Travel News

Capital of Culture: How to spend an artsy weekend in Veszprem, Hungary

Capital of Culture: How to spend an artsy weekend in Veszprem, Hungary

Veszprém in Hungary is a city of many names. It’s known as the City of Queens because the queens of Hungary were once crowned here; it’s called The City of Winds and Bells after the old saying “In Veszprém, either the wind blows or the bells ring”; In 2019, it was awarded the title of Unesco City of Music. And, this year, it’s adding yet another moniker to its collection. For 2023, Veszprém has been dubbed one of three European Capitals of Culture, and it’s going all out to live up to its new handle by offering visitors a year of events, festivals and exhibitions.

Just an hour and a half’s train ride or drive from better-known Budapest, the city of Veszprém orbits the hilltop Castle District, with its crookedly cobbled streets and pastel-painted buildings.

The history of this area is a chequered one. Its eponymous castle was built in the 10th century but, following years of attempted sieges and sackings, it was eventually razed to the ground. Similar fates befell other proud structures over the centuries, like Hungary’s first cathedral, St Michael’s, and the private royal Gisela Chapel, but these buildings have been reconstructed over the years and are now icons of the uphill area.

Art on the frescoed walls of the Dubniczay Palace

(VEB 2023)

A new wave of renovation works by The Archdiocese of Veszprém means that visitors won’t be able to enter St Michael’s and a few neighbouring buildings until later in 2023, but there’s still enough to see in the Castle District to see you through a lazy-paced day.

Highlights include the commanding Heroes’ Gate archway, which commemorates the heroes of the Hungarian revolutions and the World Wars, and the adjacent lookout spot that serves up 180-degree views of northeast Veszprém, with its scatter of Alpine-style homes, steepled churches, leafy green spaces, and the snaking Sed river.

The Tűztorony tower is another must-see. Visit this former fire watch tower on the hour to hear it chime out a piece of verbunk music by Veszprém composer Antal Csermák. Originating in the 18th century, verbunk is a style of music that was played during military recruitment sessions to encourage sign-ups before the introduction of conscription. The city of Veszprém has played a key role in cataloguing and keeping the memory of this music style alive, contributing to the city being…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at The Independent Travel…