Photographer's Note

View to the Castle Hill, Veszprém – The Roman Catholic cathedral of St Michael & The Franciscan Church

Veszprém with 59,000 inhabitants lies in the central Transdanubian region, at the meeting-point of the Bakony Hills and the Balaton Uplands.
The history of the city goes back to the Hungarian settlement of the country in the ninth century, when Veszprém belonged to the estate of the ruling family; it became the City of Queens thanks to Giselle, the consort of Hungary´s first king, St. Stephen and in 1001 it grew to be one of the most significant centres of the Catholic Church as the bishop´s seat. Historic documents mention St. Michael´s Cathedral, situated in the castle surrounded by wonderfully preserved baroque buildings, as the first and oldest cathedral in the country. The Catholic Church has remained a vital force in the life of Veszprém as our city has been an archbishopric since 1993.
Veszprém is known for a vivid cultural life throughout the year. Three theatres and a whole series of festivals provide entertainment to inhabitants and visitors alike all year round. Besides the cultural events and the historic sights you can find here the Kittenberger Kálmán Botanical Garden and Zoo Park of well-deserved European fame.
The castle was built in the 10th-11th centuries on one of the seven hills of Veszprém. The castle district later gained a Baroque character. Most sights, including excellent lookouts and important cultural venues, are clustered here.

Castle Hill

The encircling wall that embraces Castle Hill is almost the only remaining testament to the former fortress. There are, however, an abundance of historic buildings here in the castle district. Giselle, the first Hungarian queen consort, established Hungary's oldest cathedral. That building was destroyed but its Romanesque-style foundations and Gothic sanctuary and undercroft were integrated into the neo-Romanesque St Michael's Church. The chapel named after Giselle is a famous work from the Árpád Age architectural era and has a Gothic mural.

Roman Catholic cathedral of St Michael, Szent Mihály (on the left side)

The building which has 11th-century Romanesque origins was extended with a Gothic sanctuary and undercroft in the late 14th century. The current form of this church consecrated to St Michael is neo-Romanesque.
It is here where the statue of Giselle was placed, a gift of the Bavarian city of Passau. Under the statue the relics of the forearm bone of Blessed Giselle, also a gift of Passau, can be seen. The first Hungarian queen consort was from Bavaria. Under the elevated sanctuary there is an old undercroft where the grave of Bishop Peter Beriszló, also a famous general in the fight against the Turkish, can be visited. The sarcophagus of the great bishop Martin Padányi Bíró is located in a burial vault to the side.
Defining the castle and the cityscape, the original cathedral was commissioned by the state-founding King St Stephen I and his wife Giselle. The only thing we know for sure about the original church is its ground plan in 1572. Using the original plans, Count Imre Esterházy had the church rebuilt in a Baroque style. The count had the following Latin inscription made into the western facade, Devotion beautified me from ruins - a chronostichon, meaning the added numeric value of the inscription's Latin characters indicates the year of construction. Bishop Károly Hornig had this building reconstructed between 1907 and 1910 under the direction of Sándor Aigner, drawing on its original Romanesque form. This is how the Romanesque-style cathedral came into existence within the Baroque castle. The original stones were built into the church walls and the Gothic nature of the sanctuary was retained.

Franciscan Church, Ferencesek temploma (on the right side)

The first Franciscan monks arrived in Veszprem at the beginning of the 1680s. Their first sanctuary, a small house and chapel built on the site where the today's church and monastery stand, burnt down along with the whole Castle.
The building works of the new monastery started in 1722 whereas the next year the monks began to build a church as well. The monastery was enlarged by another storey and was connected to the church. Italian pictures decorate the walls of the refectory since more than 200 years.
The significance of the church is that the poet and monk Pal Anyos was buried in its crypt.

Photo Information
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Additional Photos by George Rumpler (Budapestman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 8900 W: 3 N: 20435] (82620)
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