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Downtown - Győr, Hungary

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GPS coordinates: Latitude 47°41'16", Longitude 17°37'56" (N47 41.27 - E17 37.93)

Information, short stories, interesting facts

The southern door of the Basilica of Győr, near the gothic Héderváry Chapel - Győr, Hungary The southern door of the Basilica of Győr, near the gothic Héderváry Chapel

On the southern side of the Győr Cathedral (or Győr Basilica) there is the gothic Héderváry Chapel which was added to the church in 1404. Here is kept the well known Herm of Saint Ladislaus, namely a medieval reliquary of King Ladislaus I of Hungary (in Hungarian "Szent László", 1046-1095). This is one of the masterpieces of Hungarian goldsmith's art, as well as a highly important national relic in one (it follows the Hungarian Holy Crown and St. Stepehn's Holy Dexter).

In 1406 the original wooden reliquary was destroyed in a fire, but the skull of the holy king remained intact. The current herm or herma consists of the silverplate-covered skull relic of St. Ladislaus King of Hungary who died in 1095 and was canonized in 1192, embedded in a bust-like gilded (gold-plated) silver alloy reliquary. The statue supposedly a true representation of the former monarch's facial features. Interestingly the reliquary can be opened on its top to let the worshipers to even touch the skull bone of the saint.

So during the reign of King Sigismund of Luxemburg the Saint Ladislaus' Herm was created from the skull that survived the fire, but later the story of the reliquary took more adventurous twists and turns as well. After some changes in the ownership the episcopate of Győr took the bust statue in 1606. Then it was restored in Prague, and at the same time the formerly four-pronged gothic crown was modified to ten-pronged, as can be seen today. However, during the conversion the former gemstones were replaced to less valuable Czech garnets, quartz and glass. During the 150 years of Ottoman (Turkish) occupation of Hungary the reliquary was kept in the castle of Borostyánkő (today Bernstein, Austria), then it was brought back to Győr. In the 15th century the jaw of the holy king was brought to Bologna, Italy, as well as a part of the occipital bone was given to the Cathedral of Nagyvárad (in Romanian Oradea, today in Romania) as a donation, because after St. Ladislaus died he was buried in Nagyvárad.

According to the legends, the worship of the St. Ladislas relic is related to the earthquake of 1762. At that time the people prayed for help to St. Ladislaus. The town was survived and the bishop ordered to ceremoniously carry the relic around the town every year. Since then the habit of the procession was suspended only in the Communist era between 1950-1989, and now the tradition is still existing.

The origin of the world "herm" should be quite astounding in the context of a national relic: initially in the sculpture or statuary the ancient Greek word "herma" ment such a rectangular stone column that has only the head and the phallus (penis) carved out. Anyway, considering the St. Ladislaus' Herm for understandable reasons the latter isn't true.

Pedestrian area with flowering oleander bushes - Győr, Hungary Pedestrian area with flowering oleander bushes

There is a yellow two-story building at the corner of the Bécsi Kapu Square and the Kazinczy Street (at 14 Bécsi Kapu Square), the very first coffeehouse of Győr was opened here in the second half of the 18th century.

The vaulted gate of the Sforza Courtyard ("Sforza-udvar"), and the Statue of Nimrod on the right - Győr, Hungary The vaulted gate of the Sforza Courtyard ("Sforza-udvar"), and the Statue of Nimrod on the right

The Sforza Courtyard in Győr is actually the interior of the so-called Sforza half-bastion of the medieval castle wall from 16th-century, from the square it can be reached through a 16-meter-long and 3-meter-wide tunnel. Today there is a Stone Collection of Modern Times ("Újkori Kőtár") in this small square, including among others city gate remains from the renaissance age and other relics from the castle history. After leaving the yard the Casemates of the Győr Castle ("Bishop's Castle") can be reached, including the artworks of the Lapidarium (Stone Collection) of the Ancient Roman Age ("Római Kori Kőtár").

At the gate of the Sforza Yard there is a statue called "Nimrod" or "Wild animal rescue", it was created by József Somogyi in 1983 in memory of the wild animal rescue in Ásványráró in 1954.

"Boy in a boat" (or "Nostalgia for the bygone era") bronze statue on the pedestrian street at night - Győr, Hungary "Boy in a boat" (or "Nostalgia for the bygone era") bronze statue on the pedestrian street at night

Győr is ofthen called "the city of the rivers", because not less than four rivers (Moson-Danube, Rába, Rábca, Marcal) crosses it. Probably that's what the statue in Győr downtown in the middle of a crossroads wants to refer, however the "Boy in a boat" statue is a little bit astounding on a pedestrian mall. Moreover, it is almost impossible to find out the other, original name of the statue: "Nostalgia for the bygone era". It stands in the intersection of the Baross Gábor Streat and the Arany János Street and it was created by the Hungarian sculptor Iván Paulikovics in 1997.

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