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Szolnok

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Szolnok is in the middle of the Great Hungarian Plain, is the self-proclaimed capital of the river Tisza, the gate of Nagykunság, and the county seat of Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok County.

Understand

Szolnok is a small city 100 km east-southeast of Budapest on the Great Hungarian Plain. As it lies at the confluence of the rivers Tisza and Zagyva, the first bridge over the Tisza was built here and the second railway route in Hungary led to this city, invading armies of all sorts attacked and destroyed this infrastructural center over its history (it was bombed twelve times during the Second World War alone). It also means that Szolnok lacks any historical buildings older than the 18th century, and socialist realism had its impact on its architecture. The city, which had often been described as ugly, started to go under an ongoing major reconstruction in the mid-2000s which resulted in some pleasant public squares around the city. Szolnok also acts as the cultural center of the neighboring regions.

Climate

The coldest month in Szolnok is January while the hottest is July with an average difference of 22.6°C. The yearly precipitation is 495 mm on average. The most rainy months are May and June with almost double precipitation than in January, February, and March. The number of sunny hours is around 2025 a year but can show great fluctuation each year. The months with most sunshine are the ones during the summer (with 260-280 hours a month) while the ones with the least are November, December, and January (50-75 hours a month).

Tourist information

  • 1 Tourinform - Szolnok, Kossuth tér 9., ☏ +36 56 420-704, ✉ szolnok@tourinform.hu. At the address M-Th 08:00-16:00, P 08:00-13:00; in the kiosk on Kossuth tér P 13:00-17:00.

A free, mainly Hungarian program magazine for the region called Szolnoki Est is published fortnightly.

Get in

By plane

Although Szolnok has two airports, neither is open to civilian traffic. It is, however, between two of Hungary's international airports, Budapest Liszt Ferenc International Airport (BUD, 82 km) and Debrecen International Airport (DEB, ca. 130 km). From both airports you may take Route 4 by car or railway 100a/100 to reach Szolnok, albeit in opposite directions.

By car

Szolnok is not on any major highways but you can take Route 4 all the way from Budapest or choose M5 highway and leave it at Exit 44 on Route 405 which connects it to Route 4. The former choice is shorter while the latter one (the European route E60) is faster.

By train

There are two functioning railway stations in Szolnok:

  • Szolnok railway station (Szolnok-Szolnok vasútállomás), Jubileum tér 1-3. (available by buses 2Y, 6, 6Y, 7, 7Y, 8, 8Y, 13, 13Y, 15, K15, 16, 17, 24, 24A, 27, 28, 38). This is the main railway station of the city.
  • 2 Abonyi út railway station (Abonyi út megálló). In outer Szolnok, this station is only used to connect the farms there to Szolnok and the neighbouring villages.

Szolnok is a major rail junction and there are frequent trains going to and from Budapest as well as points north, south and east. Two railways lead to Szolnok from Budapest: line 100a—the second oldest railway line in Hungary established in 1847—from Budapest-Nyugati station through Cegléd and Abony which continues as line 100 to Debrecen, Nyíregyháza, and Ukraine and line 120a from Budapest-Keleti through Nagykáta and Újszász which goes on as 120 to Békéscsaba and Romania. On both lines, the distance from the capital is 100 km long but the time your journey will take may differ from 1 hour 18 minutes to 1 hour 55 minutes depending on the type of the train and the time of the day. Also, don't expect the trains to be on time. The terminus of the trains from Budapest are either Szolnok, Záhony (border to Ukraine), Lőkösháza (border to Romania), Szentes, or abroad. Other lines starting or ending at Szolnok are 86 and 145 which mean further direct connections to Hatvan, Kiskunfélegyháza, Vámosgyörk, and Kecskemét. The lines are all operated by MÁV.

Get around

By car

Around the city, there are usually enough parking places at any time of the day. In 2007, there was a major change in the order of traffic (the main square was closed from cars) so make sure that your map is up to date.

By bus

Buses are the only available public transport method. They are mostly in a reasonably good shape, and some of the vehicles have air-conditioning. The northern part of the city is better covered than the southern one. Buses during the night are very rare. At bus stops, you can find small maps next to the timetables that help you decide which bus to get on.

You should get on the bus at the front door and show your pass to the driver. If you have a ticket, chances are that you should give the ticket to the driver who will then validate it but in some cases the validating machine is outside the driver's cabin—in that case it is your job to do it. Some buses have electronic machines (put your ticket into the slot horizontally and it prints on it) while in some cases, there is a mechanic one (put your ticket into it vertically and pull the black part). You should get off the bus at one of the rear doors.

