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Ópusztaszer National Heritage Park

National Heritage Park
Ópusztaszer
Szeged region

When walking through the Ópusztaszer National Heritage Park, it is easy to understand the historic moment when the Magyars, as a nomadic people of Asiatic origin, finally settled in Europe in the 890s, next to the Frankish Empire. You can even try living like the ancestors of modern Hungarians.

According to an unnamed Hungarian historiographer living in the 12th century, and known as Anonymus, when the Magyars arrived in Europe, in the Carpathian Basin, their leader, Árpád, called an assembly of tribal chiefs in the location where the municipality of Ópusztaszer can be found today. Legends tell that it was at this assembly that the Principality of Hungary was founded and the first laws were enacted. With perhaps a little exaggeration, we can say that it was here that the first Hungarian national assembly was held. Starting from the 10th century, the municipality enjoyed continuous growth, but was depopulated by the attacks of the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century. The location where the Principality of Hungary was founded was lost to history until the end of the 19th century. In celebration of the millennial anniversary of the foundation of the Hungarian state and its thousand-year existence, the Árpád memorial was constructed in Ópusztaszer in 1896 in honor of the first “national assembly”. If you would like to experience these more than 1100 years old historic moments, be sure to visit the most important building of the Heritage Park, the Rotunda. It is here that the most interesting painting of Hungary is held. The painting, entitled the Arrival of the Hungarians, is, to this day, the largest Hungarian painting, with a length of 120 meters and a height of 15 meters. Árpád Feszty and his team have finished the monumental artwork in 1894; the painting is interesting because, when stretched out in a circular space, it provides a three-dimensional view of the conquest: the moment when the Magyar tribes, led by Árpád, enter the Carpathian Basin at Verecke Pass. Its spatiality is enhanced by the studio established in front of the painting, making it feel like the scene is taking place in real space. It is a guaranteed time travel to 896! Appearances, of course, can be deceiving, as Árpád’s face hide the features of the painter himself.

 

The cyclorama was originally exhibited in Budapest and was moved to Ópusztaszer a hundred years later, in 1995, after Polish restaurateurs magnificently restored it.

Rotunda exhibitions, Nomad park and Skanzen

 

 

The exhibitions of the Rotunda hold many other opportunities for time travel. By choosing the Promenade, you can travel back to the small towns and large cities of turn-of-the-century Hungary, but there are also destinations to be found from the age of the Hungarian conquest and the medieval era. However, if you are interested in the 10th century settlement of Ópusztaszer, you can visit and get a look at the everyday life of local residents.

 

But what happens if you fell in love with the centuries of time travel and feel like staying? The Nomad park provides an opportunity for those thus inclined. Museum educational courses introduce visitors to authentic yurts (the circular felt tents in which the nomadic Magyars lived in Asia) and the secrets of archery. These courses are not only for children!

 

The Ópusztaszer Skanzen was also established in the 1970s, creating a perfectly authentic atmosphere of an imagined village and market town in the Southern Great Hungarian Plain. You can wander through the world of the 19th-20th century Great Hungarian Plain by way of the old folk houses that were moved here, the town hall of a market town, and the industrial buildings and workshops.

MOVE AROUND LIKE A HUNGARIAN