Walking Tour: Szeged
- Start Széchenyi tér
- End Heroes’ Gate
- Length 1.8km; one hour
Begin your walking tour of Szeged in Széchenyi tér, a square so large it’s almost a park.
On the southeast side under the plane and linden trees, the Pál Vásarhelyi monument immortalises the man who designed the regulation of the Tisza River. Marble plaques on the plinth indicate the high-water levels of floods in 1970 and 2006. You'll also see statues of the navvies who did the actual work. On the west side of the square is the neobaroque town hall, with its bizarre, top-heavy tower and colourful tiled roof. Take a quick detour north of the square to the Gróf Palace, a Secessionist office building completed in 1913. Just around the corner are the Anna Baths, which you might consider returning to when you’ve finished the walk.
Pedestrian Kárász utca leads south through redesigned Klauzál tér. Turn west on Kölcsey utca and walk for about 100m to the Reök Palace, a mind-blowing green-and-lilac art nouveau structure (1907) that looks like an aquarium decoration. It now serves as an exhibition space and cafe.
Further south, Kárász utca meets Dugonics tér, site of the Attila József Science University (abbreviated to JATE in Hungarian), named after its most famous alumnus. József (1905–37), a much-loved poet, was actually expelled from here in 1924 for writing the verse 'I have no father and I have no mother/I have no God and I have no country' during the ultraconservative rule of Admiral Miklós Horthy. A music fountain in the square plays at irregular intervals throughout the day.
From the southeast corner of Dugonics tér, walk along Jókai utca into Aradi vértanúk tere. Heroes’ Gate to the south was erected in 1936 in honour of Horthy’s White Guards, who were responsible for 'cleansing' the nation of 'reds' after the ill-fated Republic of Councils in 1919. The fascistic murals have disappeared (replaced with some 'nice' but amateurish ones), but the brutish sculptures are still a sight to behold.