The WAYFARER’S JOURNAL
Z E B E G É N Y
Back in September I went on a journey with my father. My aim was to further explore north of Budapest, mainly the picturesque historical town of Zebegény, located on the east bank of the river Danube and visiting the newly built lookout tower on the hilltop overlooking the breathtaking view of the Danube Bend.
We took a 55 minutes long train ride from Budapest Nyugati Railway station all the way up to Zebegény station. This Budapest – Szob railway line was the first steam locomotive railway line of Hungary that was built in 1846. It’s fascinating to see how the scenery changes; the grey industrial districts slowly turn into hilly woodlands crowned by the majestic peaks of the Börzsöny Mountain.
Zebegény train station at the foot of the Börzsöny mountain
After arriving to the station we walked down to the river bank where we munched on some delicious lángos while observed the locals fishing quietly. Ready for the hike, we began walking up Calvary Hill. Upon reaching the hilltop we had a little break at the Trianon Memorial. We passed the Hill Cave Chapel as we were making our way to our journey’s destination; the Charles Kós lookout tower.
The town of Zebegény goes all the way back to the 8th century. Records show that in the 13th century there stood a Benedictine monastery in the village’s riverbank. In the medieval ages the settlement had been almost destroyed during the fighting with the Turks. The decline of the Hungarian populace was the result of the constant battles, raids, famines and plagues during the 150 years of the Ottoman invasion. In the early 1700s the Austro-Hungarian Crown enrolled German-, Hungarian- and Slavic-speaking settlers to inhabit the region in order to restore farming along the river Danube, as well as allowing Zebegény to thrive again. If you look closely you can still spot the old farmsteads that belonged to the Danouschwabian settlers.
Famous sights of the the town include Our Lady of the Snows Roman Catholic church, the 18th century Hill Cave Chapel, Trianon Memorial, the Charles Kós lookout tower, the Dőry Manor, the seven-hole railway viaduct and the István Szőnyi museum, former home of the artist and painter.
If you ever have the opportunity to see this part of Hungary, make sure to explore this beautiful village and the natural resort area they call the Danube Bend. You will not regret it.
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I’ll be posting more photos of this trip