We had the most exciting tour today about the Hungarian Samizdat press. I had the privilege to work with Közgazdasági Politechnikum in this great project: Building Democratic Europe Together – http://budet.poli.hu/

My tour’s focus was the illegal, uncensored production, publishing and distribution of books and articles which couldn’t have been published in the Communist regime. It was all about conspiracy, clandestine operations and about how the state and state security tried to liquidate the entire movement, but more importantly my tour was about the desire to exercise free speech and free press, essential pillars of our new democracy.

It was great to see the enthusiasm of both students and teachers and I’m very proud to have been part of it.

 

I’m not exactly the person who gets invited to the Presidential Palace very often but we were very lucky with my guests last weekend when the doors of the Sándor Palace were open and the public could walk around the beautifully designed interior.

Compared to the relatively simple outside the interior is surprisingly richly ornate, at times I felt like walking around the Versailles Palace. The building is from 1806 and was the residence of the country’s prime minister from 1867. That’s where Queen Elisabeth or Sisi visited the handsome count Andrássy several times after enjoying a performance at the Castle Theatre next door.

The building was restored and became the seat of the offices of the President in 2003, the actual furnitures are reproductions of the originals. The entire restoration was conducted in accordance with the original blueprints. The garden is absolutely stunning with a great view over the Pest side. There is no guarantee we can tour the interior when you book a tour in the Buda Castle district but I’ll find a way to show you something just as beautiful as the Sándor Palace.

 

Yes, Pécs is one of my favorite destinations so I’d like to encourage you to book a tour at your earliest convenience. Once you have a look at the pictures below I’m sure you’ll fall in love with the city, too.

Pécs is very unique because the entire Hungarian history is on display in the city’s architecture, spirit and charm. You can learn so much while just walking around the cobblestoned streets.

We start the tour discovering the 1700-year-old Early Christian Necropolis, the well preserved burial chambers of the Romans fron the 4th century. We continue in the 11th century Basilica on Dóm square, an important symbol of the continuous fight of the Hungarians for Christianity. We tour the ruins of the Turkish baths, the only Turkish age mosque in Hungary that has remained intact together with its minaret and the 13th century Catholic church converted into a mosque in the 1540’s and reconverted into a Catholic church in the 1680’s. I’m sure you’ll be surprised to notice the special combination of the Muslim crescent moon and the Christian cross topping the church, reminding us of the peaceful coexistence of different religions. We admire the harmonious Baroque architecture and also have a look at the Vasarely museum.

After the city tour I take you to the Zsolnay quarter, the completely renovated and restored Zsolnay factory buildings where the most beautiful Hungarian porcelain and ceramic products have been manufactured since 1853.