Szentendre is a picturesque town that lounges on the Danube Bend and is an easy day trip from Budapest.
Just 12 miles (19 km) north of Budapest, the cobblestone streets of Szentendre (means Saint Andrew) are filled with art galleries, museums, cafes and restaurants. The first written reference to this charming town of 25,000 residents, was in 1009. In 1926 an artist colony was set up by a group of talented Hungarian artists dubbed ‘The Eight’ and the town claims to be the art capital of Hungary.
Marzipan Museum and Confectionery
We popped into this museum and were delighted with the many colorful exhibits made entirely of marzipan. There was a large marzipan display of the magnificent Hungarian Parliament Buildings as well as statues, books, framed photos, furnishings, musical instruments and creative cakes. And of course there was a tempting gift and candy shop at the end.
Micro Art Museum
This tiny museum displays 15 microscopic works of art by the immensely talented Mykola Syadrysty. Each masterpiece is so tiny a microscope is provided so you are able to see the piece. Most of the pieces are invisible to the naked eye. We took our photos through each microscope so while the details may not be crystal clear we are able to share some of what we saw.
The desert camels and pyramid in the eye of the needle was the largest artwork and the smallest was the lock and key and 5 other objects placed on the tip of a hair. We loved the two swallows flying above their nest. The nest is made of a ½ of a poppy seed and it has 3 chicks peering out. Included in the collection, we saw the smallest book in the world, 0.6 sq mm, with 12 pages of poetry sewn together with thread from a spider web; a carafe and goblets made of gold sitting on a single grain of sugar; a 3mm hair cut lengthwise with ‘Long live peace’ engraved in 5 languages; a chess set on the head of a pin, a map of Australia carved in glass and inserted into half of a poppy seed, the tiniest coca-cola bottle and more. Incredible! We could not contain our ‘Wow’s’ each time we looked into a microscope.
Szentendre Gallery hosts temporary exhibitions in a historic building located on the Main Square. The current show was about Szentendre local live theater over the past 50 years and may be geared more for locals but our all inclusive museum ticket gave us access. We enjoyed seeing theater costumes, boards, posters and photos of various productions over the past 5 decades.
Kovács Margit Ceramics Museum
The art created by Margit Kovács (1902-1977) has gained two new fans. We found her multifaceted oeuvre very appealing. She was a ceramic artist who also carved, moulded pottery, illustrated, painted and more. Her works can be found scattered across Hungary in churches, cathedrals, indoors, outdoors and in public spaces. The museum carries over 300 pieces of her works and we have more than a few favorites.
This local history museum began in 1951 and was named after artist Károly Ferenczy. Today the museum owns a collection of Szentendre’s painting, graphic art, sculpture and contemporary art pieces. One wing of the second floor has a number of winning artworks of The Eight that we enjoyed.
This museum felt more like a gift shop and Christmas exhibit space. We made a fairly quick tour through and were lucky to exit without acquiring any packages. We saw unique and special decorations and accessories, including reindeer, owls, nutcrackers, trees, Santa’s, angels and tree ornaments accessories. This stop certainly reminded us of home and family.
Béla Czóbel Museum
Béla Czóbel (1883-1976) was a prolific Hungarian artist who spent many years painting in Paris, Brussels, Berlin and Szentendre. He was the first Hungarian artist to have a museum dedicated to him in his lifetime. The exhibition titled ‘Czóbel Reconsidered’ can be found in a museum on Church Hill, next to the 14th century Saint János or St John the Baptist Church. We also enjoyed the view of the town from this vantage point.
Interestingly there was one entire room dedicated to the lost and missing art of Bela Czóbel. Posted on one wall was a large notice asking patrons and guests to keep an eye out and help locate his treasured work. There were black and white printed archival copies of some of the missing pieces exhibited.
Two unusual, but interesting, morsels we learned about Szentendre are:
1) there is a local baseball team with an unassuming name – the Szentendre Sleepwalkers Baseball Club and
2) we occasionally hear about famous citizens in the cities we visit and as this is a small town there haven’t been many. For all you heavy metal readers 🤣 there is a band from Las Vegas, Nevada called Five Finger Death Punch or 5FDP that was co-started by a Szentendre local – guitarist Zoltan Bathory.
A tram, metro, train and bus got us from our apartment to the cozy little town of Szentendre. On our return trip we opted to catch the sites from the water by taking a leisurely boat trip back to Budapest. The early evening journey on the Danube lasted just an hour and we passed people sunbathing on riverside beaches and saw dozens of cute summer cottages. Visiting Szentendre was a wonderful way to wrap up our month long visit to this interesting country. Búcsú (farewell) Hungary.
Egészségedre (pronounced: a/geisha/gedra) from these Hungarians,
Ted and Julia
View our Town of Szentendre photo gallery here