Károly Lookout Tower
It is the centre and most visited place of the Park Forest in Sopron, and today it is the second symbol of the town of Sopron after the Fire Tower.
The first wooden lookout tower was built by Károly Romwalter in 1876 at his own expense on the 398 m high Váris Hill. After its completion, the wooden lookout tower was donated to Hungary's first city beautification association, the Sopron City Beautification Association founded in 1869. The condition of the wooden lookout tower deteriorated very quickly, so the Association restored it as early as 1902.
Also on the initiative of the association, the present lookout tower was built of stone in 1936. Two Ybl-awarded architects from Sopron were involved in the project, Oszkár Winkler took part as designer and Oszkár Füredi as construction manager. Since 1999 it has been managed by the TAEG Forestry that tends the Sopron Park Forest. The lookout is part of the Károly Hill Ecotourism Visitor Centre, which includes the Gombocz Endre Forest And Hunting Exhibition House, the Kőhalmy Hunting Museum and Visitor Centre, Forest Experience Park and the Witch Fairytale Trail. The two-storey roof terrace of the nearly 21-meter-high tower offers a wonderful view of Sopron, Lake Fertő, and the snow-capped peaks of the Rax and Schneeberg mountains.
On the initiative and with the financial support of printer Károly Romwalter, the construction of a wooden lookout tower began in 1876 on the former Váris Hill. The patron would have preferred to give the name ‘Karlsruhe’ to the place where he rested after designating the first hiking trails created together with Endre Muck, the “father of the forests of Sopron”. He also wanted to register this name in the land registry book when he realized that this name was already taken, as it is the name of a city in Germany. With a stroke of a pen he changed the name to Karlshöhe, and ever since then Váris Hill has been called Károly Hill, and Károly Lookout Tower become the name of the only stone-built lookout tower in Sopron.