A magnificent flower of the Southern Great Plain of Hungary, Kalocsa is located in the western part of Bacs-Kiskun County, on the left side of the Danube, about 75 miles from Budapest. The Archbishopric of Kalocsa -- founded by St. Stephen in 1001
-- had administrative power over an extended territory, and if there was a need, fought defensive battles for the country.
The city's historic significance cannot be overestimated. Besides the fact that artifacts found in this area date back to Celtic times
(300 A.D.), Kalocsa is also the city whose first Archbishop, Bishop Astrid had the honor of bringing the Holy Crown to Saint Stephen
, founder of the Christian state of Hungary.
Medieval centuries witnessed several Archbishops to crown kings of Hungary
, including famous captains such as Pal Tomori, who lead the Hungarian armies in the battle of Mohacs
. During the long Turkish occupation both the city and the countryside were laid waste and were depopulated, to be revived later, in the 18th century, when a moat was built to protect the city from further attacks.
After this so-called "Second Conquest", in a short half a century, the archiepiscopal estate was restored, together with the diocesan administration located in some of the most magnificent buildings of Kalocsa. In 1733 a monastery, in 1765 a college, and in 1768 a printing press was established in the town. In 1782, Adam Patachich founded a library by amalgamating his private collection and that of the Bishopric's, and by the second half of the 19th century the archbishops turned Kalocsa into an educational center of national reputation
Although the city escaped the devastation of the 1848-1849 Revolution, it could not escape the floods and the conflagrations. After a period of difficulties, the city experienced an economic boost, when in 1888 the railway reached its borders. The following period of prosperity was slowed only by the two World Wars, and the rise of the 20th century already saw the triumph of the world famous paprika
, as well as that of the local folk art
The city's educational traditions are carried on by the Pal Tomori College, founded in 2004, and his past and present live on hand-in-hand on Szentharomsag (Holy Trinity) Square, in historic downtown Kalocsa.
Visitors are invited to spend a couple of hours to see the Cathedral
-- one of the most beautiful baroque churches in Hungary
-- enjoy an organ concert on its Angster organ much appreciated by Ferenc Liszt
, and then satisfy their senses in the Library of the Cathedral
, the Archiepiscopal Treasury
, and the Paprika Museum
. And then, a stroll in the Archbishop’s garden -- the greatest park in the city -- will help unwind and let the experience sink in, at the end of a day well spent.
Take Highway 51 (Budapest-Baja), and in the city turn on Kossuth Lajos street, which will lead you to Szentharomsag Square. Parking is available in the immediate vicinity, behind the Cathedral, in the direction of Asztrik Square.
Buses stop at the Hospital on Kossuth Lajos Street. Szentharomsag Square is just about 5 minutes on foot from there.
Kalocsa's surroundings by foreigners' eyes
THE PUSZTA -- Tour by bus Starting in Kalocsa
: Also called the Great Plain, in the 19th century, this vast prairie was the Wild West of Hungary, and immense herds of livestock grazed here under the watchful eye of the cowboys.
Trip in a horse-drawn wagon
: Equestrian displays are regularly given on the farms, their most spectacular element being the horse race and the presentation of the "five-horse wagons"
* CORRECTION by the editor
One of the most spectacular sights on the Hungarian Great Plains is the so-called “Puszta-Five”. It actually does NOT involve a wagon!
A horseman drives five galloping horses, tied together in a Hungarian style, standing with one leg on the back of each of the two rear horses.
The production is also called the Koch Five
or the Hungarian Post
. For a long time, this bravado was believed to have been dreamt up by the Austrian painter Ludwig Koch in 1923, but an outstanding Hungarian horseman called Bela Lenard brought Koch’s painting to life, driving not only five, but seven, eight, nine, and even eleven horses in his lifetime.
Croisi Europe Excursions on the Danube
The Roman Catholic Cathedral of Kalocsa
The archdiocese of Kalocsa was founded by St. Stephen of Hungary in 1010, and its first archbishop was Astrik, who delivered St. Stephen’s crown from Pope Sylvester II
. From the very beginning, the Archbishop of Kalocsa was next in rank to the Archbishop of Gran, which meant that when Gran was vacant, the Archbishop of Kalocsa had the right to crown the sovereign
Developer's Blog 30/06/2007
Heart and Mind
...The day’s highlight was the private tour we received of the Cathedral
, the Cathedral’s Library
, the Treasury of the Archbishopric
, and the Paprika Museum
. …And of course, partaking of the wisdom, knowledge, and soul of our guide while we grazed our eyes on the magnificent beauty of these places, and gained even more appreciation for the people who brought them to life.
Cathedral Library of Kalocsa
Hundreds and thousands of ancient codices
have been gathered together in the private and archbishopric libraries being predecessors to this final, complex library of the Cathedral in Kalocsa.
Treasury of the Archbishopric Kalocsa
The exhibition having all the collected treasures of the Archbishopric
on view was opened in 1988, and is located in the northern wing of the complex. The collection consists of paintings, sculptures, golden and other precious jewelry from medieval times
Paprika Museum Kalocsa
The Paprika Museum gives visitors an insight into the details of the manufacturing processes of the world-famous Hungarian paprika
. Also called the red gold, this sweet herb is essential in the culinary culture and the traditional image of Hungary.
Folk Costume on the Hungarian Lowlands
Few people know that the famous, colorful kalocsai
folk-costume, which abounds in flower motifs, is relatively new in its present form.
As late as the last century, people wore simple white-blue costumes. At the turn of the century, dark blue and black embroidery started to appear on the shirtsleeves, and white, and later more colorful flower design on the bodice.
From the 1930s, red, green, yellow and lilac were added to the increasingly complex design, and this is when “true” kalocsai embroidery was born
Schoeffer Museum Kalocsa
Nicolas Schoeffer, a famous representative of kinetic art was born in Kalocsa in 1912
and died in Paris, France in 1992. He donated a represerntative collection of his life's work to the city of Kalocsa in 1979, which is now displayed in a museum established at the artist's birthplace.