Walk under the Castle

Walk under the Castle

Starting from Szabadság Square the steep Buhim Street leads us to one of the oldest districts of the town, to Buhim Valley with the medieval district, Sárszeg.

Most of our walk leads along Séd Brook - decisive in the town's history up to the beginning of the last century due to its mills and the fact that it provided the necessary water for crafts such as tannage. The brook itself looked more like a stream up to the 1930s and although it is hard to imagine on this now slowly babbling brook boating was possible below the Castle. Apart from the name Séd, in medieval documents it is frequently referred to as Sárvíz (Mudwater). This might be the origin of the contemporary name given to the disctrict, Sárszeg (Mud Hill).
Turning left at the small square at the end of Buhim Street we get to Ferenc Deák Street with the medieval Ostrom lépcső (Siege Stairs) leading up to Óváros Square. As we walk down the street we can see a mixture of the past and present. Recently, the district below the Castle has increasingly become the favourite neighbourhood of wealthy citizens and although the shabby, dilapidated houses are being renovated there are still neglected houses belonging to the poor people who had been settled here in the Socialist era. The housing estate built in Ferenc Deák Street whose crowded appearance inevitably reminds us of the Middle Ages adds a new colour to the palette.

Let us cross the small bridge at the end of the street and turn left: there we can catch sight of one of the oldest mills of the town - now a restaurant - dating back to the medieval period. This mill already appears on an etching of 1593 depicting the Turkish siege. Baroque gates line the nearby small square with separate entrances for gates and pedestrians.

The small bridge spanning over Séd Brook next to Úrkúti mill might attracts us but we should rather continue our walk on the left bank, along Úrkúti Promenade under the shady willow trees on the east side of Castle Hill. The locals call this romantic, intimate path Love Island. Originally, until the 1970s - when the mill-lead was buried - it was really an island. Those who walk along it once probably understand why the inhabitants associate this part of the town with love. The eastern side of the Castle can be seen among the foliage of the weeping willows above the gravel-path; all parts of the Castle are visible which are normally hidden by the heavy buildings inside the Castle. Apart from the thousand-eyed back of the former Piarist Grammar School and the huge back balcony of the Archbishop's Palace dominates the sight with the church-towers rising towards the sky like needles.

Crossing the bridge at the end of the path let us walk along Tobak Street, below the grassy and flowery rocks of Benedict Hill until we reach the next bridge. There the brook winds next to and below the rocks, almost completely undermining the hill. If we turn left at the end of Tobak Street we reach Margit Square with other ruins from the Árpád period. The Margaret ruins date back to the 13th century, the period of King Béla IV. Margaret, the later canonized daughter of our second state-founding king spent her childhood in this nunnery. St. Catherne's Nunnery was founded in 1239-40 but was completely destroyed in the Turkish period. Today only the walls of the church remain to be seen and the buildings themselves are under the grass-covered area by the ruins. Let us continue our walk on St. Catherine's Hill of the medieval town by the western slope of Benedict's Hill!

Crossing another bridge over Séd Brook we get to Kollégium Street. The recently fully renovated late Baroque building at the beginning of the street used to be a tanner's workshop. Looking up at the castle we can admire the statues of Stephen and Gisella, Körmendy House and the Seminary. At the end of the narrow Kollégium Street we can find Patak Square, Veszprém's medieval marketplace and toll-gate. To the right Jókai Street takes us to the zoo or the town centre, the stairs below the castle take us up to Benedict Hill. In the evenings the stairs are illuminated, creating a twilight atmosphere around the sometimes frightening rocks of the castle.

If we turn left at the top of the stairs we get to Benedict Hill. Standing next to the cross at the far end of the hill, we can see a breath-taking view. Strange though it might sound the Turkish troops stationed here used the hill as a cemetery in the 16-17th centuries. If we look at the town from here we can see the castle to the south, the arch of the Valley Bridge and St. Ladislas' Church to the east, the dark range of the Bakony Mountains to the north and the housing estates of the 20th century Veszprém to the west. Walking back from the hill and climbing up the stairs Vár Street will lead us back to the starting point of our walk, to Szabadság Square.