In the Middle Ages Nagykanizsa was famous for its castle that saw many sieges during the Ottoman Period, and was a seat for the vilayet of the Empire for a brief period. It became a real city after its liberation from the Turks, but its rich history and the beauty of the Zala landscape made it an appealing tourist destination. The city is easy to reach from all directions, both car and train, since it has been a part of an extensive international road network for centuries.
Things to See in Nagykanizsa
A notable Nagykanizsa sight among the historic buildings of the city is the Vasemberház (Ironman House), which derives its name from a statue of a knight on its façade. The 18th century building was commissioned by the lord of the city. Today it stands on the Erzsébet Square, with its long colonnade, which makes it easy to spot. The building was home to artisans and served as their shop and warehouse, though its current use is no different. The small shops bring back the feeling of times long gone while its spacious halls on the first floor make exceptional venues for festive events.
The Thury György Museum commemorates the most famous commander of the city’s garrison, which is probably the most visited site in Nagykanizsa. The one story Baroque mansion was built between 1705-1712, from the stones of the decommissioned castle of Nagykanizsa, which makes it the oldest still-standing building of the city. The permanent exhibition displays the history of the city and its commune, as well as the picturesque beauty of South Zala. On the courtyard of the museum, you can see the carved stone fountain of the alleged Turkish-era castle.
If you want to break free from the hustle and bustle of the city, make your way to the Csónakázó-tó (Boat Pond). The oval shaped lake is a popular place for a little rowing, as the name suggests, the locals flock here during the summer for some fun on the water. The nearby small hill offers a great view to the endless flatlands. If you like hiking, don’t miss the rich forests around the lake, where you can spot prize-worthy deer.
There are only a few traces left of the ancient castle to remind you of the former glory of the garrison, since its walls were demolished and its moat was filled. The city council erected a memorial for the former fortifications, which was once a well-known stronghold in the Habsburg Empire. A reconstruction of the castle gate was built next to the place where the original once stood, and here stands the bust of the revered commander György Thury. A walk around the ancient site can get you in touch with history.