroque Town Hall directly opposite. Other noteworthy buildings include Szeremley House (No. 5) and Almássy Palace (No. 13). The grape-pattern relief above the entrance to the house at No. 20 indicates that a Greek merchant once lived here.
This busy shopping street, now pedestrianized, is the traditional center of Miskolc. The street is dominated mainly by 19th C buildings, interspersed with a number of pretty Baroque houses and quite a few attractive new buildings.
The visitor's attention is drawn especially to the distinguished National Theatre building, the entrance to which is on the narrow side in Széchenyi utca. The country's first theater once stood here, but it was burned down in 1843 and then replaced by the present Classical building.
With the Kossuth Memorial in its center and the inviting park benches, Szabadság tér is a particularly pretty square.
Ottó Herman Museum
The Ottó Herman Museum is housed in the Baroque buildings on the corner of Szabadság tér and Papszer utca (No. 1), on the banks of the Szinva. Ottó Herman, after whom the museum is named, was a native of Miskolc and was responsible for discovering the first prehistoric remains in the caves of the Bükk Mountains. In addition to the local archaeological finds the museum's comprehensive exhibits include a collection of weapons, historical costumes, furniture and ceramics as well as items of folk-lore and local history.
Miskolc Reformed Church
The walk to Mount Avas southwest of the town center takes the visitor past the Reformed Church on the northern slopes of Kis Avas (Little Avas). Founded in the 13th C, it is the oldest building in Miskolc. Following renovation in 1470-90 it was given the form of a three-storied Gothic church with an ambulatory in the choir. Destroyed by fire, it was rebuilt between 1560 and 1569 as the Church of the Reformed Congregation; the Gothic columns were encased and the vaulted ceiling replaced by a wooden one. The Renaissance pews in the choir were probably brought here from the chapel of Diósgyor Castle. A particular feature of the church is the separate bell-tower (1557) with its stocky, stone base, wooden gallery and pointed, shingle-covered helm roof.Behind the church lies a pretty and picturesque cemetery with many old graves and weathered gravestones.
There are large numbers of old cellars going down 10-20m (33-66ft) (in one case as deep as 100m (330ft) into Mount Avas, the local mountain, which stands 243m (800ft) high. A fine panoramic view can be enjoyed from the viewing tower on the mountain peak.
The Diósgyor Castle was built in the 14th C and based on the design of southern Italian castles. It became the residence of queens for a time but was all but destroyed in the late 17th C.
By way of Széchenyi utca, past the National Theatre and then through Déryné utca, the visitor will come to the Baroque church on Hosök tér (Heroes' Square). It is the work of the Italian architect Giovanni Battista Carlone (1682-1747), whose studio was in Eger. The church was built between 1729 and 1734; two towers flank the gable end with a figure of the Virgin Mary in the center and statues of saints on either side. Frescos showing scenes from Mary's life adorn the interior.
Greek Orthodox Church
Near the Minorite Church, on the corner of Deák tér, stands this beautiful church (Görögkeleti templom), built in the 18th C plait style in 1785-88. It possesses a valuable 16m (52ft) high iconostasis with a copy of the Black Madonna of Kashan in the center, a gift from the Russian Czarina Catherine II.
Map of Miskolc Attractions