Did you know, that there are very high and even leaning fire towers in Hungary? Or, that there is also one, that is part of a house? Szeretlekmagyarorszag.hu introduces some of them that are worth the climb.
“Fire tower” is already a telling name, since it immediately reveals its secret: these towers were built once to enable people to keep a careful watch on the neighbourhood. It was the fire lookout’s duty to give signals if fire had broken out somewhere. An alarm bell was usually found in the tower which was rung in case of danger. Its function did not disappear, some countries still use fire towers.
Fire towers were also built in many places in Hungary. Fortunately, some of them are still standing, and what’s even more, they were restored and the most famous ones can also be visited. True, though, it is mainly the view which the towers provide that attracts tourists. If you have the chance, climb the many-many stairs leading to the top, because the scenery is worth the efforts.
Here we recommend some of the famous fire towers of Hungary among which are the highest and the leaning ones, and also one that is part of a house.
Fire tower of Sopron
The 58 metre high fire tower towering above the houses became an emblem of the town. The structure standing on Main Square was built in the 13rd century. It was serving through many years, but was reconstructed by the time the City Hall was built in the 19th century due to problems of statics. The renovated fire tower was opened in 2012 in its original form.
It originally functioned as a city tower, but there opinions according to which a barbican stood here already in the Árpád era. The building was constantly transformed, therefore Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque elements can be simultaneously found in it. An alarm bell is also part of the tower, while a double-headed eagle sitting on a ball serves as a weather-cock on the top.
In the 16th century fire outlooks gave signals by lanterns at night and by flags during the day in case fire broke out. Later trumpeters took over their duty and gave signals by music whenever enemies, guests or trade carriages arrived. They also indicated time, trumpets blared out in every fifteen minutes to indicate the passing of time. The tower also got a clock which was handled by the watch.
The tower burnt down in 1676 and was rebuilt by public subscription. The fire tower also became the symbol of loyalty. The town decided by means of a referendum in 1921 that it would rather belong to Hungary. The baroque style gate and the sculpture Hungaria were built in commemoration of this event.
After climbing 200 steps of the spiral staircase one can reach the balcony where the fire outlooks were looking for danger long ago. The view is absolutely fascinating from here.
Fire tower of Szécsény
The Baroque style fire tower was built in the 18th century. It was made of wood at first, but its offspring was made of stone in the 1820s. The fire tower got its final form in 1893. During the reconstructions the original Baroque onion dome disappeared.
A bomb blasted 80 metres away from the tower in World War II, many believe that the building bent because of that. Still, according to experts, it was the clay layor of the ground that slipped and caused the bending. Today an exhibition on the history of fire service can be found inside.
Fire tower of Veszprém
The fire tower of Veszprém is one of the oldest buildings of Veszprém and also the emblem of the town.
The 48 metres high structure was built in the Middle Ages. Its basement is from the 13th century. Fortunately, it served as a fire tower already in the Turkish era in the windy town where fire spread rapidly, thus they did not destroy it.
The Fire-Engine House was built next to it in the 19th century, which served as a fire station storehouse. It was heavily damaged during the earthquake of 1810, thus it needed some reconstruction. The coat of arms of Hungary can be found on the pinnacle.
The clock signals the time in every fifteen minutes, while it plays a Verbunkos in every hour. A great view of Veszprém can be seen from the top of the tower.
Fire tower of Szatmárnémeti
The 45 metres high tower was opened in 1904 and renovated in 2005. It is worth climbing up, since the panorama is fascinating.
Fire tower of Ráckeve
The fire tower is part of the old town hall and serves today as a lookout tower. The panorama is simply beautiful from this 40 metres height.
Photos: Wiki Commons and facebook