Discover the City of Queens
Like Rome – as several locals remind me during my visit – Veszprém is set across seven hills. The most famous of these is Castle Hill, where the streets are unevenly cobbled, and the buildings are confectionary coloured.
The history books opened on this area in the Bronze Age, when there was a fortified chiefdom seat on the hill. However, the buildings you can see today have timelines that can be traced back to either the eighteenth century or the tenth and thirteenth centuries – when Veszprém became known as The City of Queens, due to being the place where the queens of Hungary were crowned. The Castle District is currently undergoing a major renovation, so some of the buildings and exhibitions are currently closed, but there’s still plenty to see.
An initial recce of the area will introduce you to Heroes Gate, a sturdy archway that commemorates all those who played a role in the Hungarian revolutions and the world wars, and the former Fire Tower, which plays a piece of music by Veszprem composer Antal Csermák on the hour, every hour.
There are also several time-sapping lookout points in the castle area. The one behind Heroes Gate serves up 180-degree views of northeast Veszprém, with its many timber-framed houses, and the green area known as Veszprém’s Cloisters and Gardens.
From the cross-topped Benedict Hill viewing area, just behind Veszprém Cathedral, meanwhile, you can look out across the Sed river valley to the Bakony mountains in the distance.