What legends tell us about
In the Middle Ages, when young guild craftsmen were migrating, it was customary for them to visit some notable sights in the cities on their way, as evidence that they had actually been there.
There were 3 such testimonies in Sopron, listed by the encyclopaedia of teacher and cartographer János Mátyás Korabinsky (1740–1811) published in 1786:
1. the head of a virgin (statue) placed on the castle wall
2. the "Green Stone" under the Front Gate Passage
3. the so-called Haban house in front of the Újtelek gate, which withstood the fire.
1. The legend of the virgin of Sopron tells the story of the founding of the city: People back then considered house No. 1 next to the Fire Tower (where today's town hall meets the tower) to be the oldest building in Sopron. According to legend, the site of Sopron was once a huge forest. A noble gentleman living in the area had a child. The little girl was disfigured by a pig's tusk. The parents decided to get rid of the child, so they put her out to the dense forest. The little girl was found by a coal burner living in the woods. He took the girl to her hut and raised her. With the help of a blacksmith, even the child's tusks were removed. Eight years later, the father, tormented by remorse, found the girl. As a gratitude to the coal burner, he built a stone house on the site of the hut. It became house No. 1 in Sopron. The foundations of the tower were laid on this plot of land by the noble girl who had meanwhile grown up.
There is another legend related to house No. 1 next to the town tower (the Fire Tower), which was demolished during the construction of today's town hall (1893-1894). In 1440, the widow of Hungarian King Albert I of Habsburg, Queen Elizabeth, made her court lady, Jánosné Kottaner steal the crown from the Visegrád Citadel. The court lady fleeing with the crown, and the son of Queen Elizabeth, the infant László (later King László V of Hungary between 1453-57) spent three weeks in this house during their escape. The court lady knew Sopron well because she had previously been the wife of the mayor of Sopron. This is a historical fact, but legend has it that the Holy Crown was with them as well. We now know that the crown was taken by Queen Elizabeth, who was fleeing to Vienna following another route, and it remained in Austria for nearly a quarter of a century. The crown returned to Sopron with the Peace of Wiener Neustadt or Sopron in 1463, and since then it has played an important role in the coronations of kings and queens in Sopron three times (1622, 1625, 1681) for more than 50 days.
Today, the stylized virgin's head can be seen at the section of the Castle Wall Promenade at the Lenck Passage.
2. The Green Stone is a bluish-green rare crystalline mineral found almost exclusively in the foothills of the Alps in Hungary. Today, a copy of the stone can be seen in the concrete arch of the Front Gate, while the original is in the archaeological exhibition of the House of Fabricius.
3. The “Haban House” was built in 1780, but it ceased to exist more than 200 years ago. It stood at the end of today's Újteleki street outside of the former Újteleki gate, beyond the city walls. The Habans followed the Anabaptist trend of Protestantism. Their name comes from the German word Haushaben (“household”) as they kept a tidy order in their community dwellings. Their tin-glazed pottery was famous far and wide, of which several can be admired in the exhibition of the Sopron Museum. The fire resistance of the Haban house was due to the thatched roof made of straw dipped in liquid clay.
The legend of the Kékfrankos
The city of Sopron is often characterized as the capital of the Kékfrankos or Blue Frankish wine. The legend of the blue Frankish wine (kékfrankos in Hungarian) dates back to 1809, when after the lost battle of Győr, Sopron had to provide food and accommodation for the French troops. As the 0.4 liters of wine a day provided to the French soldiers was not enough, wine was bought from German-speaking winemakers (poncichters) in Sopron. The soldiers had two types of money: the wartime white franc and the more valuable, older blue franc. Winemakers only gave their best wines if they received blue francs. Since then, Sopron's famous red wine has been called Blue Frankish (Kékfrankos). There are two small flaws in the story, however. On the one hand, in the time of Emperor Napoleon, Sopron and its surroundings were a region producing white wine. On the other hand, the banknotes mentioned in the legend did not even exist. French soldiers paid with (copper alloy) metal coins, which were called blue Francs by the locals because of the teal patina.