Who wouldn’t want to become immortal? (Even if you don’t, continue reading!) According to medical research, aging is nothing else, but a disease which can be cured with the right treatment. 150 years ago, they approached the question of immortality from a completely different aspect.
Many things can be said about István Bató, but there is one fact that’s tue without a doubt, he really loved his children.
His youngest daughter passed away at the age of 5, from then on the fate of his oldest daughter, Eszter became the most important. The intelligent entrepreneur gained more and more wealth, and in turn more control. He couldn’t only financially support his remaining daughter, but the chosen husband also provided a guarantee of proper social standing. Everything was on track.
Then 1865 came around. Everyone had different opinions about the death of Eszter. There were those who said that her heart broke from the sadness, as she couldn’t love her much older husband. According to others, on a cold, rainy night, after a fight with her husband, she ran to her family’s home, but her father didn’t let her in, because a wife needs to be her husband no matter the circumstances. And the pneumonia she got from this took Eszter.
Such an elemental confrontation with immortality scared Mr. Bató. From then on, he used his tremendous wealth to create an everlasting memory for his family, and go on the road to immortality.
He poured out the largest bell of Miskolc, according to the legends by melting his daughter’s jewellery (the Eszter-bell is the largest bell in the city to this day). Istán Bató kept Eszter’s room undisturbed, with the only exception, that it can only be visited once a year. He built an unopenable family crypt, which must remind people of the Bató name until the end of time.
Well, in the 21st century it seems István Bató achieved his plan. The Eszter-bell is ranged on the 13th of May every year, reminding us of the death of Eszter Bató. Eszter’s room is still held in its original form at the Reformed church office. And the tomb outlived two of its famous coevals. One of the most famous people of Miskolc is winning against the battle of oblivion.
Where is the beautiful world gone?
There aren’t only special people among the largest city of Northern-Hungary. The location itself is also unique.
This city has a unique charm since ancient times due to its location at the eastern part of the Bükk Mountains, at the valley of Szinva and Hejő streams, as well as river Sajó.
It’s not exaggarating to say since ancient times, as this is Hungary’s oldest inhabited area, people already have lived here 70,000 years ago.
In the medieval times it became a major trading city, in which its location of connecting different areas played an important role. King Louis I raised its rank to market town in 1365, however in 1544 the by-then well developed city was burnt down by the Turkish, then in 1706, during Rákóczi’s War of Independence the Austrians did the same.
For the sake of diversity, in 1878 a huge flood destroyed Miskolc, but after its destruction the city was beautifully reborn. While the First World War has somewhat spared the town, during the Second World War life wasn’t as merciful. Miskolc, which had become the heavy industrial center of the country was destroyed by a series of air strikes in 1944.
Its remaining role as the country’s heavy industrial center in the next decade was accompanied by the gradually growing population. After the change of regime, the gradual disappearance of heavy industries brought about opposite tendencies. From the 2000s, by developing culture and tourism, the “steel city” with its changed image once again began development.
But only this land can give you happiness or gentle death! (Hungarian song lyrics)
The promotion of tourism did not require any particular prophet skills, considering that there aren’t many cities in the country that are so well-equipped.
The Bükk, as the country’s largest height-averaged, cave filled mountain has the largest contiguous forest area in Hungary, it’s close to 100,000 hectares.
Within it, one of the prettiest, most visited areas is Miskolc-Lillafüred. This kitschy postcard theme somewhat further from the center enjoys a great popularity among tourists, not by accident.
If we want well, we will arrive by the Lillafüred Forest Train from the city, as we won’t have many chances to experience something like this. The second busiest small-train of the country takes you through novel-like forest scenery to Lillafüred. From here you can even decide which way to go by flipping a coin.
There are three caves in the area that are open for visitors: the Szent István Cave, which was “discovered” by a dog that fell here, and it has healing air for those suffering from respiratory illnesses. The Anna Cave, which is special as its cavities were not carved by water, but formed with rock. At last, the Szeleta Cave, from where they brought up a large amount of prehistoric tools made of bay leaf shaped cracked stones, together with mammoth-, lion- and hyena bones (due to the lack of human bones, it seems the animals won this round).
The best known attraction in the area is the Hunguest Hotel Palace, opened in 1930. The neo-Renaissance style hotel, right beside Lake Hámori really kickstarted the area’s tourism. The magnificent hanging gardens of the hotel is the perfect location for some intimate wandering.
