Number of inhabitants: 16613 fő
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Longobards settled here after the Avar from 586 BC. Their cultured mixed with the local culture created the Keszthely culture. The consequence of it is that the population who were Slavic tribes belonging to the Zalavár-based principality survived the Hungarian Conquest and the conquerors. The name of the town comes from these Slavs as well: Toplica means warm water. The first written source is from 1182 under the name of Topulza. Similar names can be found in other European countries, for example Teplice in the Czech Republic.
The best-known attraction of Tapolca is a cave where also boating is possible.
The cave “Tavasbarlang” (Lake Cave) is a unique natural phenomenon in Central Europe. It was discovered in 1903 during well-digging. The length of the cave is 4 km which 2.5 km is known from. Its most exciting part to visitors is that 300 metres that can be discovered by boat. A 0.5-4 m deep shallow-water stream flows through the cave but due to the reflecting ceilings it seems to be incredibly deep. The hollows formed by water can be seen well on the walls and ceilings. To take part on such a boat trip in the illuminated passage must be a great experience.
The most beloved place of the town is the “Malom-tó”, the Mill Lake with an ancient mill. Now it’s called Hotel Gabriella after the Austrian Gabriella Baumberg, wife of János Batsányi – famous Hungarian poet who was born here. The names of famous Tapolca-born people are listed on a high stone wall on the eastern side of the lake – this is the Tapolca Pantheon. Wines from the surroundings can be tasted in the Saint Antonius Wine Museum which is located north from the lake. Thirst can be appeased by water coming from the ‘Raffay Béla’ drinking well.
It’s worth to visit the early 13th century parish church on the Church Hill. The Gothic sanctuary was added by the Carthusians in the beginning of the 15th century. A part from Saint Christoph’s fresco can be seen on its southern, outside wall. The church was not spared by the Turks. It was rebuilt in Baroque style by Márton Padányi Bíró, bishop of Veszprém in the mid-18th century.
The building number 8 on the Church Hill is the oldest folk school of the Transdanubia. If you are in Tapolca with children of school age than it’s even more worth to visit the exhibition which shows how children used to be taught.
A second copy of the famous Little Princess Statute of the Danube promenade in Budapest made by László Marton is placed in Tapolca, the artist’s hometown, too.