Legends and Facts of Kőszeg

About Kőszeg

Here are some legends, interesting facts and special stories about Kőszeg, which are exciting to every visitor, but known only by the locals. We collected some of them and the list is extensive.

Kőszeg, the Town of Mosts”.

  • One of the most beautiful towns of Hungary, Kőszeg is called „The Jewel Box of the Country”.
  • One of the most romantic towns in the country.
  • The oldest town hall in Hungary belongs to Kőszeg.
  • The oldest pub of the country is in Kőszeg.
  • The smallest baroque house is situated on the Fő (Main) Square of Kőszeg (13th Fő (Main) Square  – Today it is a hairdresser’s saloon.)
  • Kőszeg has some of the cleanest air in Hungary. (Healthy, subalpine climate.)
  • Kőszeg has one of the greatest numbers of historic monuments in the country (as Turkish invaders avoided the town, consequently, even the inner town remained undamaged.)
  • This is the most trustworthy town in the country. (Kőszeg has a great tradition of being trustworthy and the locals expect everyone to keep this rule.)
  • This is the most eastern town at the foot of the Alps. (Alpokalja, „the Hungarian Alps”.
  • Kőszeg is one of the most elevated towns in Hungary.
  • The highest point of Western Hungary and Burgenland is situated in Kőszeg, this is Írottkő peak, in the Kőszeg Hills.
  • Here is the first Hungarian Baize, Felt and Tarboosh Factory. (Today, this is the only one in the country.)
  • The first orphanage of Hungary was opened in Kőszeg.

In addition, Kőszeg boasts with several other legends, small niceties and sights that are hiding in the „jewel box”, which well represent the Central European culture and architecture.

King Matthias visited Kőszeg, and spent some nights here too

Today’s Plébánia (Parish House, a so-called „Lada House”) is one of the oldest buildings on Jurisics Square. It was the property of the former city judge of the town, György Lada. The coat-of-arms of Saint Imre are on its wall, together with a coat-of-arms with lions, which is from King Matthias, who used this Czech symbol as well. According to the local legend, the second coat-of-arms was added to the wall when King Matthias was accommodated in the house.

The bells, rung at 11 o’clock, and the Turkish battle

Kőszeg is the only town in Hungary in which the bells are rung at 11 o’clock, and then – as a part of the Hungarian Catholic tradition – they sound at noon too. One of the most famous events of Kőszeg history was the Turkish battle in August 1532. Miklós Jurisics (Nikola Jurišić), captain of the Kőszeg Castle, managed to repel the Turkish army, which aimed to attack Vienna, despite their dominance. According to the legend, the bells at 11 o’clock commemorate the last Turkish soldier leaving the town.

Kőszeg visited by two Emperors (Királyi Napok” Kings’ Days)

In 1893, the Austro-Hungarian monarchy held a large military drill at Kőszeg, in which over 160.000 soldiers participated. (The current population of the town doesn't reach twelve thousand.) The event was visited Austrian Emperor and Hungarian King, Franz Josef I, the Holy Emperor of Germany William II too. Moreover, prime ministers from all over Europe, ministers, attachés, Habsburg and Bavarian royalties, and even the British Queen and one of her sons attended. From the Hungarian side, royalties, priests, delegates of counties and cities and members of the government were among the audience, all dressed in traditional costumes. Franz Josef and William II were hosted in the local Grammar School of Military. Even a royal ball was held to celebrate the event with 200 guests. To guarantee the high standard of the event, the town was given decorative lighting and a bonfire was organized.

The Town Escaped the Bombings of World War II

According to the local legends, Imre Fabos, was the man who saved the town from being destroyed by US Air Force bombings. Thanks to him, the town could preserve its original, historic town center. Imre Fabos was raised in Kőszeg, in the first orphanage of Hungary. Then he went to the school of the Order of Saint Benedict. In World War II, he served in the American Army on the European Battlefield. In Kőszeg, several legends exist about how he prevented the American Air Force from bombing the town. Any of these legends could possibly be true.

According to one of the legends, he was ordered to bomb the town, but he denied it due to his relationship with Kőszeg.

Some locals think that he was the captain of the bombing squads. When they arrived at Kőszeg, he willingly gave the wrong coordinates to the bombers and the bombs fell outside the city.

Another version of the story says that he was the commander of the Sicilian Airbase and he ordered the pilots not to bomb Kőszeg.

Some mention that Fabos was a pilot himself and he willingly let the bombs fall outside of the town.

It does not matter which version is valid, the town can be thankful to Imre Fabos for escaping from the waves of bombings and we and our descendants can enjoy the buildings of our ancestors in an undamaged form.

(With the team of KoszegINFO.com we try to uncover the roots of this legend and publish the valid information.)

The Town of Trust” – Honesty box

Outstandingly in Hungary, Kőszeg is the only town where so-called „honesty boxes” are in operation. The fruit, vegetables and flowers, grown in the gardens of the local families, are hanged on the fence or put on a small chair („stokedli”) on the streets and a money box is put next to them. The buyers take the product and put their money into the money box – it is very impolite to leave without paying. Kőszeg has had this tradition for centuries and this rule is kept by everyone.

The team of KőszegINFO.com aims to discover new legends and fact and introduce Kőszeg in an innovative way.