Fo Ter Square is the heart of Sopron's old town. The fire tower (Fo Ter) which gives the square its name is currently undergoing renovation so is surrounded in scaffolding. The square also contains several lovely buildings; some of which are museums. There is also a holy trinity statue and Goat Church. Goat Church was supposedly funded by a goatherd whose goats uncovered buried treasure. We did not go inside the church; I think it is now a museum.There were lots of restaurants, cafes and bars. The town hall was also on this square. A very pleasant spot for a meal or a seat in the sun.
Fo Ter is the main part of the old town, but there are many lovely streets leading off it, such as Saint George's Street. The streets are lined with colourful old buildings and often lead to lovely wide open squares. There are several fountains, churches and a synagogue.
Near Fo Ter you can see some excavated Roman remains. They are of several buildings and streets that were part of Sopron's Roman forum. You can look down over the site and there are several notice boards around indicating what you are looking at. Quite interesting and worth a look.
This square, in the centre of the city, hosts some very beautiful buildings as well as some other things such as
- The Mary's Column (main pic).
- Firewatch Tower and City Hall (second pic).
- Gambrinus House (third pic).
- Goat Church (fourth pic).
Firewatch Tower is the symbol of Sopron. Go upstairs and enjoy the special view of the city. Inside the tower you will find a small exhibition about its history. Entrance fee 700 HUF. You can get a souvenir from the entrance, by pressing a 2 HUF coin and getting an elongated coin with a face of Sopron. The cost will be 200HUF plus the coin you will get.
This area of western Hungary was a Roman province and during the reign of Tiberius 14-37, they founded a city called Scrabantia. Sopron eventually grew from the remains of Scrabantia and around the central area of the old town you can see plenty of evidence of this. The area near the present main square of Sopron was where the forum of Scrabantia stood and in the photo you can see some of the remains of this forum as well as the old walls.
Around here is one of the most delightful aspects of the old town. From these forum remains and all around the back of the fire tower are little walks, nooks and crannies with remnants of the city walls, trees now sprouting out of their crumbling remains.
Around here I saw a sign which said 'Promendade' and gave opening hours. I walked under the arch and followed a little path behind the city walls and ended up at a restaurant called 'Promenade' -mystery explained ! It was an excellent promenade though , one which I wish had gone on for a longer distance.
Three other streets in the old town that I explored in some detail were : Koloster utca (Klostergasse); Templom utca ( Kirchgasse) and Uj utca (Neuegasse). Koloster utca was one of the first streets I walked through in the old town and even though a lot of the buildings were shabby and in bad shape, it had some of the best examples of typical Sopron domestic architecture, such as the first-floor overhanging square bay windows and the large decorative pillars surrounding some ground floor windows.
Templom utca runs all the way to Szechnyi ter, where I eventually discovered the Tourist Office in the Liszt Ferenc Conference and Culture Centre. All the way down this street I explored courtyards and secret gardens which I have desribed in the 'general tips' section.
Uj utca ( New Street ) runs parallel with Georgesstrasse and is in fact one of the oldest streets in town. Again it's almost all houses here, except for no.22 which is one of the medieval synagogues that used to serve the large Jewish community which lived in this part of town. There were Jews in Sopron since the 13th century but after the Expulsion of 1526 and ultimately World War 2, they became virtually extinct.
Originally a Fransciscan monastery stood on this spot and it's church, in the 18th century,eventually passed to the Benedictines.This is a fine example of Hungarian Gothic architecture, apparently one of the finest in all of Hungary. It's called the 'Goat Church' because of some fanciful legend concerning a goatherd and a pot of gold (oops, maybe I'm getting this a little confused with leperachauns but I'm Irish so please excuse me ). It's a huge church and as you can see in the photo the exterior is really impressive. I looked forward eagerly to exploring the interior but when I got inside everything was covered with scaffolding and the decorative features swathed with protective drapes.
The statue of the HolyTrinity is yet another plague monument, so common from this time in history.
