Shopping in Hungary, at the Savaria Tortenelmi Carnival in Szombathely


Christine Cunanan Travelife Magazine The Frequent Flier

Last month, we found ourselves in the beautiful town of Szombathely exactly for the annual Savaria Történelmi Karnevál. This two-day event is organised by the town and all the residents participate in it.

Shopping in Hungary, at the Savaria Tortenelmi Carnival at Szombathely in Hungary. Szombathely is the oldest and happiest town in Hungary.

EVERYONE’S EXCITED ABOUT THE SAVARIA TORTENELMI CARNIVAL

Some are actors in the nightly shows and in the parades in the day, while others put up stalls to sell food and handmade crafts. There are also musicians to keep the good vibes going with performances all day on a big stage in the town centre.

Shopping in Hungary, at the Savaria Tortenelmi Carnival at Szombathely in Hungary. Szombathely is the oldest and happiest town in Hungary.

Even townsfolk who must work on these days join in the carnival in spirit. For example, many of the waitstaff at cafes and restaurants are also dressed up either in Roman outfits or medieval outfits.

Shopping in Hungary, at the Savaria Tortenelmi Carnival at Szombathely in Hungary. Szombathely is the oldest and happiest town in Hungary.
Just another afternoon in Szombathely during the Savaria Tortenelmi Carnival this year

In fact, practically everyone is wearing a Roman outfit or a medieval outfit while walking around town during the carnival days. This adds to the festive fun as the entire town is transformed into another place and another time, even just for a long weekend.

THE HISTORY AND CULTURE OF SZOMBATHELY

Shopping in Hungary, at the Savaria Tortenelmi Carnival at Szombathely in Hungary. Szombathely is the oldest and happiest town in Hungary.
Photo courtesy of the city of Szombathely

The Savaria Történelmi Karnevál is actually a re-enactment of the history of Szombathely, which is reportedly the oldest town in Hungary. And, guess what. It’s also supposed to be one of the happiest cities in the country.

Shopping in Hungary, at the Savaria Tortenelmi Carnival at Szombathely in Hungary. Szombathely is the oldest and happiest town in Hungary.
That’s me, buying paprika at the Savaria Tortenelmi Carnival at Szombathely

It’s really beautiful and quite small so you can walk from one end to the other in just about an hour. In fact, after two days here, we felt completely like locals and we were quite sorry to leave.

REMEMBERING THE ROMAN ERA

Shopping in Hungary, at the Savaria Tortenelmi Carnival at Szombathely in Hungary. Szombathely is the oldest and happiest town in Hungary.
One of the evening performances during the carnival

The carnival itself covers different periods of history from the Romans to World War II. But it really seems that everyone in this town prefers the glory of Rome and the romance of the medieval ages to the memories of World War II. There was evidence of Roman culture and the medieval ages everywhere. Every other person on the street was wearing a Roman costume or a medieval costume.

In fact, one of the most important attractions here is the Iseum Savariense Archeology Workshop. This museum houses the remains of a Roman-era sanctuary built for the Egyptian goddess of Isis.


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SHOPPING IN SZOMBATHELY

The other fun thing to do at the Savaria Történelmi Karnevál is to shop. Yes, shop! All the main streets of town are lined with wooden booths. These booths sell everything from pottery to food to knives and clothes. Almost everything is handmade in this region, so its a great chance to buy the best products of the region.

One lady made original scarves out of handprinted silk. They were so pretty that I just had to buy one. We also bought a lot of locally made Hungarian sausages. My favourites were the sausages made from venison and wild boar.

THE DELICIOUS CANDY AND CHOCOLATE OF HUNGARY

Candy and chocolate were also big hits at the festival. I just couldn’t resist buying some chocolate called Tokaj Aszu, especially as this is my favourite sweet drink. Well, the chocolate I bought was as delicious as the drink.

Finally, all the stores were open during the festival period and most of the things were on sale. So when we weren’t participating in the festival, we were going into the stores to buy clothes and shoes at 50% off.

Shopping in Hungary, at the Savaria Tortenelmi Carnival at Szombathely in Hungary. Szombathely is the oldest and happiest town in Hungary.

What a wonderful carnival. I can”t think of too many events that combine history and culture plus fun in one weekend. There”s music, pageantry, food and shopping too.

Read more about traveling around Hungary in Travelife Magazine.


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