Szeged Tourist Attractions
Szeged is the lively economic and cultural center of the southern lowland plain, capital of the Csongrád region and with around 180,000 inhabitants the fourth largest town in the country.
Important food and textile industries have been established here. Both the Biological Research Institute in Újszeged and the university enjoy international recognition. The biochemist and Nobel prize winner Albert von Szent-Györgyi who succeeded in isolating ascorbic acid (vitamin C) in 1928 taught here for a while.HistorySettlement in the Szeged region dates back to the Stone Age. Since the time of the Romans a trading center has existed here for the salt deliveries from Transylvania. First officially documented in 1138 when it was already an important trading center it was fortified with a castle in 1241 by King Béla IV after the devastating Mongol attack. Following the conquest by the Turks (1543) Szeged enjoyed the status of a Khas town, directly under the command of the sultan. On the extensive grazing land around the town, cattle rearing became another important branch of the economy. Owing to its involvement in the Rákóczi uprising the town was plundered and destroyed at the beginning of the 18th C by the Habsburg troops. By 1787 the number of citizens in Szeged had reached 21,519. The economic upturn brought about by industrialization did not take off until the beginning of the next century. Large parts of the town were destroyed by devastating floods in 1879, about 5500 houses collapsed and 60,000 people were made homeless. When the waters of the Tisza retreated, only 256 houses were left standing. Reconstruction of the city, which was planned and carried out within a few years, was made possible by the generous financial support of various European countries; Szeged's middle ring road is named after the capitals of these countries in recognition of their help - Bécs (Vienna), London, Párisz (Paris), Brüsszel (Brussels), Moszkvai (Moscow) and Róma (Rome). Trade and transport no longer play a key role in Szeged; in the 20th C it has developed into an important industrial center for food production (Szeged salami) and into an administrative center and university town.Following the flood damage of 1879 the center of Szeged was rebuilt on the model of large European cities: extensive green areas, wide arterial roads together with an inner and outer ring road make up the structure of the inner city. The provincial development gave way to high elegant houses or whole complexes built in the historicist style or the latest art nouveau, of which numerous fine examples have been preserved.
The finest art nouveau building in the town is the Palais Reök, built by the local Szeged architect Ede Magyar in 1906/07 for the water engineer Reök. This recently renovated building combines the superior elements of French and Hungarian art nouveau and its serene elegance is captivating. There are other fine examples of art nouveau houses (mostly residential and commercial properties) from around 1900 in the vicinity of the Palais Reök.
St Demetrius Tower
This tower is of particular significance because it was the only medieval historical monument to survive the catastrophic floods of 1879. The lower, square part of the tower originates from the period when the first Demetrius church was built in the 12th C, the octagonal part of the tower was a 13th C addition. The tower, incorporated into a new building, only came to light in the 18th C with the redesigning of the cathedral square when the ruins of the Baroque cathedral were cleared. It was restored and rebuilt as a baptistery to a design by Béla Rerrich. In the tympanum of the porch a Romanesque relief (12th C) of the Agnus Dei was transferred from a church in the neighboring village of Kiskundorozsma, now incorporated into Szeged. The interior of the chapel is decorated with paintings with historical themes by Vilmos Aba-Novák (1894-1941).In 1935 the Szeged watchmaker Ferenc Csúri completed the clock for the cathedral square. On the hour figures of well known statesmen, writers, former rectors and deacons of the university appear to the sounds of a tuneful melody.
North of Roosevelt tér by the Tisza the castle garden (Várkert) stands on the site of the castle built in 1246. After the floods the remaining walls of the castle were dismantled because they did not fit in with the new concept of the town. Only a square bastion remains. Since the restoration a museum and a lapidarium have been built using building material from the earlier castle. In the southeast corner of the castle garden there is a monument to Elisabeth ("Sissy"), Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary, hewn from Carrara marble.
Lower Town Church
An important medieval edifice has been preserved south of the town center on Mátyás tér in the lower town (Alsóváros). The Franciscans, who had lived in Szeged since 1444, built a church in 1490 on the foundations of a Romanesque church. It is thought to have been completed in 1503. The nave of this hall church is spanned by magnificent fan vaulting or star vaulting (choir), comparable with the Reformed Church in Nyírbátor. Further remains of this Late Gothic building are the pointed arch windows between the delicate buttresses.After the Turks had left the town again, the interior of the church was decorated in Baroque style (around 1720) and a Baroque tower was added. The pulpit and the ornately carved high altar with figures in the choir, by the Franciscan monk Antal Graff, originate from this period.
The new synagogue, a Secessionist building from 1900-03, was the largest church in Szeged until the Votive Church was built. The domed interior is superbly decorated: the 24 tambour pillars symbolize the hours in the day, the blossom of the hawthorn, faith and the stars of the universe. The dome is crowned by a star of David circled by rays of light.
Szeged Botanical Gardens
In the Füvészkert district on the left bank of the Tisza, the Szeged Botanical Gardens (Füvéskert), laid down in 1922, cover an area of 17ha (42 acres). Alongside various species of deciduous trees, shrubs and about 70 types of pine tree, there are 1500 species of tropical plants and numerous types of roses. In the ponds white waterlilies and Indian lotus flowers blossom.
The famous Viennese architects Fellner and Helmer were commissioned to build the new theater in 1883, a magnificent building with a Neo-Baroque façade. The semi-circular entrance side is on Dócza utca.
The Belvárosi híd (Old Bridge) in the extension of the Híd utca leads to the Újszeged district on the left bank of the Tisza. North of the bridge on the flood plain is the swimming pool (Partfürdo) with a thermal water pool and sports pool.
Map of Szeged Attractions