A line-ticket costs 270 Ft when bought at a newspaper stand and 350 Ft if bought on the bus from the driver. A one-day pass is 1,050 Ft, while a one-week pass is 2,000 Ft. They are available at the ticket offices at the bus station and next to the train station.

See

Although, Szolnok is not abundant in general tourist attractions, you may found several sites interesting depending on your interests.

Exhibitions

  • 1 Art colony (Művésztelep), Gutenberg tér 12., ☏ +36 56 230-605, fax: +36 56 230-605, ✉ szolnoki@muvtelep.t-online.hu. Founded in 1902, this art colony has one of the longest traditions in Hungary. Among others, Sándor Bihari, Adolf Fényes, Vilmos Aba-Novák, József Koszta, and Zoltán Borbereki Kovács worked here. It holds exhibitions and biennales regularly. On the grounds of the colony, an artificial ruin can be found, built of the stones of the castle that once stood there.
  • 2 Aviation museum (Indóház) (RepTár, Szolnoki Repülőmúzeum), Indóház út 4-6., ☏ +36 56 781-530, fax: +36 56 781-539, ✉ reptar@reptar.hu. Tu-Su 10:00-18:00. A museum dedicated to military aviation history in and around the 3 former Szolnok railway station (Indóház). One of the oldest railway station buildings in Hungary, which opened on 1 Sep 1847. Some of the features are available only for extra fee. Tu-F: adults Ft 2000, student/retired: Ft 1000, 0–6/70+: free; Sa Su: adults Ft 2500, student/retired Ft 1250, 0–6/70+ free.
  • 4 Beer Museum (Sörárium, Sörmúzeum), Kossuth tér 9. (in the building of the City Hall, accessible from the square), ☏ +36 20 282-8822, fax: +36 56 372-865. Tu-Su 10:00-18:00. A museum dedicated to beer-making. The attendance to the bar which is part of the museum is free. Guided tours are available for groups of max. 10 people for Tu-F Ft 2000, SaSu Ft 2500. Tu-F: adults Ft 1000, student/retired 500 Ft, Children under 6 free; Sa Su: adults Ft 1200, student/retired Ft 700, children under 6 free.
  • 5 Gallery (Synagogue, Szolnoki Galéria), Templom utca 2., ☏ +36 56 513-640, ✉ szolnokigaleria@externet.hu. Tu-Su 09:00-17:00. The synagogue was built in 1898–99 by Lipót Baumhorn in late Eclectic style and functioned as the Jewish house of prayer until the 1940s. The building was bought and reconstructed by the city in the 1960s, since 1972 it is the city gallery. It offers seasonal exhibitions. Adults Ft 300, students/soldiers/retired Ft 150, children under 6 free (further reductions available).
  • 6 János Damjanich Museum (Damjanich János Múzeum), Kossuth tér 4., ☏ +36 56 421-602, +36 56 510-150, fax: +36 56 510-151, ✉ titkarsag@djm.hu. Tu-Su 09:00-17:00. The local museum has ethnographic, archeological, and seasonal exhibitions, as well as a gallery of pictures from the art colony. The building itself (built in 1860 by Lajos Obermayer) was once the Hungarian Royal Hotel (Magyar Királyi Szálló). Adults Ft 300, students/soldiers/retired Ft 150, children under 6 free (further reductions available).
  • 7 Open-Air Water Museum (Szabadtéri Vízügyi Múzeum), Milléri szivattyútelep, ☏ +36 56 375-111. Pre-registration is necessary.
  • 8 Tabán Country House Museum (Tabáni Tájház), Tabán 24., ☏ +36 70 943-5960, ✉ mocsarymag@freemail.hu. May-Sep: Th-Su 13:00-17:00. Built in 1930 in the city's oldest (17th century) district. It was built as a fisherman's home. It has been preserved in that state. Adults Ft 300, students/soldiers/retired Ft 150, children under 6 free (further reductions available).