The four-star hotel is near the Lillafüredi Waterfall, which has the largest vertical fall in the country. The great walking trails around the hotel are calling to explore.
The study trails surrounding the city – such as the Lillafüredi, the Oxygen Walkway, the Szinva path or the Trout study trail all provide great opportunities, to get lost in nature (in an indirect sense, of course). 🙂
Besides the healthy exercise, with the help of the information signs we learn plenty of useful things about the area that we are walking one. During the development of the study trails, they paid attention that we would have the chance to meet many of the Bükk’s features, and run into well-known and not so well-known views (once again, not literally).
I’ll leave everything behind, that Miskolc gave me*
*(The name of a famous Hungarian rock song…)
Next to the wonders of Bükk, we must not forget about Miskolc either, as the city doesn’t lack in attractions.
Right away, there is the Széchenyi István street, or as the locals call it: the Main street. It’s the most important, and one of the longest streets of the downtown of Miskolc, it’s full length is a pedestrian zone. Many of the houses surrounding the street have historical importance and/or are historic buildings.
One of these is the iconic buildings is the Pannonia Hotel, whose ancestor in the 16th was the home of Benedictine monks. The hotel opened its doors for visitors in 1894.
The Dőry-mansion is also an important part of the street. The oldest stone house of the city was the home of the Dőry family from the 17. Century, Francis II Rákóczi visited here on multiple occasions.
Today, this is where the Miskolc Gallery can be found, which besides periodic exhibitions hosts events like the Miskolc Graphic Triennial.
The Art Nouveau Weidlich Palace designed by Alfréd Hajós’s company decorates the street since 1911. This building was Miskolc’s first store, and at the time the biggest apartment in the city.
At the historical part of Miskolc, in Diósgyőr we will find one of the city’s symbolic buildings, the Diósgyőr Castle. Its predecessor might have stood here in the 12th century, the today known Gothic castle was built after the Tatar invasion. It lived its full glory during the reign of King Louis I, at this time it proudly held the largest knight hall in Europe.
In 2014 it went through a full reconstruction. Not only the ruins were conserved, but the whole building was further developed. Besides the south-west tower, this renovation was completed on two storeys. The south-west tower’s incomplete renovation wasn’t due to lack of materials either: it was damaged by lightning, and they left it as it was for the impact.
Not only did the castle got back its original form on the outside, the halls were decorated with authentic furniture. Next to the castle is the Knights Tournament Square, where they organize knights’ tournament (no, really!), horse events, sporting events, but they also host open-air theater performances and concerts too.
If we are talking about Miskolc, it would be a mistake not mentioning one of my favourite baths, the Miskolctapolca Cave Baths, which has a beneficial effect on several joint and vascular illnesses.
We only live as long, as rock music lives
What does space worth, if it isn’t used?! Well, Miskolc strives to bring the maximum in this aspect as well. There are festivals, cultural programs, sport events all year long so all that great space won’t be wasted.
The county beer fills the downtown’s largest park, People’s Garden (Népkert) every year. Besides the full product list of the Borsod Brewery, malt juices, foreign beer specialties and of course plenty of gastronomic experience await those thirsty for fun. Over 20 performers provide the rhythm to the crowd.
Those who want more serious experiences won’t be left hanging either: the yearly Bartók Plus Opera Festival made the city one of the centers of Central-European opera lifestyle. The main goal of the festival is nurturing Béla Bartók’s work, but various timeless classics are included in the repertoire.
Each year domestic and international star singers and companies entertain the lovers of the genre. Its specialty is that through the open-air performances, Miskolc becomes a part of the scenery.
One of the largest gastronomy events of the country is the Miskolci Farsang gastronomy festival and market, held at the beginning of each year. Concerts, markets and exhibitions await visitors, not even mentioning the carnival atmosphere-like parade. The focus is the food though.
We can get fresh, tasty, traditional Hungarian ingredients and dishes at the farmers’ market, at over hundreds of stalls we can eat through Hungarian and regional specialties. The exhibitors not only compete for the grace of the visitors, but with each other as well, they compare their knowledge in different categories.
Although the smelters have died down, the light is carried on by the flame of tourism and culture. Thanks to the massive change, Miskolc successfully passed life’s challenges and didn’t follow its heavy industry into the bin. It’s wonderful location and the kind love of the locals make the city and its area a destination, which can only bring unpleasant moments through its abundance.