In the Middle Ages, Székesfehérvár was the capital of Hungary. Today, the city still stands as one of the largest in the country, an important economy center, which attracts foreign investors like Ford and IBM. The city is also known as the Hungarian Silicon Valley.
For travelers, Székesfehérvár is an interesting stop on the way from Budapest to Lake Balaton. It has noteworthy architectural landmarks and historical monuments, as well as museums, and the oldest theater in the country, the Vörösmarty Theater. If you plan to visit Székesfehérvár, here are some of the landmarks you should not miss.
The Bory Castle is a 20th-century fantasy castle with unique architectural features, sculpture garden, studio, and art gallery. The castle was built by architect and sculptor Jenő Bory over a period of 36 years as a symbol of his eternal love for his wife, Ilona Komocsin, who was also an artist. The building is still decorated with works by Bory and Komocsin, but it also displays paintings and sculptures by other Hungarian artists. The lovely gardens that surround the castle are romantic and pleasant. Trees, bushes, green islands, fountains, and ponds make the sight lively on the terraces and in the courts. Children are welcome to visit the castle and its gardens too, and admission is free for the little ones, up to six years of age.
Palotavárosi Open Air Museum
The Serbian Quarter of Székesfehérvár is the area occupied by the Serbs who settled here during the Ottoman-Austrian wars in the 17th century. The representative architectural landmarks of this neighborhood are the 12 thatched peasant houses and the Byzantine-style church. You will find the Serbian Quarter around Rác utca. The Serbian Orthodox Church, which was built in 1772, stands out through modesty, simplicity, and small size. It features remarkable frescoes, discovered during interior restorations in the 1970s. These form the Palotavárosi Open Air Museum, a branch of the Szent István Király Múzeum, a city museum that boasts the largest anthropological and Roman stone collections in the country. It occupies the building of the former Szent István Király monastery. Opened in 1988, the Palotavárosi Open Air Museum preserves and showcases the history and ethnography of Palotaváros through objects, tools, and documents in a typical farmer’s house at Rác utca 11.
The Episcopal Palace (Püspöki palota) is one of the most important landmarks of its kind in Hungary. It was built from the stones of the former crowning church, the Virgin Mary Provostry Church in 1788 – 1801 in the Empire and Louis XVI architectural styles. Although it cannot be visited, it is noteworthy to know that it houses a the Székesfehérvár Episcopal Library with over 40 000 volumes, including Medieval codices. It is the main landmark of the Városház tér (Town Hall Square) an L-shaped space, which features several other Baroque landmarks. The City Hall itself was built somewhere between the XV and XVII centuries. Other attractions of the square are the Szent Imre Church and the Franciscan monastery, the Hiemer House, the Hermann László Music School building, the World War II Memorial, and the Turkish Fountain.
Black Eagle Pharmacy Museum
The Black Eagle Pharmacy Museum (Fekete Sas Patikamúzeum) is a branch of Szent István Király Múzeum. The oldest pharmacy in Székesfehérvár, the museum still preserves authentic Baroque furniture and equipment, offering valuable insight into the workings of a Jesuit pharmacy. The permanent exhibition deals with the history of the pharmacy, but there are also visiting exhibitions, as well as cultural and educational programs in the fields of archeology, ethnography, and fine arts.