The sights of Kaposvár
Kaposvár, the seat of Somogy county, with 70.000 inhabitants, and the Hungarian State are of the same age. It was built on seven hills, cuddeled of Zselic
's downhills and river Kapos. This city has a special atmosphere, in which sensibly the past, the present and the future live together: the relic of the ancestry, the attendance of the past, the development of the present and the future's grandiose projects. The most important: it can be seen in every part of it, that local people realy like living here.
Let's start the walk on the main square of the city, on the Kossuth tér (Kossuth square). Especially downtown, -particulary since the traffic was forbidden in the Fő utca (Main street) in 1987- it has a real peaceful parade feeling and determinate the atmosphere of the chief town of Somogy. The center of Kaposvár was built in the second half of the 19th century and in the first decades of the 20th century. Its buldings have eclectic style or bear the mark of the secessionist.
The main square was renewed in 2003. This special atmosphereic group of buildings deserved a "frame" of cobblestones, fancy candelabrums, benches and specially the fountain-composition that goes across the square, offers imposing spectacle and determinates the square's aspect. The sculpture of the square's denominator, Lajos Kossuth, made in 1911 by the work of the sculptor, János Kopits, stands in the central of the square besides the flower beds. Kossuth always hold in high respect in Kaposvár; he was elected to the city's member of parliament in 1869 and the freeman of the city in 1889.
The most imposing building of the square is the Nagyboldogasszony Cathedral. A little wooden church had stood in its place in 1702, but eventually, because of its condition, the weather-beaten building was pulled down. The second one was built in the middle of 18th century, but soon turned out to be small in comparison to the growing number of inhabitants. The present neo-romanesque building was constructed in September of 1886. It's oldest statue is the Madonna's one, from the baroque ages, but also famous masters worked on the altar on the stoops, made from marble from Carrara and on the statues and the colorful glass windows of the cathedral. Szent István's fountain on the south side, made by Jenő Bory, deserves particular attention, just as the rococo styled Mária oszlop (Maria column) besides the main entrance and the statue of Nepomuki Szent János at the front side of the cathedral, which is the second oldest statue of the town (it was carved after the patron of the residents in 1742). There are four bells in the cathedral's tower. The heaviest of them is 1434 kgs (3170 lbs) and was named after Nagyboldogasszony.
Near the cathedral, there is a classicist building of the parish, which one was built in the same time as the church.
At one time, the main square of the city took pride in two famous hotels. The Hotel Erzsébet was built in 1901 on the southwest part of the square, but it was not only functioned as a hotel, but it was also the home of The Sales Tax Office and the Police Station. Its curiosity is the fancy corner tower, with Zsolnay-pottery and it is funnily called the mountain fastness by the locals referring to its shape.
Elder days, opposite side of the cathedral - after the restaurant Pityók and the Fekete Sas - the Hotel Korona stood. It was owned by the Eszterházy family and it was reconstructed in 1912. Today, only some old photographies give evidence about the beautiful, secessionist syled, two-storied building. In its place, the Hotel Kapos welcomes the guest with its different style from 1960.
In the place of today's Városháza (Town-hall), there was a small building in the middle of the 19th century, called Fogadó a Bárányhoz restaurant. Besides it, a simple building, the first Városháza (Town-hall) was built. After it prooved to be too small to run the city's more and more complicated affairs, in the place of these two, the present secessionist styled, imposing building was made in 1902-1903, based on the plan of György Kopeczek and Róbert Kertész. It is worth to visit the decorative, waiscoted big assembly room, where two large sized paintings can be seen, illustrated Deák and Kossuth, painted by Béla Bacskay. In the assembly hall not only general meetings have been hold, but also weddings and prestigious actions.
The Kossuth tér's (Kossuth square) kind dash of colour is the Stone of Monument of Twinning Association, what helps to find out their direction and distance. Here, you can also find a weather forecast-cottage got made by The Association Of Beautifying Kaposvár in 1913.
The oldest building at the main square is a simply beautiful one, with a label on it "Haza Kis Polgárainak" (For the little citizens of the country). It was always active as a school. In the 18th century, there was a tiny, wooden elementary school, then in 1832, the two-storied school was completed. It had been dormitory, vocational high school, now it's one of the flank of the Catholic primary and high school.
Before continue walking, you can have a rest at the café's terrace of Csokonai Fogadó (Restaurant Csokonai) - the writer was inspired of a ball, organized in this building, to write Dorottya's epic in the summer of 1798 - or on the terrace of Stühmer's café. It is worth to see, its defense facilities. As a matter of curiosity, the first "Edison's projector" was functioning here in 1928.
Extraordinary imposing the neo-renaissance styled building of Kemény-Palota (Kemény- palace). In olden times it is functioned as a music school, giving home for the music likers of Kaposvár, now the office of Tourinform-Kaposvár can be found here, providing among others, informations about the city and its surroundings.
