Szeged Things to Do

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Best Rated Things to Do in Szeged

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    Pick salami museum

    by GillianMcLaughlin Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    At the butcher's block

    This museum takes you through a voyage of discovery, covering the family background of Mark Pick, the process of butchering and the actual stages of production of salami. We discover, amongst other things that, until around 10 years ago, Picks produced pork salami, and also a Kosher variety made from beef. The beef production halted in the 1990’s because of fears about mad cow disease. Today only the pork version is produced.

    When the factory-owners decided to open this exhibition, they sent out calls to former employees and associates, seeking exhibits. The result is a wonderful photographic exhibition, enhanced by life-size models dressed in authentic costumes and demonstrating how various pieces of equipment were used. What was stunning about the whole exhibition was that, unlike similar museums, no attempt had been made to portray life-like models, rather they were faceless wooden pegdolls with character etched on them through the addition of moustaches, glasses etc. For me this meant that the whole experience was tasteful rather than cheesy, and presented with a certain sense of style.

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    The powerful and destructive River Tisza

    by GillianMcLaughlin Written Apr 28, 2004

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    The river still floods today!

    The River Tisza, which cuts right through the centre of Szeged, has played a significant role in the establishment of early settlements that developed over the centuries into the city that we see today. On March 12th 1879 it played a devastating role in the city’s history. That was the date of the Great Flood, a date of such significance for the people of the city that they speak about it to new arrivals as if it was common knowledge. I had to probe quite a bit to get the details.

    I come from a town whose river floods on quite a regular basis. In the case of Dumfries, the floods happen when there is a high tide coupled with winter thaw in the hills, or with heavy rainfall. It is a gentle rising of the water. On the night of the great Flood in Szeged, there was no such delicate and steady rising of the water. A veritable tidal wave washed over the city, destroying the old city entirely, leaving many thousands of townspeople homeless and taking over 160 lives.

    It is a credit to the people of Szeged that they took this catastrophe head-on, and set about rebuilding and restoring the city. Planners were brought in to remodel the city to some degree, and from above it bears some resemblance to the layout of Paris. The city received significant aid from other European capitals, and the major donors are remembered today in the boulevard that acts as a ring road round the old city: stretches of this road are named after Moscow, Brussels, Berlin, Rome, Paris and London. A monument was erected in 1979.

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    One of Hungary's most impressive cathedrals

    by GillianMcLaughlin Updated Apr 29, 2004

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    Szeged cathedral and Demetrius tower

    The twin towers of Szeged Cathedral dominate the city's skyline. They rise elegantly above the old town. In Europe we get accustomed to churches and cathedrals representing decades, even centuries of work by devoted (or enslaved) master craftsmen. Up close there seems nothing unusual about this Cathedral: certainly it seems more modern than your average central European cathedral, but I was quite taken aback to discover that a building of such beauty and elegance was the product of 20th century builders!

    After the great flood, the local politicians vowed to build a votive church on this site. Work commenced in 1913, but ground to a rapid halt with the outbreak of World War One. The builders picked up their hammers and hods again in 1923 and the work was completed in 1930. It is an astonishing achievement.

    Inside the decor is a true reflection of the artistic eras through which this cathedral has lived. I am not a fan of most church art (unless of course Michelangelo or Leonardo had something to do with it), but the richness and opulence of the decoration inside are really quite spectacular. Completed with the help of artists over a number of decades, one can discern the evolution from art nouveau, through deco to more modern styles. Some panels also surprise: there are two bands for example that contain very attractive representations of the signs of the zodiac (artistic representations as well as the constellations). A must see by anyone's standards.

    Just in front of the main entrance (which is rarely used) you will find the remains of the 11th century Demetrius Tower, the oldest monument in Szeged.Its lower levels betray the Roman-style origins, and further up 13th century early Gothic features come to the fore.

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  • GillianMcLaughlin's Profile Photo

    An incredible interior and a spooky crucifix

    by GillianMcLaughlin Updated Apr 29, 2004

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    Crucifix - still life or self portrait?

    One evening, the party I was with were treated to an evening of music and lecture in the Cathedral. Many features of the interior artwork and installations were pointed out to us (but not the odd ones I had spotted, like the zodiac signs mentioned above). In the way of these things much of the considerable detailed information whooshed elegantly over my head as dates and numbers of bricks blended into details about the lives of artists.

