Veszprém is located in the scenic Bakony mountainous region, near the Balaton resort. According to local legend it was founded on seven hils, like Rome. It is often referred to as ‚the City of Queens’ thanks to Giselle, the wife of Hungary’s first king, St. Stephen. For centuries, the queens of Hungary were crowned by the bishop of Veszprém.
The history of the city goes back to the ninth century. It had an important religious role during the Christianization of Hungary. It was here that king Stephen I defeated the armies of his cousin, Koppány who claimed the throne and had him executed as a pagan. In 1009 Veszprém became one of the most significant centres of the Catholic Church as the bishop’s seat.
The historic centre of Veszprém is the Castle Hill. According to the notary of King Bela III, the castle had been built before the first Hungarians settled in here. It was probably a 9th century Frankish fortress. Destroyed during the Turkish occupation and the subsequent battles, the castle, blown up by the Austrians in 1702, never had its medieval parts rebuilt.
In the town square of the Castle Hill among many beautiful Baroque-style buildings there is also a spectacular Bishop’s palace. Next to the palace is the most important historical monument in Veszprém, the Gisela Chapel. It was built in 1230 and served as a private chapel to the bishop and the queens who resided here. It is believed to have been founded by the Blessed Gisela. Damaged during the Turkish period, today’s Gothic building has one of the oldest interiors in Hungary: the 13th century frescoes of the apostles on the walls.
In Saint Michael’s Cathedral you can find the remains of Saint George’s chapel, a monument of national importance. Thousands of pilgrims come here to see the relics of the head of Saint George.
Two most important symbol of the city are the Fire Tower and the Viaduct, offering a wonderful view of the town and its surroundings.