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Earth : Europe : Central Europe : Hungary : Transdanubia : Székesfehérvár
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Székesfehérvár is the largest city and county seat of Fejér county, Hungary. Located roughly 60km southwest of Budapest, the city is considered Hungary's first, as this was the royal seat of King Szent István (also known as Saint Stephan). Though most of the medieval city was destroyed by the Turks, it was rebuilt to glory under Maria Theresa Habsburg. The city is also located in between Lake Velence and Lake Balaton, making it an ideal stop-off between the two.

Get in[edit]

By train[edit]

Bishop's Palace on Városháza square

There are very frequent rail services from Budapest. First, there is an hourly commuter train service (labelled személy) to Székesfehérvár, stopping at almost every station (although, between Kelenföld and Érd felsö it only stops in Budatétény) and taking 80 minutes to arrive. Second, there is an hourly intercity rail service (labelled gyors and NOT InterCity) running to Szombathely and Nagykanizsa alternately, stopping only at Kelenföld on its way and taking 65 minutes to arrive.

All trains depart from the Budapest-Déli station and to not serve the Nyugati and Keleti stations. Check the most recent timetable at MÁV's website [1].

By bus[edit]

Direct connections from Budapest depart from the Népliget bus station. The journey takes roughly an hour and fifteen minutes. Prices are exactly the same for the bus and for the train. The only advantage then to taking a bus instead of the train would be that the city bus station is located exactly in the downtown.

By car[edit]

The M7 runs just south of Székesfehérvár and is the fastest way to arrive. From the exit merge onto 63 which will eventually take you into Piac sqaure.

By taxi[edit]

Since the city is 60km out of Budapest this is by far the most expensive option. If, however, you are arriving at Ferihegy and are going directly to Székesfehérvár, Zona Taxi [2] offers a fixed rate of 20000 Hungarian forint.

Get around[edit]

Train station in Székesfehérvár

The train station is roughly 1km south of the town center and can easily be walked. Alba Volán [3] also runs frequent bus connections to the town center. One last option is to use City Taxi, at +36-22-311-111.

If arriving by bus the modern bus station is located just south of Piac square and only a short walk around the corner to the old town center.

If you are going to Bory's Castle you will need to travel either by car or bus. From the bus station take bus #26 or #26A and from the train station #32. Make sure to tell the bus driver you're going to Bory Vár because none of the buses will take you directly there and you won't know otherwise when to get off.

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Historic Buildings[edit]

Szent Anna Cathedral
  • Bishops Palace this large pile dominates Városház square and is one of Hungary's most important Zopf style buildings. The palace was constructed in 1800-1801 from ruins of the former cathedral in the Ruin Garden.
  • Szent István Cathedral on Arany János utca was originally built in 1235 by King Béla IV, who was later crowned there. Most of what you see today, however, was from after 1777, when the cathedral became the episcopal seat. The interior is baroque in style and the towers were begun at the beginning of the 19th century.
  • Szent Anna Cathedral directly next to the Szent István Cathedral on Arany János utca, Szent Anna's is one of the few medeival buildings left untouched by the Turks. The church was constructed in 1470 in a Gothic style.

Szent István Király Múzeum[edit]

The main city museum is the King St. Stephen Museum, which runs several different branches and exhibitions throughout the city. Prices for each exhibition are fixed at 500 ft for adults and 250 ft for students.

Facsmile of Szent István's tomb
  • Középkori Romkert (Medieval Ruin Garden) [4] is a national memorial located on Koronázó tér, just east of the main square. In the middle ages this was the site of Hungary's most important church and had it not been for the Turks blowing it up, it would be to Hungary what Westminster Abbey is to England. The church was begun in 1016 under Hungary's first Christian king, Szent István. At the time, Székesfehérvár was the capital of the kingdom, and this church was the site of numerous coronations. In addition, from 1038 to 1543 fifteen Hungarian kings were put to eternal rest here (starting with Szent István himself and ending with Szapolyai János). As already mentioned, the church was destroyed by the Turks in 1601 and in 1800 the remains were used to build the Bishops Palace on nearby Városház square. Today all that remains of the once great basilica are stone walls outlining its form. The big draw, however, is to visit the mausoleum containing Szent István's sarchaphogus. This was discovered in 1803 during the building of the Bishop's Palace. The cherubic forms on the outside and royal relics contained within clearly identified this as the tomb of Szent István. The sarchaphogus originally was taken to the National Museum in Budapest, but was brought back to Székesfehérvár in 1936, and since then has remained in the attractive mausoleum at the entrance of the garden. Photography is not allowed in the mausoleum.
  • Régészeti Kiállítás [5]
  • Új Magyar Képtár [6]
  • Csók István Képtár [7]
  • Budenz Ház [8]
  • Fekete Sas Patika Múzeum [9]
  • Schaár Erzsébet Gyújtemény [10]
  • Babaház (Doll Museum) [11] on Megyeház u. 17 has 63 dollhouse displays spread out over seven rooms. The collection contains dolls and dollhouses as old as from the 17th century up to the 20th. The fine details are sure to keep adults just as interested as little girls, and for the boys there's even a large display of old military toys set up defending a castle. Photography is not allowed in the museum.
Rác utca museum village
  • Palotavárosi Skanzen [12] located on Rác utca 11, slight west of the downtown, is nowhere near as large as other museum villages in Hungary (though the whole street is preserved, only number 11 can visited), nevertheless it does an excellent job of preserving day to day life of Sebian immigrants living on Rác street (Rác is the old Hungarian word for Serb). The first section contains the family room and kitchen (make sure to look straight up at the darkened chimney where they used to dry sausage). The next section preserves the family's hat shop, and the final section contains various mementos from the street's former residents. Photography is not allowed in the museum.

Outside of Center[edit]

Bory's castle in suburban Székesfehérvár

Bory Castle [13] is the town's most popular attraction. Located in an Eastern residential area the castle (really more of a mansion) is the work of Hungarian sculptor and architect Jenő Bory. The castle was built from 1923 to 1959 by several of Bory's students under his supervision. Today the castle contains a wide range of architectural styles ranging from Scottish, Romanesque, and Gothic. Most of the complex is completely open to visitors, and you can freely climb the towers, or walk through the gardens and among the sculptures--all originals by Bory. Inside are several galleries featuring paintings, also created by Bory. Closed during winter

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