    Two details that did manage to lodge in my brain however are worth passing on to the casual armchair traveller. The organ (which we heard during the concert part of the evening) is HUGE... and I mean GINORMOUS. I am not an expert on these things, but even I was impressed. It is in fact Europe's third largest church organ. I am reliably informed that it has 9,040 pipes ranging in size from 1.5cm to 5m. That sounds pretty impressive to me!

    The other fascinating installation that was drawn to our attention is the crucifix you'll find in the photo. It was sculpted by Janos Fadrusz, who pledged it to the city to be hung in the, at the time, non-existent Votive Church. We were told that Janos had difficulty in finding a model willing to hang himself, scantilly-clothed for long enough for the work to be completed. So, not to be daunted, he arranged for himself to be bound to a wooden cross and for a photographer to take shots from all round. These photos were used as the basis of the sculpture, and therefore the face of Jesus is none other than the face of the artist himself.

    A rather strange self-portrait methinks!

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    Cathedral Square - arcades and art

    by GillianMcLaughlin Written Apr 29, 2004

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    Arcades round Cathedral Square

    The cathedral and Demetrius Tower are set at one end of a huge square that, at 12,000 square metres is exactly the same size as St Mark's in Venice. Round the edge there is a gallery cum arcade designed very much to echo the feel of cloisters. The walls of this gallery are decorated with bas relief of Hungary's greatest artists, writers, thinkers, scientists etc...

    Once a year, the square is host to a major international arts festival which draws crowds from all over the country and beyond. The stage is set up in front of the cathedral and the photos I have seen of performances are very impressive indeed. The performances are classic theatre, opera and orchestra.

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    Cathedral Square Arcades - most colourful plaque

    by GillianMcLaughlin Written Apr 29, 2004

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    Vitoz Janos

    Most of the artwork decorating the arcades round Cathedral square is relatively dull in form. One or two pieces stand out however.

    This one depicts Vitos Janos, one-time archbishop of Esztergom. I wins my prize for the most colourful contribution to the square!

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  • GillianMcLaughlin's Profile Photo

    Cathedral Square Arcades - most enigmatic plaque

    by GillianMcLaughlin Written Apr 29, 2004

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    Scary monsters and super creeps!

    Since the 87 plaques are unequivocally stated to be great Hungarian figures of literature, arts, science etc, I found it hard to work out just what this fella was doing there. He certainly hadn't eaten much in the months leading up to this portrait, and I do hope that the sittings for the sculpture weren't too painful for him.

    Any suggestions gratefully received!

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  • GillianMcLaughlin's Profile Photo

    Stunning squares - Klauzál Square

    by GillianMcLaughlin Updated Apr 29, 2004

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    Klauz��l Square

    Upon arrival in my hotel, I immediately asked for a map. The nethusiastic receptionist gave me a 6th generation photocopy and made sure I did not leave the premises without being completely sure where the pedestrian street was! She in fact was the first of a number of locals that refered to the pedestrianised area of the city as a sight in itself. That afternoon it was certainly pleasant to stroll in the sunshine away from the noise of the traffic, and it was only later, when I realised that pedestrianisation was only completed in 2001 that I fully understood why the locals wanted this area of the old town to be appreciated by visitors.

    There are really only two pedestrian streets, lined with the usual range of high-street shops and banks. However they intersect near a most beautiful square, which is clearly a focal point for locals.

    The Klauz?l square was named after G?bor Klauz?l (1804-1866), who lived in one of the houses of the square. He was a minister of agriculture, industry and trade. Today his square serves as meeting place, hang-out and general hub of activity for locals. It is lined with pleasant cafes and mysterious doorways leading to hidden courtyards.

    The statue in the centre commemorates Lajos Kossuth who made a famous speech there during the 1848-49 revolution.

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    Pick salami factory

    by GillianMcLaughlin Updated May 1, 2004

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    Pick salami factory in orange!

    As you pass through Budapest airport and spend time people-watching while wondering when your plane will take off, and wishing you’d kept a bit of cash for a beer, you will doubtless envy those travellers wandering around, buying trinkets and cheap drink, and carrying them off in those tell-tale duty free plastic bags.

