The Fire Tower is a symbol of the town of Sopron. It has Roman foundations, its cylindrical part is medieval, its balcony and clock tower are Renaissance, its dome is Baroque. Its Loyalty Gate frames the 2,000-year history of the town centre.
Who doesn’t know the Fire Tower, the symbol of Sopron, a building that has been one of the historical monuments of Hungary since 2011, with a balcony that provides an unparalleled view of the town?
The baroque onion dome of the Fire Tower rises to a height of 58 meters with the two-headed eagle, so it can be clearly seen from several parts of the town. After climbing its nearly 200 spiral stairs, its round balcony offers an unparalleled view of the town centre and the Lövérek surrounding Sopron, and in clear weather, you can even see the nearby mountains of the Alps (Rax, Schneeberg).
Its renaissance round balcony and baroque helmet were built after the fire of 1676, when the upper part of the tower burned down completely.
The guards of the Fire Tower had diverse tasks:
- watching the neighbouring area, signalling the direction of the fire nest with lanterns at night and colourful flags during the day
- they warned the town residents when foreign soldiers or carts transporting foreign wine were approaching
- they also had to be competent in playing music, because according to their contract with the city council, they provided the music at weddings, funerals and festivals
- the people of Sopron were reminded to the passage of time with a trumpet from the balcony every quarter of an hour, and from the 16th century they operated the tower clock as well.
The two-headed eagle on top of the Fire Tower is a gift from King Ferdinand II and Queen Eleonora to commemorate the national assembly in 1622 and the coronation of the Queen. It was put to its final place after the fire, during the celebrations of the name day of King Lipót I of Hungary in 1681, when the repaired clock sounded again.
The tower is also a symbol of loyalty: as a result of the referendum of 14 December 1921, Sopron and eight villages decided to belong to Hungary. To commemorate the event, a baroque gate frame was made in 1928 according to the plans of Rezső Hikisch. The group of sculptures above it - Hungária gathers the loyal inhabitants of the town around herself - is the work of Zsigmond Kisfaludi Stróbl. To commemorate the significant day, it is called the Gate of Loyalty, with the inscription “Sopron to the Nation” and the inscription “Civitas Fidelissima” was incorporated in the town’s coat of arms above the gate. In 2001, the Hungarian government declared December 14 the Day of Loyalty.