On the walking street every building has its own story and they are all special. Under Fő utca 10. (Main street) the later county hall can be found. It was built in baroque style in 1760, but it had been made over and improve several times. The present classical syled building was ready in 1832. Not only the county hall meetings were hold, but also a prison could be found here. From the begining it was suitable to organize exhibitions - first, some indrustial products from World's Fair Of Milano were able to showed in 1903. Since 1983, the Somogy Megyei Múzeumok Igazgatósága (The Board Of Directors Of Museums Of Somogy County) and the Rippl-Rónai Museum are operated in the building.
Behind the Rippl-Rónai museum, walkers can relax in a nice park. Our famous painter, Rippl-Rónai's sculpture stands here made by Ferenc Medgyesi. The north side of the park is blocked by the building of "Somogy Megyei Levéltár" (Archives Of Somogy County). Watching those thick walls , there is no wonder it was used - as one of the flank of the former county hall - as a prison.
Across the Rippl-Rónai Museum, an imposing square can be found with waterfountain and esplanades. At the place of the olden Latinca square, there is a little park named "Európa tér" (Europe square), which is a popular place for children. The ornament of it, is the "Napkerék" (Sunwheel) titeled, bronze, mary-go-round sculpture made by the Kaposvár-born István Bors, who was also given the Munkácsy Award.
Fő utca (Main street) 12.: another remarkable building. Before, in the 19th century only an one-storied building was stood here. A secessionist styled mansion was built in 1913, nowadays known as Anker ház (Anker house) - named after Anker Insurance Company. Its front decorated with beehive, symbolizing seduous gathering and saving. It was the first building with elevator in Kaposvár.
The Vaszary Képtár (Vaszary Art Gallery) can be found in the Anker ház (Anker house), where permanent up to pair collection and temporary exhibitions can be visited. The permanent exhibition of world famous photographer, Kaposvár-born Juan Gyenes can also be found here. The Lazarine Illattár (Parfumes of Lazarine) has also an unique, private collection of accessories and furnitures of groceries from the beginning of the century.
Across the Anker ház (Anker house) is not only a special place for those, who wish to heal, but also for art likers. Originally, in 1774, it was built in baroque style, then the "Arany Oroszlán" (Golden lion) pharmacy was reconstructed in romantic style, even Mihály Csokonai Vitéz visited its one-storied version, then later József Rippl-Rónai worked here as a pharmacist assistant, then as a dispensing chemist.
From the walking street, through a domed gangway, a little ground, named after Csokonai can be found. Among modern buildings and shady trees, there is the "Hősök Emlékhelye" (Memorial of Heros). It is given respect to the victims of II. World War and the revolution of 1956 by raising wooden fretworked pillars. The Kaposvár-born, martyr prime minister, Imre Nagy's sculpture also can be seen here (by Ivan Paulkovics, 1996).
Next to this little park, many outstanding insitutes taken places, like the new Megyeháza (County hall) since 1983, the modern and renewed building of Megyei és Városi Könyvtár (Library of the City and the County) and the Együd Árpád Általános Művelődési Központ (Árpád Együd General Community Center).
Getting closer to the end of walking street, you can find the Széchenyi tér (Széchenyi square), where was the secessionist styled, former Hotel Turul, which one was built in 1990. Nowadays Dorottya Üzletház (Dorottya business house) is closing the imposing line of buildings of Fő utca (Main street).
However, the "promenade" is over here, but it is worth to continue walking until the building of Fő utca 77. (Main street), where the martyr prime minister of Hungarian Revolution of 1956, Imre Nagy was born. There is a marble tablet keeps his memory on the wall of the little house.
After walking few minutes, a special private collection can be found under Gróf Apponyi Albert utca 29. (Gróf Apponyi Albert street): József Steiner's collection of articles for personal use and ornaments made of cast iron. The decorated iron-stoves are really interesting.
On our way, leaving the walking street to the railway station, at the end of Dózsa György utca (Dózsa György street), there is the Csiky Gergely Theater, what is made Kaposvár well-known. It was made in secessionist style in 1911. At that time, it was one of the modernest and biggest theater in the country with 1400 seats. It has had a permanent acting company since 1955. It's surrounded with a nice park full of art creation and ancient trees.
Walking on the renewed Teleki utca (Teleki street), you enter Kossuth tér (Kossuth square). From here, some interesting things can be seen in each direction. South wards, on the Noszlopy utca (Noszlopy street), old platan trees and buildings brings you back in time. From them, the Szivárvány Mozi és Zeneház ( Rainbow Movietheater and Musichall) - with its decorated front and colums - is outstanding. It is used to be the movie theater of the town, made by the plan of József Lamping in secessionist style in 1928.
