Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Székesfehérvár (in Latin: Alba Regia; in colloquial speech Fehérvár) is a city in central Hungary, located around 65 km southwest of Budapest. It is inhabited by 106,346 people (2001), with 138,995 in the direct vicinity, and is the centre of Fejér county. In the Middle Ages the city was a royal residence and the most important city of Hungary. 37 kings and 39 queen consorts were crowned, 15 rulers have been buried here, the diets were held and the crown jewels were kept here.
Etymology of the name
The city's name means "white chair/seat castle", and its translation to other related languages (German Stuhlweißenburg, Croatian Stolni Biograd, Turkish Istolni Belgrád) means "the white city of/with the chair/table/castle".
The word szék meaning seat is related to its important role in the first centuries of Hungary: székhely means a (royal) residence. The first kings of Hungary were crowned and buried here, so Székesfehérvár was a capital city of the country. The other capital was Esztergom.
Géza's son, St. Stephen surrounded the settlement with a plank wall, had a provostery, a cathedral and a school built. The settlement had about 3500 inhabitants at this time. In the 12th century the city prospered, churches, monasteries and houses were built. In the 14th century Székesfehérvár was surrounded by city walls.
The Ottomans occupied the city after a long siege in 1543. The city was under Ottoman ocupation for 145 years. The Ottomans destroyed most of it, they demolished the cathedral and the royal palace, and they pillaged the graves of kings in the cathedral. They named the city Belgrad ("white castle") and built mosques. In the 16th–17th centuries it looked like a Muslim city.
- Downtown with historical (Baroque, Classical) buildings
- St. Stephen Cathedral (burial place of several mediaeval kings incl. St. Stephen and Béla III)
- St. Anna Chapel (Gothic, built around 1470)
- Ruins of mediaeval church founded by St. Stephen
- Episcopal Palace (Zopf style)
- City Hall
- Zichy Palace (Zopf style manorhouse, 1781)
- King Stephen Museum
- Doll Museum
- Apothecary Museum
- City Museum
- City Gallery
- Csitáry source (mineral water source)
- Serbian skanzen (12 thatched peasant houses and a Byzantian-style church, won the Europa Nostra award in 1990)
- Golden Bull memorial (the Golden Bull was an important charta by King Andrew II, it was released here; the memorial is from 1972.)
- Bory manor (20th century)
- Székesfehérvár, a királyi város (Székesfehérvár, the royal city)
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