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>Church of St. Elisabeth (Bratislava)

The Church of St. Elizabeth (Slovak: Kostol svätej Alžbety, Hungarian: Szent Erzsébet templom), commonly known as Blue Church (Modrý kostolík, Kék templom), is a Hungarian Secessionist (Jugendstil) Catholic church located in the eastern part of the Old Town in Bratislava, Slovakia. It is consecrated to Elisabeth of Hungary, daughter of Andrew II, who grew up in the Pressburg Castle (pozsonyi vár). It is called “Blue Church” because of the colour of its façade, mosaics, majolicas and blue-glazed roof.

The one-nave church was built in 1907-1908, four years after the plans of Ödön Lechner to build a church in the Hungarian Art Nouveau style. The so-called Hungarian secessionist style forms dominate in the church. Lechner also drew plans of the neighbouring gymnázium (high school) and of the vicarage.


The ground floor of the church is oval. In the foreground there is a 36.8 metre high cylindrical church tower. At first, a cupola was planned, but was never constructed; instead, a barrel vault was built, topped by a hip roof. The roof is covered with glazed bricks with decoration, for the purpose of parting.

The main and side entrances are enclosed with Romanesque double-pillars, which have an Oriental feeling. Pillars are also located near the windows.

The façade was at first painted with light pastel colours. Later the church got its characteristic blue colour. A line of blue tiles and wave-strip encircles the church.The interior is richly decorated with altarpieces. On the altar there is an illustration of St Eliizabeth, depicted giving alms to the poor.

A model of the church is in Mini-Europe in Brussels, representing Slovakia.
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Thonet House, Budapest

The Thonet-house (Budapest V. district) is an exceptional work of Ödön Lechner, the best known representative of the Hungarian secession. The building is an early creation of the structural iron based architecture, which was the biggest innovation of the constructional architecture at the turn of the 19/20th century. The surface walls covered by glass and tiles.The combination of the neoranassaince symmetry and ornamental decoration with the neogothic alcove-statutes gives an exceptional harmony.

Lechner aimed to form a national style, using motifs from Hungarian folk art in the decoration of his buildings as well as incorporating architectural elements from eastern cultures like Persia. Changing directions and curved shapes also distinguish this from the Vienna Secession style. A significant turning point in his career came with a connection to the Vilmos Zsolnay company, when Lechner began to use terracotta tiling in his designs. Though Thonet-house is neoanassaince in style, this new use of modern materials - with its steel structure and the facade covered with Zsolnai terracotta - is good exemple of it from as early, as 1889!




Unger house, Budapest


The Unger-house just opposit to the National Museum is one of the earliest work of Ybl Miklós from 1852. The building is named after Unger Benedek, a master blacksmith, and his son, Unger Henrik was the one to name it after his father. As far as style is concerned, Unger-house bears much resemblance to classic Bezantian and Saracen buildings. Unger-house have seen better days, but it still has it’s old-fashioned charm.




Castle and school - Andrássy Mansion, Monok

Monok was named after the Monoky or Monaky family, who were the owners of the settlement from the 14th century. The village became well-known as Sándor Kossuth’s birth place. The building was owned by count István Andrássy at the beginning of the 19th century. It was built to be used as a manorial steward’s house in the style of the period of Louis XIV in 1780-82.

At the end of the 17th century the castle of Monok became the property of the Thököly and the Andrássy families. The Andrássys were no longer satisfied with the little castle , so a newer, bigger one was built, and a new six-acre ornamental garden was created. There are four Doric column in front of the entrance. The building has a spacious lobby welcoming the arrivals, here stairs led to the Rococo frescos ornamented oval ceremonial hall. We find 18th century frescoes typical rococo elements, the four world view, and smoking a pipe, Hungarian musical forms are represented. On the ground floor in its chapel built in 1770-71 guests also can admire frescoes.

The two-storey Baroque palace was transformed into neo-classical style by 19th descendants. The last owner after his death in 1881, the nobility remained unclaimed for a long time. In 1908 the castle was donated to the Children’s Protective League by Dénes Andrássy,the great patron of public education, and works as a school since 1914.




Stormy Balaton




Mosonmagyaróvár

The town of Mosonmagyaróvár is situated at the crossing point of the rivers Mosoni-Danube and Lajta, at about 30 km from Bratislava and 80 km from Vienna. Mosonmagyaróvár was already known in the Roman age as a watch-post along the limes under the Latin name Ad Flexum. After the Conquest it was used as a reeve-site, later it became a shire town. Moson and Magyaróvár united in 1939 and together with the village of Lucsony that joined Magyaróvár as early as 1905 they constitute the town of today with a population of 32.000 people.

The Fort of Óvár is a construction with an irregular quadratic ground-plan built in the 13th century upon the ruins of the Roman settlement and reconstructed several times since then. In 1683, the castle was helpless against the retreating Turkish army, which had been repulsed again at Vienna. Though the town archives were now completely destroyed, the damage was repaired more quickly this time around, at least quickly enough to allow Rákóczi to use the castle as a base during his war for independence from the Habsburgs. In 1721, after the revolution was crushed, the castle at Magyaróvár lost its strategic importance, and all military materiel was transferred to Bratislava.

