Kőszeg is one of the rare cities with its old city walls still standing. Kőszeg’s defining characteristic is that it is a castle-town, thus in the past, the only entrance to its old town was by crossing over a moat. Jurisics Square could be reached through the Southern Gate over the moat – from today’s Fő (Main) Square. Jurisics Square’s structure still preserves its medieval form but its facade is Baroque. This used to be the most important square of the town: market place, assembly place, and place of execution.
The former Southern Gate was the most important entrance to the town; today it is the Heroes’ Gate built in 1932. If you click on the link you can learn more about the Heroes’ Gate.
Entering the square via Heroes’ Gate on the left there are the administration and law enforcement buildings, in the middle are the ecclesiastic buildings, and on the right are the civilian houses. The Town Hall of Kőszeg is the oldest town hall in Hungary, which has been operating as a town hall since the 14th century.
The House Lada or Parish House used to be the home of György Lada, the former city judge. It is one of the oldest and most beautiful Baroque buildings with a richly ornamented facade.
The Generalhaus (General House) is located between the Heroes’ Gate and the Town Hall. The all-time General of Cavalry Garrison was accommodated in the building. The 17th century Renaissance loggia facing the square was restored.
On the right side of the Heroes’ Gate there is the so-called Lábas Ház (Legged House), the only building in the country with a double-archway. The former city wall forms the back of this Baroque building. Originally it was a ballroom, today it hosts the City Archives.
The most famous civil house on the right side of the square is the Sgraffito House. Read more on the link: Sgraffito House. A few blocks away there is the Arany Egyszarú Patikamúzeum (Golden Unicorn Pharmacy Museum), which is referred to as the most beautiful pharmacy in Europe. Its furniture was made in Baroque style from walnut, oak and lime wood.
In the middle of the square there is the Statue of Mary (1739) and the romantic, well-ornamented city well from 1766.
Another unique characteristic of the square is that there are two churches right next to each other. The reason for this is that Kőszeg was a German-Hungarian bilingual town for a long time. Up until the 16-17th centuries the two nationalities used one church together but then the Hungarian Protestants built a new church (Saint Imre) next to the old one (Saint Jacob). The latter has been used only by Kőszegers of German origin.
Another fun fact is that one part of the square is now higher than the other. This can be observed on many buildings next to the Town Hall because their former entrance is below the current surface e.g.: Bécsikapu Restaurant, houses opposite of Saint Jacob and Saint Imre Churches.