National heritage

The traces of the work of our ancestors can be seen in several pieces of built heritage. Archaeologists have found the remains of a settlement from the New Stone Age in the village of Sé. During the excavation of the Saint Vid Church in the village of Velem, a spacious house and barn structure from the Bronze and Iron Age were found.

The work of the architects of the Amber Road leading through the Province of Pannonia in the Roman Age can be seen in the administration, cultural, and trade and religious centre of Savaria which is now the county seat of Szombathely.

Remnants of the Arpadian Age and the Middle Ages can be found in the churches of the villages of Csempeszkopács, Velemér and Őriszentpéter. The visitor of the church in the village of Ják can witness a rare architectural wonder, because the Saint George Church is one of the most important pieces of the Hungarian and international religious architecture.

Traces of fortifications made from earth can be found in the vicinity of the settlements of Vasvár and Karakó. The castles in the county show a mixture of Gothic military architecture and Renaissance elements, for example the castles in the towns of Sárvár and Kőszeg being the most famous.

The architecture of the Baroque and the Classic can be seen in the church buildings and the houses of nobles in the county. Castles, mansions and public buildings represent this style, like the houses on the Main Square of Szombathely, and the buildings of Sárvár, Körmend and Kőszeg.

The basin of the River Rába could be regarded as the Hungarian Loire Valley, as there are 20 castles along the river, crossing the southern and eastern edge of the county, some of them almost on the banks. The Batthyány-Strattmann castle complex and its park stand out of the other castles and mansions. Several former noble buildings serve as hotels.

The richness of folk architecture can be seen in the village museum of Szombathely, and in the settlement of Szalafő, on the Pityerszer.

The county is also famous for its religious tourism offers. Szombathely, the former town of Savaria is the town of Saint Martin, as one of the most popular saints of the Early Middle Ages and the bishop of Tour was born here in 319 A.D.

 

As a result of the national church restoration program of the Empress Maria Therese, the diocese of Szombathely was founded in 1777. The first bishop, János Szily, had a Baroque seat built by the architect, Melchior Hefele. The Bishop Palace and the Cathedral are still key buildings in the life of the county.

In Kőszeg the Saviours Heart, the Saint Jacob and Saint Imre churches and the Calvary church bear the signs of religions architecture of different times. The new Presbyterian church, planned by the architect György Csete, is one of the most striking examples of organic architecture.

Among the pilgrim places in the county the churches of Velem (Saint Vid), Vasvár (Holy Well) and Celldömölk (Votive church) are the most famous ones.

Körmend is the town of the doctor of the poor, the beatified László Batthyány-Strattmann. The museum harbours an exhibition of European level, familiarising the visitors with the history of the Batthyány family.

The village of Csehimindszent is the birthplace of the Cardinal József Mindszenty, who was famous for his loyalty and consistency. Rábakethely is the village that pilgrims visit to preserve the memory of the martyr János Brenner.

Our county is rich in places of literal heritage, too. The Vas County literature tour touches 14 settlements: towns (Szombathely, Kőszeg, Sárvár, Körmend, Celldömölk, Répcelak) and 8 small villages – are still harbouring the traces of famous Hungarian writers and poets, like Dániel Berzsenyi, Sándor Weöres, Géza Ottlik, Sándor Tatay, Judit Dukai Takács. These are just some names making the tour unforgettable for all interested in literature.

And is there someone who has not heard about the unique “Book of the Coming of the Grape” of Kőszeg yet where crafty hands draw the picture of the grape shots every year on Saint George Day in April. This book testifies the rich wine-making traditions in the county. The visitors can taste rich red wines in Kőszeg and the settlements of the Kőszeg foothill, in Vaskeresztes, but also in Csepreg or the Sárvár Wine Community. The Ság and Kis-Somlyó mountains are parts of the historic Somló Wine Region, offering white wines with a special spirit. The Vas Ridge offers tasty wines and heart and stomach pleasing Hungarian spirits, called pálinka. We have numerous gastronomy festivals, cooking competitions and harvests welcome visitors with a special kind of hospitality. Be it the special dumplings called dödölle, or the treasures of the forests, the mushrooms and game – we can offer a glass of local wine.

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