Places of worship

  • 9 Franciscan church and monastic quarter (Belvárosi plébániatemplom és kolostor, Nagytemplom, Szentháromság római katolikus templom, Trinity Roman Catholic Church), Templom út 8.. This former Franciscan church is the city's most important monument. It was built between 1724 and 1757 in Baroque style based on the design by G.B. Carlone. The quarter is from the same period.
  • 10 Our Lady of Hungary Church (Magyarok Nagyasszonya templom, Castle Church, Vártemplom), Szent István tér. The Castle Church was built by Ferenc Homályossy in 1822–24 in Classicist style of the stones of the castle and the ruin of the Turkish buildings that once stood there. Behind the church there is a statue of John of Nepomuk (Nepomuki Szent János szobra). The statue is from 1804.
  • 11 Reformed church (Református templom), Tiszaparti sétány 1. (entrance from Templom út), ☏ +36 56 376-810, ✉ reformatusegyhaz.szolnok@eposta.hu. The building—finished in 1894—was designed by Ottó Sztehlo in neo-Gothic style. The pulpit was made of larch wood.
  • 12 Saint Francis Xavier Chapel (Xavéri Szent Ferenc-kápolna) (corner of Ady Endre út and Kápolna utca). It was built in 1733 after a plague epidemic ended.

Miscellaneous

  • 13 City Hall (Városháza), Kossuth tér 9., ☏ +36 56 503-503, toll-free: +36 80 200-460, fax: +36 56 503-504, ✉ szolnokph@ph.szolnok.hu. It was built in 1884 in Eclectic style on the place where Lajos Kossuth performed one of his famous military recruiting speeches on 27 Sep 1848.
  • 14 County Hall (Megyeháza), Kossuth út 2.. Designed by Károly Benkő, it was built in 1878 in Eclectic style. In its backyard there is a rose garden (Rózsakert, Rozárium) (between Verseghy Park and the central Tisza bridge). The garden presents 300 rose species that are indigenous to Hungary.
  • 15 Szigligeti Theatre (Szigligeti Színház), Táncsics Mihály utca 20., ☏ +36 56 342-633, ✉ szigligeti@chello.hu. Although it was built before 1912, it received its current stately facade in 1991. The building is heated by thermal water.
  • Tisza blooming (tiszavirágzás). In mid and late June the Tisza produces swarms of mayflies which are likened to flowers. They're famous for living only for 1–2 days.
  • 16 Tiszavirág bridge (Tiszavirág híd). The longest footbridge in Central Europe (built in 2009–10) connects the city center (Tiszai hajósok tere) with the Tiszaliget where the lido and other sport facilities are found. The bridge resembles a mayfly (hence the name). It was built with the intention to create a new symbol for the city.
  • 17 Turkish bridge (török kori híd) (at the confluence of the Tisza and Zagyva, on the left side of the latter). The remains of the first permanent bridge over the river Tisza (made of wood in the 16th century) can only be seen when the river reaches extreme low levels.

Do

  • Battle of Szolnok (szolnoki csata). Although Szolnok has been destroyed by armies countless times, the battle of the war of independence against the Habsburgs on 5 Mar 1849 is remembered as a victory of the Hungarians. The battle is performed in costumes every March by about 200 people. Free admission.
  • Fishing. Fishing in Szolnok is very popular as it has two rivers and three lakes that are suitable for that. (Tisza and Zagyva, Alcsi-Holt-Tisza—an oxbow lake of Tisza, Csónakázó-tó in Tiszaliget, and a fishing lake in Millér.) For permissions and further information contact the Közép-Tiszavidéki Horgászegyesületek Szövetsége, Tabán 9., ☏ +36 56 512-610, fax: +36 56 512-614, ✉ info@kozeptisz.t-online.hu. M-Th 08:00-14:00, F 08:00-12:00.
  • Goulash Festival (Gulyásfesztivál, Nemzetközi Gulyásfőző és Hagyományőrző Fesztivál) (in Tiszaliget), ☏ +36 56 514-364, +36 56 898-067, fax: +36 56 514-364, ✉ info@magyargulyas.hu. Held since 1999, the festival attracts a thousand teams every year made up of Hungarians and foreigners, professionals and amateurs, co-workers, friends and families which compete for the title "Goulash King of Hungary". It is an excellent occasion to try Hungarian cuisine.
  • Medical thermal spa at Hotel Tisza (Tisza Szálló és Gyógyfürdő), Verseghy park 2., ☏ +36 56 510-850, fax: +36 56 421-520, ✉ reserve@hoteltisza.hu. M-F 07:00-16:00. Adults Ft 1500, students/retired Ft 1000.
  • 1 Thermal Spa and Experience Bath (Liget, Tiszaligeti Termálstrand és Élményfürdő, Lido), Tiszaligeti sétány, ☏ +36 56 379-701, fax: +36 56 513-785, ✉ info@szolnokfurdok.hu. M-F 05:45-20:00, Sa Su 8:00-20:00. The lido has sport pools, massage, fitness, and sauna facilities, thermal and medical water. One-day ticket prices: adults Ft 1650, students/retired Ft 1045.
  • Tiszavirág Festival (Tiszavirág Fesztivál) (by the Tisza bank in the city centre). Annual cultural and music festival with exhibitions of brewery and folk art etc. organized since 2006 in June. Free admission.