It dates from the baroque period and was constructed between 1695 -1700.The artist is not known but records tell us that it was sponsored by Lowenburg Jakob and his wife in gratitude for escaping the plague. It's quite an impressive piece of work, with a large solid base adorned with many statues and an unusual plaited central column, interwoven with strings of flowers and angels. At the very top are the statues of the HolyTrinity who give the monument its name. Benches are placed on all sides of the base giving a perfect option for resting tired bones and observing life on the square.
Georges Strasse leads you directly to Fo ter at the centre of the old town. This is a large irregularly shaped space with the fire tower that gives it its name looming behind, the city hall on one side, the Goat Church on the other and finally and most attractively, a series of elaborate baroque mansions like Storno House and Fabricius House. Several of these houses are museums, notably the great yellow one on the corner which houses the Storno Collection that includes some Franz Liszt memorabilia. The plaque on the wall outside reminds us tha Liszt played two concerts here, in 1840 and 1881.
Next door is the Fabricius House where remains of a Roman bath were discovered in the basement. Both of these houses serve refreshments and you can enjoy a beer or even a pizza at one of the tables outside. Every side of Fo ter is intersesting and for one square it has the most incredible variety of architectural styles. It's a great place to spend some time in and is definitely the livliest spot in the old town.
Leaving Orsaly ter I have a choice of two streets and opt for St George's Street. Noticeable here immediately is the bright yellow /mustard coloured house at the top of the street and then looking backwards towards Hatskapu, the blue and white striped Cesar House. ( Pic of Caesar house is the large one on my intro page ). A steady hum of conversation drifts out the open windows here from people enjoying a lunchtime drink but later I discover that this is also home to a collection of paintings by Josef Horvath, who painted locally and was known for the quality of his aquarelles. The Cesar House is a great building, wonderfully decorated and there's absolutely no chance that you could walk by and not notice it. Further down this street is the baroque church of St George, white with rust-coloured trim, so newly decorated that spatters of rusty-red paint still sprinkle the steps.
This medium-sized platz is at the southern end of the Belvaros ( old town ) and the one you will come to first if you enter from Szechyni ter. The Ursuline Order founded a church and a school here and most of the activity on the square is related to these two buildings. Teenagers sashay through the doors of the school and a group of younger children pose for a picture on the steps of the church. The church is small enough inside with some lovely ribbed vaulting on the ceiling , but the octagonal tower on top is 32 m high. Just inside the door is a poster with a circle of children's portraits round a chalice and a host. A First Communion group obviously and I'm pretty sure, the same bunch of kids I just saw on the steps with their teacher. In the centre of the square is a Maria statue , originally from another church, but here now since 1930.
As you can see from the photo, this is an exceptionally lovely little square; elegant, understated and exceptionally peaceful despite the occasional comings and goings of children. I eat my lunch here and wonder what it would be like to live in Sopron. The main photo shows the church and the school, photo 2, the otherside of the square and photo 3, the group of children I mentioned.
Sopron is situated near the western borders of Hungary. The inhabitants of the city are famed for their hospitality and loyalty to their hometown. This is also symbolized by the 'Gate of Faith', which can be found on the southern side of the Firewatch Tower, the symbol of the city, and which was made in memory of the referendum of 1921.
From the firewatch tower you get a great view over all of Sopron, and the town's principle monument, built after the great fire in Sopron is an interesting example of the history of the town. It has Roman foundations, and the base dates from the 12th century or so. The column and balcony date from the 16th century and the spire from the 17th century. Finally the so-called "Fidelity Gate" was installed in 1922 to commemorate Sopron's reverting back to Hungary, revising the decision that had been made at the Treaty of Trianon.
This is one of Sopron`s shopping malls. Inside, you`ll find anything which helps you to become or to remain beautiful; there are 3 beauty parlours, a hairdresser, a dental clinic; you can get a massage or a tatoo- everything. You pay for all these treatments a much lower price than in Austria, especially in Vienna.
Some examples: a new haircut for women EUR 15-18 (Vienna: EUR 50 at least), facial EUR 15-24 (Vienna: EUR 35-90), manicure EUR 6.
Please leave your husbands and boyfriends at home if possible; I suppose it`s really depressing for all these guys sitting in the café in the shopping mall and waiting for hours, observing all these women getting a new haircut or wrong nails.