Pápa hosts several charming baroque dwelling houses, declared to monuments and restored to their original forms. A symbol of the town is the Great Church in the Main square, which was built according to the plans of Jakab Fellner between 1774 and 1786, and was decorated with frescoes by Franz Anton Maulbertsch.
Esterházy Catle of Pápa
Pápa’s beautiful building of the Main square is the building complex of the Esterházy Mansion. The castle, surrounded by a 70 hectares park, was built between 1773–84, using some of the stones from its medieval predecessor by its owner, Ferenc Esterházy from the on Franz Anton Pilgram’s design; it has been completed in the 1780’s. The restoration of the reading hall of the library (the former mansion chapel), presently the public library of Pápa was awarded the Europa Nostra prize.
Everday wonders - Kemenesszentpéter
The Roman Catholic church of the village is one of the finest Baroque monuments in the region. Mihály Sághy, the provost of Pápóc had it built in 1758. Valuable church frescoes were painted by István Dorfmeister in 1779. St. Wendlein’s chapel was built in the 1850s in Classicist style.
The municipality of Pápoc must have had a church as early as the Árpád Age. In the Middle Ages it had three churches, a medieval hospital based on a hot spring, and several mills. Apart from these premises it had the privilege to impose tolls and hold fairs, and one of the oldest ecclesiastic schools was established here by the Augustine order. The most intact remnant from those times, the chapel devoted to the Virgin Mary, is a beautiful example of a four foiled Romanesque church.
Ham, loaf, eggs and blessing - Hungarian Easter Meal Tradition
For the Hungarian celebration of Easter, the table is richly laden. Alongside slices of fragrant ham, the table is adorned with a braided Easter loaf; there are eggs, boiled in the cooking liquid from the ham, and grated horseradish, served alone or in a vinegar dressing. The accompaniments include mustard, radishes, and young onions. The feast often also includes lamb dishes and nut or poppy-seed cake.
“No Easter meal is complete without ham,” according to tradition. Indeed, Hungarians set great store by the Easter ham. It is sometimes taken to be blessed by the priest after Mass, along with the eggs, horseradish, and braided loaf. On the farm, when a pig is slaughtered, the best ham is reserved for Easter, and cured or smoked with extra care.
No festive meal would be complete without the Easter loaf. This is a light yeast bread with a golden brown crust, made in the form of a circular braid. In the Hungarian ountryside, people have been baking such a loaf for special occasions for six hundred years. More elegant than standard bread, it is an essential feature at Easter, Christmas, and country weddings. It is made in basically the same way everywhere, with slight regional variations in the dough, and variations in appearance according to the occasion. In some regions, bride and groom “change” loaf at Easter, and present it on their summer wedding.
Easter Bunny and Easter Egg – the Hungarian way
Within the Christian tradition, the custom of dyeing eggs red goes back a thousand years. Red symbolizes the blood of Christ; the egg, eternal life. Other colors began to be used only three hundred years ago.
Hungarian Easter eggs are decorated originally with simple geometric shapes or ornamented with swirls of plants and flowers. Ancient symbols – the wheel of the sun or the cockscomb - sometimes feature too. The colorful flowers that adorn so many eggs echo the embroidery on Hungarian national costume.
The decoration of Easter eggs is a Hungarian craft in its own right. Wax-resist dyeing is the most popular method: The pattern is painted onto the shell using a quill dipped in molten wax. The egg is dyed, and then warmed slightly to melt off the wax, so that the white, undyed pattern appears. Engraving, an alternative method, requires the egg to be dyed first. The pattern is then engraved on with a knife. According to how deeply the surface is scratched, a deeper or paler color is revealed. A simple but effective method is to boil onion skins in water; boiling the eggs in this gives them a lovely dark brown color. They are then rubbed with bacon rind skin to give them a sheen. Pretty, natural patterns in a paler color can be obtained by sticking leaves onto the shells of the eggs before they are boiled. Once the eggs are dyed, the leaves are removed. Another traditional technique is to decorate blown eggs with tiny metal horseshoes. This requires some dexterity, so is done only by trained craftsmen.
The first chocolate eggs - large, hollow, chocolate casings, in the shape of an egg, usually filled with sweets, given as gifts at Easter - arrived on the market in the 19th century. (The first chocolate eggs may have been introduced in England by Fry’s in 1873 or by Cadbury in 1875. The tradition probably began in Germany around 1800, but only became widespread after the development of a reliable method of manufacturing solid eating chocolate by JS Fry and Sons in Bristol in the 1830’s.) The confectioners decorated these eggs lavishly; some creations featured in the local press. One such was a chocolate egg with the picture – likewise executed in chocolate – of the Chainbridge then under construction. (Built between 1842 and 1849, this was the first fixed bridge over the Danube uniting Buda and Pest.)
The Easter rabbit has rather more recent origins; it probably did not reach Hungary until the 20th century. It comes from a German cultural background, and is first mentioned at the end of the 17th century. Unlike the other Easter customs, which are rural in origin, the Easter bunny spread from the town outward.
Furniture treasures of the Száraz-Rudnyánszky Castle
In a baroque mansion in deepest south Buda, this branch of the Applied Arts Museum traces the development of European furniture – from the Gothic to Biedermeier styles. They introduces European furniture art from the period 1440 to 1850 approximately. In the exhibition, staged over a larger area than formerly, 300 items of furniture – individual pieces and suites – can be seen in 27 of the castle’s rooms. The arrangement, which is tailored to the castle’s architecture, follows the history of European furniture in chronological order, presenting the various stylistic periods, and thus the history of applied arts, by means of individual masterpieces rather than by means of interiors. Other furnishings – tiled stoves, tapestries, carpets, chandeliers, and paintings – complement the exhibition. These works are from the same periods as the pieces of furniture they accompany.
Budapest’s “New Theater”
„The building of the Új Színház (New Theatre) stands in the heart of Budapest in the vicinity of the Opera House. The venue has a rich and stormy history of names, companies, profiles, functions and architectural shapes. By today the façade with the characteristic gilded cherubs is the only element by the original creator, architect Béla Lajta (1873-1920) that was possible to reconstruct in the characteristic milieu.
The building, erected in 1909, started its life as music hall, on the name of Parisiana. Its auditorium was composed of the ground floor furnished with tables and chairs, the walls paved with stone and wood, a winter garden upstairs and a narrow gallery. In 1910 the building changed its name to Crystal Palace, two years later to Dance Palace. In 1919 the Vaudeville Theatre (Revüszínház) moves in and the stalls are furnished with seat rows.
In 1921 the theatre undergoes a reconstruction based on the Neo Baroque designs and the present-day shape of the auditorium is formed, with boxes. After the reconstructions a series of companies work there: Chamber Theatre of the National Theatre, Kamra Theatre, Andrássy Theatre, Művész Színház. After the nationalization in 1949 it becomes Pioneer Theatre and later Youth Theatre, adapting its repertory to the new target audience.
At the beginning of the fifties the façade was reshaped again following the socialist-realist style. The stone pavement was removed, the entrances redesigned and a new name taken up: this time Jókai Theatre. Other names and companies followed: Bartók Theatre from 1971, Arany János Theatre (in the eighties), Budapest Children’s Theatre (1974). An echo of the latter is the wall in the foyer upstairs featuring a frieze painted by children.
The visitor today can simultaneously admire the Art Deco façade of Béla Lajta and the Baroque splendour of the auditorium. „