Székesfehérvár: One of the oldest Hungarian cities

Vivi Bencze | Live the World

November 23, 2022

When it comes to visiting Hungary, even if you are rather after some historical stuff, your first choice will always be the capital, namely Budapest. However, believe it or not, Hungary has another big city, that back in the centuries counted as, on the one hand, the crowning city, and on the other hand, as the main resting place of Hungarian kings. Not surprisingly though, considering it is one of the oldest Hungarian cities - Székesfehérvár. To help you a bit with its pronounciation, try this one: sake-ash-feh-erwar, or phonetically: ˈseːkɛʃfɛˈheːrvaːr).

Székesfehérvár furthermore is one of the biggest cities in this Central European country, and it possesses multiple historical sights. Amongst them, we can find medieval monuments, a historic old city, a castle, some charming, green parks, fish ponds and even more. Székesfehérvár, furthermore, has an extremely good location, given the fact that it is stretching only a stone’s throw away from Lake Balaton, Lake Velence and even Budapest, The 2019 Sports Capital of Europe, can be reached within only 45 minutes by car.

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What to look for in Székesfehérvár?

Taking it into consideration that the city’s territory is populated since the ancient times, it’s essential to know what to look for in Székesfehérvár. As an organized city, it has been operating since 972 – it was established 77 years after the Hungarian state's foundation. The city's traditions are cultivated by nationally renowned series of events, out of which the most famous one is the Royal Days of Székesfehérvár.

As for the mentioned monuments and sights to visit, I definitely suggest you look up the Saint Anna Chapel, which is the only medieval building in the city that remained intact over the centuries. You don’t have to expect a magnificent construction, neither in look nor in terms of size, but in my personal opinion, its charm and particular attraction make it worthy seeing it.

Another characteristic sight of Székesfehérvár is undoubtedly the Saint Stephen Cathedral, that dates back to 1777. In its place, there had always been standing churches since the 9th century and even mosques in the Turk times, during the 16th and 17th centuries. It is one of the country’s biggest cathedrals, and since 1938, it has even been wearing the title of basilica, owing to the privilege of Pope Pius XI. The prevailing church, standing here, was the crowning temple of Hungary since 1235, with a few exceptions. Both Saint Stephen I, who was the founder of the Hungarian state and Mathias Corvinus, the most powerful Hungarian king of all times were crowned here.

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Besides, not everybody knows but Székesfehérvár counted as a secular centre in the Middle Ages, and it was one of the country’s capitals beyond Buda (later Budapest) and Esztergom. 43 kings were crowned in this city and 15 were buried, and the kings held even the annual statutory days here. Székesfehérvár today is not popular only for its tremendous amount of historical stories to tell, but all in all it’s an extrermely versatile part of Hungary. Even in its old city, there are multiple opportunities for entertainment and a prestigious university, called Kodolányi János Egyetem also operates in the city. As there are several further representatives of higher education here, Székesfehérvár is a beloved place of youngsters and young adults too. It’s not only the main resting place of former Hungarian kings, being one of the oldest cities in the country, but also a fancy place to be in, even for those who are rather into amusement than history.

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