I don`t know why, but in Hungary, constructing triumphal arches was never trendy. In fact, this is the one and only arch in the whole country. Created in classical style by the same Isidore Canevale, the architect of the Dom, on request of the bishop, Migazzi, in honour of Maria Teresa. In 1764 the queen visited Hungary and the inhabitants of Vác wanted to prepare her a surprise. The queen was suspicious: she thought that it was a trap, the arch was full of explosives and the vácians wanted to kill her. That is why she didn`t pass through it. This was a big disappointment for the inhabitants. Years after, the queen visited Vác once again and saw that the arch was still intact. This time she passed through it with the ovations of the vácians.
Vác in this moment doesen`t have any Danube bridge, but this will maybe change within some years. This is why the only was to get to the other part of the river is taking the ferry, as long as you do not prefer swimming>:-) In reality you can only see the half (maybe a little more) of the Danube, because the other side (Tahitótfalu) is the Szentendre island. The ferry departs in every 30 minutes. On this link you can find the schedules:
When I studied in Vác I went here, to the shore of the Danube very often, because the atmosphere is simply unique! Here you can enjoy the real Danube, not like in Budapest where the Danube shore is stupidly separated by streets and cars from the city. This promenade is quite long and from the Fransiscan church you can walk until the famous (si fa per dire) Jail, with no cars with no pollution without pesky noices.
Canavale Isidore in 1762 used the funds created by Pilgram one year before, in 1761 to the construction of his less spectacular, classical style Dom. He prefered the new french revolutional style and in 10 years, until 1772 with the help of Gáspár Oswald, architect of the Big Church in Kecskemét, the church was ready and could be consacrated. The internal decoration lasted until 1777. In 1944 the Dom was hit by a soviet bomb wich didn`t explode. This was a real miracle, like in the case of the Saint Stephen`s Basilica in Budapest (see my Budapest page). István Takács immortalized this prodigy by painting a fresco in the side nave.
Beneath the main square you can find an exposition about the past of this old city. Here you can see models of the medieval Vác, drawings, images from the excavations, the funds of the medieval cathedral destroyed during the turkish wars and a charming skeleton as well>;-) Under the square there are lot of other medieval cellars because those weren`t destroyed by the wars, even though only some of them can be visited.
It was Károly Eszterházy the bishop of Vác to built this simple, outside classical but inside late baroque cathedral. In that period the city was divided by a wall. In one part lived the hungarians, while in the other part the germans. Eszterházy decided to pull down the wall and in this place was constructed the Konstantin square wich we can see even today. It was the famous austrian Franz Anton Pilgram to make the plans for the construction of the new cathedral. His plans (a baroque very ornated church with two high towers wich would have been connected to the episcopal Palace with a columnade) were never realized though. In fact, Eszterházy went away from Vác. and the new bishop, Kristóf Migazzi didn`t want to spend so much money on the construction. he invited the italian Isidore Canavale to make the new plans.....
The White church is the most famous church in Vác. It recieved it`s name from the dominican monks who wore allways a typical white cloth. In reality this church was until the past year yellow. I think that it was repainted to symbolize better it`s name. Altough the construction of this church began in 1699, it was finished only in 1755. In 1995 in the crypt of this church the archeologists found something fantastic...!
Watching the Danube from the Promenade is just fantastic! You can sit down everywhere on the rocks to enjoy this unparaleled view. One of my favourite photos I`ve ever taken is the main pic of this tip. Well, isn`t it relaxing?:)
The interior of the church is surprisingly luminous for a cathedral, even when the lights arent swiched on.
The Choir is supported by big corinthian columns, and in the whole nave we find numerous corinthian haf-columns. Here you can find the huge baroque organ wich is famous for it`s exellent sound.
In the Dom, also thanks to it`s great accoustics, there are lots of concerts in each part of the year.
Although the facades of the church aren`t fancy, the rococo decorations of the only nave of this church made between 1760 and 1770, after the consacration of hte church, are splendid, just see the pictures.
In1995 when the renovation of the church started, in the crypt in a room walled up for more than 200 years the archeologists found 268 completly intact coffins, with baroque decorations. In these coffins 268 mummies were lying with their personal jewels and even the clothes remained intact during these centuries. The vácians used the crypt between 1731 and the 1780`s, but the crypt was walled up only in 1831.
You can see this bizarre mummie-exposition underneath the main square in a medieval cellar.
The construction of the Franciscan church wich you can find at the Géza square began in 1721 and finished in 1761, when the city started to built the Dom. Like a typical franciscan church, not even this one has towers at the frontal facade, you can find the only tower at the other part of the church. At the end of the XVII. century Vác and it`s castle was destroyed by the wars. The fransiscan church and monastic quarters were built on the ruins of the old castle, and also with the utilization of the stones of the previous. If we watch it from the Danube, we can clearly notice that one part of the old castle is incorporated in the church.
This chapel with the hospital in wich is located was built in copf style between 1775 and 1785. With it`s internal this chapel gives another example of the baroque-classical art that flourished in Vác in the XVIII.century.
The square in the communist times was transformed and lots of cars passed through. Than, thanks also to the generous help of the European Union, in 2005 began the excavations(see in another tip) and in 2006 the square was completly reconstructed. Sincerly when I saw the plans, I had many doubts, like all Vác, but when in october 2006 I went to the inauguration of the old-new main square, I was quite happy with the results. The main square has become an ideal place for meetings and eatings:) (yes, there are some good restaurants here,see f.ex. my restaurant tip) and to enjoy the lovely baroque atmosphere.
Since the middle ages, the 15 March square (recieved it`s name only in the XX.century after the revolution in 1848-49 wich started on the 15 of march) is the main square of Vác. On the square we find fine baroque buildings, like the hospital of the clement order, the White church with the moncal quarters of the dominicans, the greek church, the former Kúria hotel, the Palace of the provostry, the Museum of the vácian diocese and of course the Municipal house. Furthermore we see here buildings constructed in copf, classical, eclectic and romantical style until the 1870`s.
In reality this church isn`t a Dom even if everybody calls it this way. At the entrance we can see an abbreviation, D.O.M, wich means „Deo Optimo Maximo” and this is why we call it Dom.
The internal part, in wich 5000 people can enter has the following parameters: 60 meters long, 28 meters wide and 50 meters tall. The church was consacrated to Mary and the altar, work of the world famous austrian painter, Franz Anton Maulbertsch, painted in 1774, represents the visitatio, the scene when Mary meets saint Elisabeth. Beneath the cathedral we find the crypt (unfortunately I couldn`t enter to make photos) in wich important ecclesialistical and laical persons are burried.