Saturday, October 16, 2010

Szentendre, Hungary

Szentendre is a small town at the foot of the Pilis Hill along the Danube Bend. Szentendere was part of the eastern frontier of the Roman Empire under Ulcisia Castra from the 2nd centuty AD. In the 13th century the Mongols and then the Turks in the 15-16th century destroyed the town. It was rebuilt in Baroque style in the 17th century and has preserved the townscape since. After the Turks left mainly Serbian refugees settled down then Hungarians, Slovaks, Germans, Greeks and Romanians. Each ethnic group had establsihed its own town part adding a versatility to the townscape. 

In the Main Square (Fő tér) is the Baroque cross that was erected in 1763 to commemorate the fact that plague avoided the town. The Baroque-Rococo Blagovestenska church also stands tall in the Main Square, built in the mid 18th century by settlers living in the Greek quarter next to the church. Above its wooden gate are frescoes of St. Helene and St Constantine. 

Winding streets lead off from the Main Square packed with museums, restaurants, cafes and souvenir shops. Stop by any of the shops to find Tokaji wine, pálinka (Hungarian fruit brandy), Hungarian paprika, and goose liver.

Stop by the Labirintus Restaurant in the National Wine Museum for a delicious Hungarian meal. You can dine in three different rooms: in the Tokaji Room in the cool cellar, in the Kupa Room on the ground level, or in the Vadász (Hunter's) Room on the first level. In The 220 year old cellar system, you can taste and buy fine Tokaji wines.

We dined in the Kupa Room which hosts just 24 people. Its countryside atmosphere is reached through the exhibition of authentic objects from the every-day life of the village. Try the garlic soup in the rye bread bowl and the turkey breast stuffed with peach and camembert. 

Don't miss a stop in the Szabó Marzipan Museum, where you can follow the process of confectioner work and marzipan handicraft. The display cases have marzipan creations of many Disney characters, a 2 meter tall Michael Jackson made of white chocolate, a Princess Diana, the 160 cm long Hungarian Parliament building, and a wedding cake so large that it would need 970 eggs, 25 liters of cream, 15 kg of butter, 35 kg of sugar, 15 kg of chocolate, 20 kg of flour, and 10 kg of icing. 

To view all our pictures of Szentendre, click here