The Daily Travel Pass (1,040 HUF / £2.90) is great for visiting d.i.y shops, tourist spots and other places of interest.
It is valid on trolley buses, local buses and trams in and around Szeged city centre. A single ticket costs 320 HUF (89p).
The Correct Change Bureau De Change, located at Tisza Lajos Körút 57 (Szeged city centre), has excellent exchange rates. They have branches in Budapest too.
It's worth taking a tram/bus into the city centre because you will still receive more money than outside the city centre.
Szeged is home to the fourth largest synagogue in the world and the second largest synagogue in Hungary, known simply as The New Synagogue. It was designed by Lipót Baumhorn (28.12.1860 - 08.07.1932) and built in late 1903 in moorish-art nouveau (Islamic), Gothic and Roman styles (collective known as: Sezession) and is now head office for the Jewish community. With that said, due to the decline of the jewish community in Szeged over the years the synagogue is rarely used for religious purposes these days and is used more for events and as a concert hall.
The synagogue's size is almost 49 meters high, 35 meters wide and 48 meters in length with the inside dome rising to 32 meters above the main hall. The synagogue seats 700 people on the ground floor and 600 people on the second floor galleries. However impressive these statistics are though, as a tourist you will enjoy and marvel at the synagogue's overall exterior, colourful interior, dome architecture, 2,317 piped organ (with 42 registers and 2 keyboards) and Hebrew inscriptive columns emphasising work, good deeds and culture; foundations of Jewish ethics.
The dome and its painted (not stained) glasswork were created by 'stain glass and mosaic artist' Miksa Róth (26.12.1865 - 14.06.1944). As you enter the synagogue look to the left and right of the aisle and you will see the painted windows that represent religious events, history and the jewish torah. One side tells of good happenings and the other side tells of bad happenings.
The painted glass windows represent religious events, history and the torah
When you look at the painted glass windows you might not believe they are very old, but they are, because they look freshly painted. The colours are very nice and bright, as are the synagogue's overall blues; the colour scheme is very calming.
Looking up to the ceiling you can not miss the beautiful dome, which symbolises the world - The 24 columns of the drum of the cupola represent the 24 Hours in a day, the Briar (bush flowers on a blue background) represents Faith, the greenish-brown ornamentation represents Vegetation and the blue area represents the stars and sky (collectively: infinite space). In the middle of the dome is the 'Star Of David' surrounded by the sun's golden rays, which can be illuminated.
The dome symbolises 24 Hrs, Faith, Vegetation, Sun, Stars, Sky and Space
The photos on this web page do not show the synagogue's true beauty, due to the enormous size of the dome and aisle. On top of this the synagogue is very dark inside. You need to put a 100 Ft coin into the electricity meter, which I and others did, in order to light up the synagogue for a couple of minutes; The 100 Ft acts a kind of donation. Even so, my camera was still having difficulties in the available light, unfortunately. As you will see if you visit though, the synagogue is much more beautiful close up and in person, regardless of light or lack of it.
When you go through the main doors leading into the aisle, it is at that moment you will say WOW! The grandeur of the place and attention to deal is fascinating. Once again, the photos here do not show that WOW factor, but believe me, it is there in person.
To truly appreciate the grandeur and attention to detail you need a person visit
In August 2015 the interior of the new synagogue was renovated and in September 2016 its exterior was being renovated. When I went there in May 2015 the ceiling above the aisle for example was still undergoing renovation work due to falling plasterwork. And at that time they said tourists could not visit the synagogue due to the renovation, but our tour guide E-mail ElizabethElizabeth (Tasnádi Zsike) from the E-mail The Szeged Tourism OfficeSzeged Tourist office had special permission to take tourists around. Here is an excellent YouTube video of Szeged New Synagogue VideoThe New Synagogue.
With a new exterior renovation underway, now in 2017, you can stil visit the inside of the new synagogue; as I have just done in order to update some of the photos on this web page.
Close-up, the new synagogue is even more impressive to look at.
There is so much information on the Internet about the New Synagogue, too much to cover here, that I suggest you too take a tour of the synagogue with a tour guide from the Szeged Tourist office. For 1,200 HUF (£3.20), which includes the 600 HUF to enter the synagogue, I think the one hour tour is value for money.
The tour I took with Elizabeth started by explaining the flood of 1879, which is significant to the Old Synagogue on the left side of the New Synagogue. It shows the line where the flood water came up to whereby the line and the Old Synagogue tell their own story - A story I will leave for your tour guide to explain!
Elizabeth then tells the fascinating story about the relevance of the trees outside the New Synagogue, the colour of the flowers and the baby garden before explaining about the interior of the synagogue.
The queen and religion are the reason why so many trees are around
One of the first things you notice immediately after entering the new synagogue are the marble memorial plaques and two black coffins that commemorate the Holocaust victims of the World War II concentration camps.
The synagogue entrance commemorates the Holocaust and World War II victims
These days the new synagogue, with its excellent acoustics and organ, is used to hold special music events. Equally, the old synagogue is now used as a theatre. These have been gradual developments through the years due to the decline in Jewish population in Szeged, unfortunately. Fortunately, at least these buildings have been put to some good use and now have funding for renovation work.
If you are not interested in religion and/or the history of the synagogues, for whatever reason(s), you can still enjoy a masterpiece of internal and external architecture for the price of a coffee or two. And if you are in Szeged's city centre there is no real reason not to visit the synagogues.
August 2018: The newly renovated exterior
Adults - 1,200 HUF (£3.35)
Students - 600 HUF (£1.67)
Guided Tour - 1,800 HUF (£5.03) - In addition to above entrance fee.
Tickets include the tourist guide (brochure), which is in English - If there are no visitors in the Synagogue, a tourist guide can be found at Jósika Utca 12. About 30 meters away from the synagogue; an arrow shows the way on the information table.
Men are kindly asked to wear a hat or cap in the synagogue.
The synagogues, located in the city centre, are only a 15 Minute bicycle ride away or 30 Minute walk from my apartment for example. You can also take Tram #4 from Rózsa Utca to Dugonics Tér (7 Minutes) and then simply walk down Guttenberg Utca (4 Minutes from Dugonics Tér). You will see the new synagogue on your right side. Its actual entrance, and the old synagogue, are located on Hajnóczy Utca (parallel to Gutenberg Utca).
An alternative route from my apartment would be to walk down Rózsa Utca until you are on Csongrádi Sugárút, turn left and walk straight down Csongrádi Sugárút until you get to the water tower, head towards Anna-Kút and Dugonics Tér and then onto Gutenberg Utca. Trolley Bus #8, at the end of Rózsa utca (on Csongrádi sugárút), will take you most of the way (i.e. to Anna-Kút and Dugonics Tér) - From there just walk down Gutenberg Utca.
If you visit Budapest you might want to visit The Great Synagogue, also known as the Dohány Street Synagogue, which is the largest synagogue in Hungary. It was built in 1859 in the Moorish (Islamic) Revival style and is located in Erzsébetváros, the 7th district of Budapest, and can seat up to 3,000 people.