Buy

A large shopping area can be found at the junction of Routes 4 and 442 (address: Felső Szandai rét 1-9.) indcluding an Auchan, an Aldi, a Praktiker, an OBI, a MediaMarkt, and a line of fashion stores (Family Center).

Markets:

  • 1 Market Hall (Vásárcsarnok), Ady Endre út 11., ✉ info@szollak.hu.

Shopping centers:

  • 2 Pelikán Bevásárlóközpont, Ady Endre út 15. (above the bus station), ☏ +36 56 372-882, ✉ iroda@pelikanbk.hu.
  • Szolnok Plaza, Ady Endre út 28/A, ☏ +36 56 506-501, ✉ szolnokplaza@klepierre.com. The city's only multiplex cinema is here. All titles are either dubbed (denoted by mb) or subtitled (f) in Hungarian.

Eat

  • 1 Árkád Étterem, Magyar út 1., ☏ +36 70 515-6600. Menu: Ft 790.
  • 2 Bajnok Étterem, Baross utca 3., ☏ +36 56 421-089, ✉ info@bajnoketterem.hu. 11:30-22:00.
  • 3 Dreher Étterem Söröző, Baross utca 7., ☏ +36 56 424-706, ✉ info@dreheretterem.hu. M-Sa 11:00-22:00. Menu: Ft 930.
  • 4 Evezős Csárda, Vízpart körút 1., ☏ +36 56 344-857. 06:00-22:00.
  • 5 Galéria Étterem, Szapáry út 1. (at the Gallery and Tiszavirág bridge), ☏ +36 56 513-053, +36 30 249-3194, fax: +36 56 513-054, ✉ galeriaetterem@galeriaetterem.hu. Menu: Ft 990.
  • 6 Halászcsárda, Damjanich út 1. (entrance from Szabadság tér at the Tisza bridge), ☏ +36 56 429-519, +36 20 974-7342. H-Sa 11:00-23:00, Su 11:00-17:00. Halászcsárda is known for its fish dishes. Menu: Ft 850.
  • 7 Nádas Étterem, Petőfi Sándor utca 6., ☏ +36 56 421-242.
  • 8 New York Cafe & Bistro, Kossuth tér 3., ☏ +36 20 500-5347, ✉ info@newyorkbistro.hu. M-Tu, Su 10:00-22:00, F-Sa 10:00-23:00. Menu: Ft 850.

Drink

The city is all quiet after dark, only a few night clubs and pubs wait for visitors during the night.

  • 1 Boomerang Club, Szapáry utca 24., ☏ +36 20 358 2204, ✉ info@boomerangclub.hu. F-Su 21:00-05:00.

Sleep

  • 1 Garden Hotel, Tiszaliget, ☏ +36 56 520-530, fax: +36 56 520-540, ✉ gardenhotel@t-online.hu. Also wellness and conference venue. From Ft 19 900/room/night.
  • 2 Hotel Tisza (Tisza Szálló és Gyógyfürdő), Verseghy park 2., ☏ +36 56 510-850, fax: +36 56 421-520, ✉ reserve@hoteltisza.hu. From 17,900 Ft/room/night.
  • 3 Liget Hotel, Tiszaligeti sétány 1., ☏ +36 56 515-043, fax: +36 56 376-003, ✉ ligethotel@szolf.hu. From Ft 8300/room/night.
  • 4 Pelikán Bed & Breakfast (Pelikán Vendégház), Jászkürt út 1., ☏ +36 70 779-8295, ✉ info@pelikanbb.hu. Check-in: from 14:00, check-out: by 10:00. From 8,000 Ft/room/night.

Connect

The city provides free Wi-Fi on the main square (Kossuth tér) for two hours a day per device.

The telephone country code of Hungary is +36, while the area code of Szolnok is 56.

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