Legends of Győr

Dunakapu square
The story of the Iron Rooster


The well-known symbol of the city of Győr, the Iron Rooster was erected on the Danube Gate Square by the Turks in 1594, after they had conquered the city. The leader of the invading troops believed that the castle was impossible to capture and he proudly predicted: Győr would only be in Christian hands again if the Iron Rooster started to crow and the half moon below it would turn into a full moon. Four years later as the Hungarian troops aiming at recapture the castle reached the Fehérvár Gate, one brave cavalryman climbed up to the Iron Rooster and waited until daybreak. In the dawn light he imitated the crow of the rooster, and as the rays of the rising sun hit the half moon it made it look full. The Turks thought that the prophecy had come true and their God had taken the side of the Hungarians. In the huge panic they exploded their barrels full of gunpowder and due to this they decided the end of the battle.
Gutenberg square
The Ark of Covenant


One of the most beautiful baroque monuments of Győr is the Arc of Covenant, which stands on the Gutenberg Square. The statue has an interesting story: in 1729 a soldier accused of bigamy and using a false name fled to the Jesuit monastery for sanctuary. The city guards put the building under blockade, thus preventing the escape of the deserter. However, the bishop thought out a plan: on the feast of Corpus Christi they traditionally held a procession in the town, so he gave the soldier altar-boy clothes to help him escape from his fellow-soldiers. He was unfortunately recognized despite all of these efforts. In the ensuing melee the monstrance fell out of the hands of the bishop and it broke into pieces. Even the Emperor’s court in Vienna heard of this sacrilege, and King Charles III ordered that the inhabitants of Győr should ask for the forgiveness of God with this statue. And why does the monument illustrate the Ark of the Covenant? According to the legend the broken pieces of the blessed sacrament of the Eucharist and monstrance were put into the sealed ark, and since then the angels have guarded them.
Széchenyi square
The house with the iron stump


The house got its name from the iron nail-tree on its corner. In 1833 Mátyás Zittrisch, a grocer, bought the building and he placed a tree trunk coated with iron bands and nails, copying the “Stock im Eisen” in Vienna, on the corner of the house. According to the traditions the traveling young craftsmen hit a nail into this stump as a memory of the time they had spent in the city.
The ‘White Woman’ of Lőcse

The well-known heroin of the novel of Mór Jókai, the ‘white woman of Lőcse’, Mrs. Julianna Ghéczy Korponai was imprisoned in the old Town Hall from April 1713. She was accused of having helped the emperor’s troops occupy the city of Lőcse during the Rákóczi war of independence. In fact she only had a diplomatic role – she transmitted letters and messages between the two sides before the city capitulated – but according to the propaganda the city fell because of her treason. After a long lengthy trial she was beheaded on Széchenyi Square, the ancient market square of Győr, on 25th September 1715 in front of a huge crowd. Her story was immortalized by Mór Jókai in his novel entitled ‘The White Woman of Lőcse’.
The Weeping Blessed Virgin-Picture

The painting that can be seen in the northern nave of the Basilica was brought to Győr by Walter Lynch, a bishop of Ireland, when he fled from the persecution of the Catholics by Oliver Cromwell. Some decades later there was a new wave of persecution of the Catholics in Ireland and it is at this time that every bishop of the country was exiled. On the day after the Parliament’s resolution, on 17th March 1697, which is the feast of the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick, bloody tears rolled down the eyes of the Madonna. The tears were mopped up with a white linen cloth that was later framed and attested to by bishop Ferenc Zichy. The blood – though pale – still can be seen on the cloth that is kept in the Diocesan Treasury. From this time on the Cathedral of Győr has been a place of pilgrimage and the holy picture is still highly respected.
Ányos Jedlik and the wine spritzer

Maybe only a few people know that the list of Hungarian inventions is enriched by a very popular drink, the wine spritzer (wine with soda water), which was invented by a Benedictine monk, teacher and physician of Győr. Previously, mineral water that often had to be transported huge distances was the favorite drink in numerous monasteries. Due to the terrible road conditions the carbon dioxide was shaken out of the water. To solve this problem Jedlik invented the soda water, which in turn was only one step away from the popular wine spritzer. Every year the city of Győr organizes a ‘Wine Spritzer Festival’ to honor this creation.
Saint Ladislaus' Herm

Our knighted king, St. László was laid to rest in Nagyvárad, the pieces of his skull were placed into a golden-silver reliquary that was decorated with wire enamel. After being chosen to be the bishop of Győr, the bishop of Nagyvárad brought this reliquary to the city as gift. The respect for this holy king spread greatly after the earthquake in 1763. The faithful were prayed to St. László to protect Győr from the earthquake. The city was not heavily damaged, therefore on 27th June 1763 Bishop Ferenc Zichy organized a huge thanksgiving feast and he decreed that the reliquary be taken on a procession every year around the town.
Statue of Károly Kisfaludy

The bronze statue of the writer born near Győr, in Tét, stands on the Vienna Gate Square. Many legends are connected to the statue: if we take a look at the figure of Kisfaludy, we can see papers and a pen in his hands. As Győr is also known as the city of education because of its numerous reputable schools, in the morning we can see lots of diligent pupils hurrying to school in the downtown. Kisfaludy looks around the square shortly before 8 o’clock, and he notes down the names of pupils who are late to school. On his paper he also has a record of the cars parking in the ‘no parking’ zone in the square. As we now see, after his death, the renowned Hungarian poet and dramatist is still busy working for the city.

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