We came to Szeged (the third largest city in Hungary) to spend a romantic weekend. We couldn’t have planned it better, as it was deeply covered in snow when we arrived. It was nothing like the town I remembered.
Since strolling around was far from easy, we opted to stay in the inner city. Szeged was nearly completely destroyed in a flood in 1879, after which it was rebuilt in a modern fashion. The wide streets, lofty squares and parks, the classic-looking houses make it a really lovable town. It is also the home of Szeged University, one of the largest universities in Hungary.
Szeged sits on the Tisza River. As I was here several times already, I vividly remember how nice it was to have a walk and talk on the river bank. Now it looked strikingly different, it was a much less friendly and colder place. I, however, loved it’s harsh beauty.
What you shouldn’t miss if you come here is the Szeged Cathedral. Its history goes back 800 years: it incorporates several historical periods of Szeged. The original temple was built in the 11th century, and it was expanded several times. Some stone window frames of the Szeged Castle (demolished after the flood) were also built into its walls. This monumental building is certainly the most remarkable part of the Szeged cityscape, and is also visible from many points of the city. It is located on the Dome Square, which, being just as large as St. Mark’s Square in Venice, also helps to emphasize its monumentality.
Of course, with -15 celsius degrees around, one can hardly stay outside for a very long time. Luckily, we could have some nice indoor programs, too: we visited some museums and found an excellent café with first-class cakes, coffee, and hot chocolate. On a Monday, we bought a daily ticket to the local spa, “Anna fürdő”. It is a beautiful building in itself, built on a thermal spring. The water of the spring is freely available from a small fountain on the street. (It is not only suitable for drinking, but also for defrosting your fingers if it got numb while replacing the film in your analogue camera.)
I came back to Budapest fully recharged – it was like coming home from a book of fairy tales. Snow indeed seemed to have to ability to make things more special and romantic.