Walking west from the main square through the Vár utca (Vár street), you can find the place where the Fort of Kaposvár used to stand. We can only imagine it, based on paintings, because almost nothing left behind from it. Today, there is only a memorial tablet on its place.
North from the Kossuth tér (Kossuth square), next to the parish of the Chatedral, there is a romantic styled building called Zárda, consecrated in 1873. Nowadays, it gives home for the main flank of "Nagyboldogasszony" Catholic primary and high school. Not too far from here, there is a simple, one-storied house, where our world famous painter, János Vaszary was born. There is a permanent exhibition from his paintings and relics.
Under Zárda utca 27. (Zárda street), there is only a tablet gives sign, that our Kaposvár-born giant painter, József Rippl-Rónai was born here.
You can walk to Kontrássy utca (Kontrássy street) from here, to check out the Somogyi Sportmúzeum (Sport Museum of Somogy County). It was opened in 1996. The collection is a rememberance of the best sportmen, unique personalities and associations of the county, but you can also see some old sport accesories, clothes and awards.
In the Rippl-Rónai utca (Rippl-Rónai street), there is Dr. Géza Benkő's private collection, what contains more than 4000 rare minerals, primal remains and polished samples.
In the Bajcsy-Zsilinszky utca (Bajcsy-Zsilinszky street), the modern building of Kaposvári Egyetem Művészeti Kara (Art Faculty of University of Kaposvár) can be found, facing a beautiful, secessionist styled building from 1910. According to the datas, this location was bought by the members of the National Casino (established in 1838) to keep their meetings here. Today is the Clubhouse of the Műszaki és Természettudományi Egyesületek Szövetsége Megyei szervezete (Organization of Politechnic and Natural Science Association of the County).
The former Palace of Justice, today is the Somogy Megyei Bíróság (Courthouse of Somogy county) is situated next to it. It was built in 1906 in eclectic style. Looking up to the front, over the top of its high column, you can see the statue of Godness of Justitia, indicating the function of the building. If you checking it carefully, it can be noticed, that strangly her eyes are not covered as she usually is illustrated. She keeps a boadsword in her right hand and a scales in her left one.
If the walking street is the heart of Kaposvár, than the lung of it is the Berzsenyi park. It is a few hundreds of meter far from the Fő utca (Main street) and this is the biggest park in town. Not only some rare plants can be found, but a sculpture of Daniel Berzsenyi and István Németh (former mayor of Kaposvár). Also, you can see the sculpture of Angel of Freedom by Katalin Gera. It was made for the 50th anniversary of Revolution of 1956 sponsored by American-Hungarian imigrants.
Not only the center of Kaposvár has things to see. On your way to Róma-hegy (Rome-hill) - Kaposvár was built on the seven hills, just like Rome...-, you can see the city's oldest, baroque styled, wooden statue, made in 1720 , the "Gugyuló Jézus -szobor" at the corner of Csalogány utca (Csalogány street). It is worth to walk up to the chapel of Rome-hill. The original one was built in 18th century, today's one was made in 1906.
A Kaposvár-born, famous opera singer, György Grundy got built a house on Rome-hill, which later became the home of Rippl-Rónai Emlékmúzeum (Rome-Ville, Fodor József u. 35.). He rebuilt this house from baroque to ecletic style. Later, the Kaposvár-born József Rippl-Rónai, who was a world famous painter bought it in 1908. He lived and worked here until he died in 1927. Since 1978, it became a museum of the painter's accesories and works.
One of the most precious protected monument of Kaposvár and Somogy county is the remain of the roman styled Bencés Apátság (abbey) in Kaposszentjakab. First it was on the property of Győr family, later it was functioned as a church, then as a monastery and in the middle ages it was bought by the Dersffy family. Somewhen around 1550, under the Turkish occupancy, it hadn't had any resident, so it started to rot away. Following the explorations in 1960, it has been opened to the public. Nowadays you can see some wooden carved work from roman ages and some gothic styled ones. After reconstructed its remain, from 2001 it became a spot of open air theater, music nights and art camps. In its workshop, a painter Győző Somogyi's portres about Hungarian kings can be seen.
In Kaposfüred, there is a private gallery established in 1992, which could be really special for art likers. In its open-air sculputure park you can visit the sculptor, József Kling's permanent exhibition, and in its gallery some contemporary Hungarian and foreign agents of fine arts have a chance to debut.
Since Kaposvár is also wellknown as a city of students and spot of modern science, there is a campus got place at the border of the town. Besides the University of Kaposvár, there is also the center of diagnostic and onkoradiologic. Their works is highly recognized over Europe.
The ETC Lovasakadémia (Equestrian Academy) is wellknown over the border of Hungary. This center in Toponár is not only a popular place for horse-breeding and horsman-training, but also, to keep famous World- and European Championships and meetings.