If I could sum up Szolnok in just a few words, it would remind me that it is one of the most important crossing points of the Tisza, which lies in the middle of the Great Plain.
But I can also remember the hot summers and the often harsh winters, the proximity of the Zagyva and Tisza rivers.
However, it is very difficult to characterize this city with just a few marks, a few recognizances as it is such an exciting and diverse city, which is only 100 kilometers from Budapest.
History of Szolnok
Szolnok was already inhabited by the Paleolithic. The remaining potholes let us conclude that the first settlers lived in their temporary tents covered with animal skins or reeds which were built on such wooden piles. They could hunt for mammoths, and later stag and deer: several stone implements of this period have survived.
The most famous habitat in the area is Szandaszőlős, where a Neolithic community is permanently settled.
By the time of the Mesolithic, there were permanent settlements, and the inhabitants were engaged in farming. The interior of the house reconstructed, from this period can be seen in the Damjanich János Museum.
The Bronze Age was not boring in the life of the settlement either: in Tószeg near Szolnok there was a large settlement with many traces, but even Scythians lived here.
If we jump far in time, right up to the Turkish rule, we have to highlight the role of the Szolnok castle in the battles. For the Highlands were protected by this castle mainly from the Turkish armies. Unfortunately, the castle eventually fell and was under Ottoman rule until 1685.
Sights in Szolnok
Szolnok awaits visitors with many sights to see. On the one hand, there is the wonderful Tisza, which in itself is a beautiful sight and many programs are connected to it. However, the historically rich city awaits visitors with many museums, wonderful buildings, and a lot of activities.
A nice spring day, or at least when the weather is good, there is a great opportunity for a walk on the Tiszavirág Bridge, where we can even ride a bike.
There is no car that we need to worry about, the bridge is only used by pedestrians and cyclists. Another interesting thing about the bridge is that its design and graceful curves resemble that of a Mayfly.
We can easily walk from downtown to the Tiszaliget district. The Tiszavirág Bridge is 444 meters long, making it the longest pedestrian bridge in Central Europe.
For example, on the grove side, lovers should definitely visit the padlock wall. Just in case, they can leave a padlock as a symbol of their unbreakable love.
For those who are not lovers can visit it too, of course, alongside we can also visit the ornate fountain called The Mayfly Bridesmaid’s Dance, which is an exciting sight to visit on this side.
János Damjanich Museum
The already mentioned János Damjanich Museum is a must-see for history lovers and is also recommended for those who want to know the history of the city.
There is the county’s richest archaeological, ethnographic and art history exhibition.
RepTar Szolnok Aviation Museum
One of the most exciting museums in Szolnok is the RepTar Szolnok Aviation Museum, which can be exciting not only for aircraft lovers.
The aviation history exhibition hall, which is unique in Eastern Europe, awaits visitors with an area of 60,000 m2. Not only can we get insight into the evolution of aircraft, but also we can interactively enjoy the exhibition.
With the help of experts from the Institute of Military History and the Museum, we can see restored former combat planes that are rare and nowhere to be found.
In addition to military helicopters, fighter jets, and other military equipment, there are engine models and other relics. Those who want to try out what it feels like to be beyond clouds have different simulators at their disposal.
It is worth checking out the RepTar page because it often surprises visitors with different interesting topics, thematic weeks, whether it is the presentation of a special piece or a sleeping over party for the little ones.
The former Szolnok Synagogue gives home to the Szolnok Gallery. The eclectic building is the work of Lipót Baumhorn.
Some say it is a little overdone but definitely a striking piece. Since it stopped working as a religious center, it gives home to the Museum of Fine Arts of the János Damjanich Museum: works of the Szolnok Colony of Artists are on permanent display.
Holy Trinity Church
Walking on the banks of the Tisza is a great program in itself, even if we combine it with visiting the oldest monument in Szolnok.
The Baroque-style Downtown Holy Trinity Church was built in the 18th century, thanks to Franciscan monks. Inside the temple, we can see precious pieces from the 1700s like a carved pulpit and a side altar.
Thanks to the restorers, an original Baroque fresco layer was also found on the sanctuary wall.
Statue of Damjanich
Crossing the Tisza Bridge, walking to the mouth of the Zagyva, there are many sights waiting for us. One of the most popular is the statue of Damjanich made of Carrara marble.
The memorial commemorates the moment when the Army General enters Szolnok and the glorious spring expedition begins.
Not far from here is Tabán, whose structure and a couple of buildings still preserve the atmosphere of the old village.
In fact, we also find the oldest house, which was built in 1890. Walking, hiking, or cycling along the waterfront is a great experience almost any time.
We don’t have to go far, as behind the Damjanich statue hides the country’s oldest and perhaps the most famous artist colony.
It opened its doors to artists in 1902, and was renovated in 2002 and fortunately, life has picked up there. The colony is located in the idyllic environment of the former castle, which in itself is quite inspiring.
The studio apartments have both permanent and temporary residents. A great creative community has been created here, which is now known throughout Europe for its beautiful and impulsive works.
Of course, visitors to Szolnok also have the opportunity to get to know the work and life of the colony sometimes.
Such events include the traditional exhibitions of Articum, Particum, ARTjáró, and the Szolnok Fine Arts Society. In addition, monthly new exhibitions are open to visitors.
And if you really want something unique, head to the Brewery. Here you can get an insight into the beer culture in a unique way.
The Beer Museum presents beer-related topics and changes on a thousand square meters. It’s a real gastro-cultural experience, where we can interactively see how to brew.
In a steampunk environment, the brewery and pub are waiting for us. There is also an area for children, so we don’t have to worry about the little ones while the adults are having fun.
Here we can follow the brewing path from the first fermented bread to the most modern techniques.
In a small corner of Verseghy Park, we will find a real miracle, the Rosary, where we can find almost all the native rose species in the country.
These special roses have become so spectacular thanks to breeding and we can’t even meet them anywhere else. So anyone who loves curiosities should definitely visit here.
Széchenyi Park Forest
And if it is nature, we must mention the Széchenyi Park Forest and two themed exhibition areas, the Nature and Forest Nature Trail, in the area of 125 hectares.
Walking through these we can get to know the wildlife and hidden beauties of the Great Plain. There are bicycle and horse riding routes in the park forest, and if we feel like, we can cook in the open fireplaces.
Kids don’t have to worry either as there is the largest playground in the country with its 1.2 hectares.
Szolnok is one of the best choices, thanks to its proximity to the Tisza, its natural specialties and its special atmosphere.
Whether it’s museums, culture, or the natural treasures of the Great Plain, we’re in the best place to have a good time with every need.