    Now look more closely: that colourful advertisement on one side of the bag is for none other than Szeged’s own Pick Salami factory, founded in 1869 by Mark Pick. Now, wouldn’t you really kick yourself if you realised that you had the opportunity to visit that factory during an easy day-trip from Budapest to Szeged, and learn all you’ve ever wanted to know about salami production through the ages, and specifically the prize-winning Pick’s salami?

    Picks factory still operates today from its processing and package site on the bank of the Tisza. It does stand out a bit amongst the sedate architecture of the old city of Szeged, sporting as it does, a couple of bright orange towers. But heck, I was told that the situation was perfect as the level and type of humidity found there enhances the quality of the salami.

    They welcome visitors by prior arrangement (have your hotel call on your behalf) and inside there are two charming and informative museum rooms, one dedicated to the history of the salami factory and the other to the production of the wonderful, spicy Hungarian paprika. Read on, I’ll show you a little more.

    You can take a tour in English or German and an information leaflet is available in these two languages.

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    Get to know your salami

    by GillianMcLaughlin Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    1935 certificate from the Universal exhibition

    Pick’s salami are prize-winning. One of the most stylish exhibits (curiously hidden under a butcher’s block, is this great certificate awarded in the 1935 universal fair in 1935. I just love that art deco style!

    The website for the factory is a true tribute to the art of the salami. Amongst other things you can consult a host of suggestions about what you can do with your Pick’s spicy salami. Now do lift your mind from the gutter. I meant that they offer 5 tasty recipes:
    Peasant's salad
    Salami Salad with Mayonnaise
    Sausage salad with green beans
    Ham salad
    Spicy pork cutlet roast a la PICK

    A bit out of your depth on all things salami? Fear not. The website also offers you every opportunity to know your spicy from your large festive.

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    Pick's paprika museum

    by GillianMcLaughlin Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Stringing up paprika

    I have long appreciated the rich and spicy flavour of Hungarian paprika, and on this trip I had the chance to find out all about its production. Just a short walk upstairs from the Pick salami factory we are taken through the laborious process of producing some of the finest paprika in the world.

    This museum has been put together with all the care and attention of its downstairs neighbour, and I once more was entranced by the photographs that provided the backbone to the exhibition. Once more the exhibits had been carefully collected and restored to their former glory, and the same life-sized pegdolls used to display authentic costumes and activities.

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    Szeged, the shoping center of ex Yu during 1980's

    by KonstantinII Updated Mar 4, 2004

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    Hagstrom - swiss made! ;o)

    Memory is unperfect!

    I was a young boy and my parents took me to Szeged to by me a good quality acordion (because it was cheeper there).
    BTW I had to learn to play it...

    But then at the age of 15 I got smatr and bought me a GUITAR and started ROCKING.

    So, it's not realy a sad story about Szeged after all.
    ;o)

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    Tisza

    by HappyCaretta Written Aug 30, 2006

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    River Tisza is one of the most important symbols of Szeged.It originates from Eastern Carpatian mountains where the two branches ( white tisza and black tisza) are united.It gives the city its beauty according to me. You can take a boat tour along the river, or just walk by the shore,watch fishermen , even taste their fish speciality dishes.

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    The Reök Palace

    by HappyCaretta Written Aug 30, 2006

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    1 more image

    At the corner of Tisza Lajos krt.and Kölcsey utca ,stands the Reök Palace.It ' a typical sample of hungarian architecture, which they call ' Hungarian Jugendstill'.In Szeged, the citizens call this building ' The Horse's Rump' cuz it 's behind an equestrian hussar statue,one of the heroes of First World War.

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    The City Hall

    by HappyCaretta Written Aug 30, 2006

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    The neo-baroque style City Hall is among the eclectic palaces, Szeceny Square.It's foundation was laid down in late 18. century. The City Hall is connected with the ' Bridge of Sighs' to the neighboring council house, which was constructed for the King's day .When King visited the city , the bridge constructed not to divide the King and his companions in two buildings. So it creates an easy access. I think when passing by ,it's worth stopping for a while to see and learn its story.

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