Quaint Hungarian Villge along the River Raba

Gyor Travel Blog

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Among the experiences that I enjoy most; walking in dramatic nature alone, a quiet beach, castles or any fortifications , anything Baroque or Byzantine, local arts and crafts, good wine, I enjoy the discovery of small towns/villages that had great importance long ago. This day and the next, I would enjoy two such villages, a bit forgotten today but of great importance in the past and with all the greatness one would expect. They are hidden jewels and they are my favorite kinds.

Gyor, Magyar (Hungary) is one such jewel. It’s only a 90 minute train ride from Wien Meidling train station. Gyor is spoken “Djer” but, with a soft d and barely pronouncing the r…..got it.

Ok, so, for most of us it’s not so easy.

I was lucky that as I crossed the Danube plain, the clouds lessened and the sun was providing some much needed light and warmth. I hoped it would hold out and provide me with a lovely day.

Gyor sits halfway between Vienna and Budapest and is the second richest city in Hungary in regards to historic buildings. It has even won European awards for protection of it’s historic buildings, reconstruction of it’s Baroque center, and restoration of it’s unique churches, palaces, museums, and corner balconies. Gyor was officially founded in the year 1000, even though it has been inhabited since much earlier.

Upon exiting the train station, the palace like town hall is more palace like than government issue. What a good start.

I headed up the pedestrian only Baross Gabor Utca to reach the Becsikapu ter (square). The is a beautiful square anchored by the Carmelite Church and a miracle working statue of Mary, housed within. It is said that she prevented flooding by the adjacent River Raba, in the 18th century. The square is colorful and lined with fine examples of the towns well preserved architectural history.

The Carmelite church was completed in 1725, only 28 years after the Carmelites settled in Gyor.

The bridge spanning the River Raba afforded me a wonderful view of the Bishop’s Castle and Episcopal Palace. Traces of Roman origins have been found in the foundation of the castle. Its oldest parts are the lower section of the tower castle, the so-called runaway corridor dating from the XIV.

century, as well as the adjacent cross-vaulted hall. The chapel built by bishop Orbán Dóczy in 1481 - 1486, fitted to the eastern corner of the castle tower is a rare example of the multi-level castle chapels. The castle changed hands to the commanders of the castle after the Mohács Disaster (1526). Continuous fortifications were carried out on it, due to the Turkish threat. The largest rebuilding took place by Italian, Pietro Ferrabosco between 1561 and 1575. The Turks occupied the castle in September 1594 and was rescued and went back to Hungarian hands four years later in March 1598. The restoration of the building was taken on by bishop Ferenc Zichy (1743-1783) who also extended the building to its present form. The latest renewal of the castle and the palace was completed at 1984.

It was such a nice day that I extended my walk along the opposite side of the river. I sat on one of the many benches and enjoyed the sun and the view. There were a few small boats with people fishing and even a guy in a kayak enjoying the warm weather.

I returned to the other side and continued along the surviving bastions and the Medieval Stonework.

At the top of the path, Kaptalandomb (Chapter Hill) is crowned by the town’s basilica. Saint Stephen established the Gyõr Episcopate in the first decade of his reign (1000-1009). The foundation of the Gyõr Basilica was also laid down during this time. There is documentation, during the 11th century that describes a three-nave church with raised sanctuary.

The first towers were built during 1257-1267. Bishop János Héderváry built a gothic chapel at the end of the 14th century on the southern part of the church, where now you can find the herm of Saint Ladislaus. The baroque renewal of the church interior was made during (1743-1783). It’s designs were made by Menyhért Hefele, while the frescoes and a part of the altar-pieces were painted by Franz Anton Maulbertsch and his pupils. The frescoes are very dark but, give the feeling of richness and elegance. The Blessed Virgin-picture decorating the altar of the northern side nave made the church one of the most significant pilgrimage sites in Hungary. For the fortification of the tower, Jakab Handler built a neo-classic facade on the western side in 1823. At the beginning of the 20th century it was given basilica-type roof and was equipped with neo-Romanesque details.
The Basilica was restored between 1968 and 1972. This little church has an amazing history. It isn’t just your average church to be found in just any small town, it was important and you can feel it.

Continuing around the corner of the church and through the maze of narrow streets, you pass many little shops that line the way. There are a few shops that make local goods as I found. I bought a painted egg with local designs and a small herbal sachet with the town’s crest on it.

The town center (Szechenyi ter) is typical, which is to say that it is spectacular. It is surrounded by eye-like attic windows of the surrounding buildings. During the Middle Ages it was used as the city’s marketplace. The Jesuit Church of St. Ignatius Loyola (1630) is of Italian design and it’s Baroque spires dominate the view.

The city museum is across the square housed in a building with the eye within a pyramid in the gable of the roof….interesting.

As my time was waning, I headed in the general direction of the train station. I stopped in a little shop and picked up a bottle of Hungarian Riesling to bring back. It cost 369 Hungarian forints which is equal to about 1.30 euro or $1.70. What a find.

It started to spit rain as I approached Gyor’s train station and upon exiting the tunnel to get to the track, it stated to rain, very hard! Then all of a sudden, pea sized hail fell from the sky and covered the ground in a blanket of white. As suddenly as it came, it went.

On the train-ride back, I saw an amazing sight. As far as the eye could see, windmills, windmills, windmills. It was a wind farm. I have seen many of these across Europe but, this was extreme and very cool.

Rob and I stayed in for dinner. I had a potato risotto with a spinach basket with egg on top……mmm good.

 

 

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Gyor
photo by: delsol67