The architecture of the city is enchanting baroque, with some exeption, as the art noveau post.




The nicest school of Hungary - Waldbott Castle, Tolcsva


Tolcsva was obtained by the Counts Szirmay and then by the Frigyes Waldbott baronial family. The Waldbott mansion - built during the 18th century in baroque style, later enlarged in eclectical style - is still to be seen in the village and it houses the local primary school.




Füvészkert, the green heart of Budapest

The so called “Füvészkert” in Budapest is the oldest botanical garden of Hungary, which was established in 1770-71. On the basis of the self-sacrificing work of Jakab Winterl - the founder of the garden - and his follower, later successor, Kálmán Kitaibel the collection found in “Füvészkert” has gained world-wide fame. Until it was placed to its final home in the heart of Józsefváros, the botanical garden had experienced many removals and trials.

In 1784 the garden belonged to the medical faculty of the that time Budapest, at the same time another place, the garden of the Franciscan cloister of the city was utilized as botanical garden too. After the visit of Joseph II.Austrian Emperor in 1788, the Chamber gave more significant money supply and this way the long awaited glass-house and marble pool of water-plants could be built.

In 1808 the collection of the two gardens was unified, and with an area of 1.17 acres was finished by 1815, still in another place. Unfortunately owing to the great flood in 1838 and carelessness, the condition of the garden worsened a lot. For the advice of Palatine Joseph the 10.1 acre estate of Antal Festetich was purchased for the garden in 1847. The former hunting-seat, which can be found here, was built according to the plans of Mihály Pollack 200 years ago; today it is the central building of the garden.


Today the botanical garden includes up to 7000 plant species and variations on a 3-acre-area. The cactii, bromelia, and orchid collection is especially rich, just as the collection of palms and the different tropical arum lily sorts. The different types of shrubs, stemming from the subtropical regions of Australia, provide a special spectacle with their blossoming in winter. Built particularly for this purpose at the and of the previous century, the Victoria House is a special glass building housing the Amazonas water lily. The collection of insectivorous plant, which lead a unique way of life, can also be found here. The historic palm house, built in the previous century, re-built in 1966, and the new glass house finished in are home to the tropical and subtropical plants. The arboretum of the garden - putting up to 800 tree and shrub types on display in spite of the small area - is of special value. The oldest trees of the garden are the Chinese gingko, which has lived up to 150 years. The collection which is rich in evergreen plants, pines, is worth visiting even in the winter season. Some of the rock-gardens provides a sample of the plants of mountains: we can get a closer look on the flowers of the Alps, the Carpathians, the Balkans, and Central-Asia. The Hungarian flora is represented by more than 400 species, classified according to geographical regions and types of habitats.




Djami of Malkoch Bey, Siklós

Besides the fortress, the other outstanding sight of interest in the town of Siklós is the Turkish mosque, dating from the 16th century. It was built between 1543-1565; the construction was led by a high ranking Turkish officer, Malkoch Bey. After 1686 it was re-built into a three-storey building and was used as a dwelling house.


The tower of the Minaret, part of the building, may have been demolished at that time. The building, originally covered with a dome, now has a tent roof positioned on an octagonal drum. The central part of the small, quadrangle shaped mosque is the mihrab (niche of prayer), facing towards Mecca. The building is made unique by its internal wooden ornamentation.

The archaeological discovery of the church, formerly believed to have been completely destroyed, started in 1969, led by Győző Gerő and Ferenc Mendele. Restoration of the monument started in 1990. In 1993 the building was given the Europa Nostra award, donated each year for excellent restoration works. The interior of the mosque – carpets, pewter and copper objects – were gifted to the town of Siklós by the Turkish National Ethnographic Museum.

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The Hungarian yacht King Farouk wished as his own - the “Sirocco”

Sirocco is considered to be the most beautiful wooden cruiser on the Balaton, and is also noteworthy for its adventurous story. The cruiser originally named Big Boy was built in 1947. The following year, the Eyptian ruler Farouk made an attempt to buy it, but the Hungarian state acted faster: they confiscated the boat and imprisoned the owners under the suspicion of gold smuggling - although there was no gold found in the keel afterwards. Sirocco was renamed “Győzelem” (Victory) and served the pleasure of the members of the ruling Party. Maintenance was, however, dissatisfactory, and in the end, the boat only nearly escaped being turned into climbing frames for the Zánka pioneer camp. Luckily, it was placed under protection just in time, so today it sails the Lake again, renovated to its last nail.

As for yachting life on the lake, a noted British shipbuilder, Richard Young laid down the foundtations of the Balatonfüred shipyard at the beginning of the1880’s. The work was later taken over by the Stefánia Yacht Association. Young’s workshop in Balatonfüred used to stand where the Vitorlás Restaurant stands today. The building that survived was orginially built as a yacht club house in 1887.

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