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  • Writer's picture Kester Eddy

This is a rather beautifully proportioned, elegant tower, but what and where is it?

Updated: Nov 2, 2023

KesterTester105 - It looks a bit like a lighthouse - but in CE Europe? UPDATED

Photo: If this happens to be your residence, it would appear you have a very nice personal veranda, ideal for sunbathing, assuming that's your thing. And is that steam (or at least water vapour) being emitted from near the roof? Some kind of sauna, ideal for the winter season, perhaps? So a dual-purpose tower then?

I have one regular reader (well, she intimated so) named Margaret, who told me some months ago something along the lines of: "Your KesterTesters, so often I think I know that, I've seen that, but ... I just can't pinpoint it. Very frustrating."

Well, Margaret, if you're reading this (and I hope you are), I can tell you that you have surely seen this elegant tower and more than once - though right now I'm not sure if that will help you or just increase your frustration with this one :)

But if you think you've got it, just send me an email, mark it KT105 so I don't lose your entry, or answer via the site messaging system, and you may win your first ever KesterTester - replete with global celebrity status, TV interviews and all that glamour stuff - and the chance to buy me not just one, but two beers.

Think of how that will go down on social media! Talk about kudos - and all for a bit of sleuthing! Not difficult for a person with your brain power, I am certain!

Meanwhile, KT104 is still proving difficult, though I confess it has attracted some very intelligent, thoughtful sleuthers determined to stop me from winning my second only ever prize.

So, with that, I'll leave you to ponder those images. OK, just in case any of you are thinking of a lighthouse on Lake Balaton, ... no, it's not there.

Have a great weekend!

UPDATE: Contestants and the WINNER!

KT105 proved both a toughie, with not many entrants, and a myth-breaker, at least regarding how my attention was drawn to this oddity. So here we go:

Misi Hollós is a great punter – always prepared to “have a go” - and in this instance he plumped for a distant solution.

Hello Kester,

My guess is that the tower in the pic is on the Adriatic coast in Croatia.

(As for KT104, it’s a case of eating humble pie at my end of the line.)

Best, Misi”

Frank Hegedus is another willing to try, though he was aiming much closer to home.

Kedves Kesztér...!

KT105...Hegedűs Gy u 3, I think...

A former factory turned into a gallery and nightclub, now defunct, I think.

Hegedűs Frank.

Well, I'm sure you wouldn't have any eyewitness accounts of it being a night club, so we can forgive you being unsure of the building's function today, Frank! :)

Imre Kőrizs was another contestant plumping for the Hungarian capital.

Dear Kester,

it's a smart observation, excellent angle, but as a puzzle it's a piece of cake for me. I usually walk a lot there

Cheers, Imre

Péter Bózsó was in Imre's slip stream.

The photo is about the top of a building in Kiskörűt and Dob utca.

Might be a watch tower over the ghetto.”

Steve Saracco took his time sending in his punt, but he, better late than never – and still well within deadline time.

Kester - Tester 105 is corner of Dob utca and Károly körút.

Hope you are well. Stephen.

And that was it – just five entries – but as I'm sure you recognise, the KesterTester Committee goes for quality over quantity, every time.

But yes, this tower is on a building very close to the Grand Synagogue, on Károly körút. So just three correct entries.

Stephen Saracco later sent me a piccie (left) which might help you recognise it next time you are around.

But what is it?

The genesis of how I came “to know” (in as much as I thought did) about this object goes back to the 1990s, and my American friend, sadly now deceased, Ray Neinstein.

Ray, who would come to Hungary to visit his son back in those days, told me of how he was showing one of his American friends around town one day. Spotting the tower, his friend, who had been in the military, immediately said: Do you know what that is?

Ray, who had no such soldiering experience, was dumbfounded.

His friend said: “You can bet your last dollar it's a machine gun tower.”

Ray then told me that he'd done some research with historians, and the story he reported to me was that János Kádár, or rather his security chiefs, after the 1956 revolution had built six or seven towers in prime viewing spots around the city 'just in case' the Magyars might rise up again.

In the ensuing years, all had been demolished, bar this example.

It was a location he'd never seen reported in any Budapest tourist guide, Ray proudly told me. And that was the story that I have related, equally proudly, ever since to anyone who would listen.

But as part of his enthusiastic answer, Péter Bózsó did some modern research via google, and came up with this, rather long article by Levente Jamrik on the Hungarian website Index.

The story starts in Germany in 1680, and we won't go that far back, but I've put the google translate text of the last part of the piece below.

For a long time, no suitable function was found for the "caps". In the beginning, the nearby Fire Department at 6 Gerlóczy utca used it as a fire observation station, but in the age of telephones and telegraphs, physical observation and inspection was already considered obsolete.

During the siege of Budapest in 1944-1945, the tower was used by the German army as a machine gun nest. Contrary to popular belief, the neighboring ghetto and the Jews imprisoned there were not shot from here, but as a high-rise landmark, the building simply "only" participated in the defense of the city.

During the 1956 revolution, the cap witnessed similar battles. Film director András Szirtes, returning home from the United States, bought the cap without comfort in 1996. While he set up his film studio in the lowest, 13-square-meter room with a circular floor plan, he left the upper, 12-square-meter room for the territory of the pigeons. Due to financial problems, the artist sold his property in 2005.

Since then, the house has had "two caps". While the one above the rooftops is one of the favorite secret meeting places of initiated lovers, the one below, with the same name, awaits visitors with its drinks and food.

ADDENDUM: The Károly körút machine gun nest is for sale When the German army occupied the capital, they built a machine gun nest on the roof of the house on Károly körút so that they could keep the neighborhood under fire from there.

So, according to Jamrik, the information gleaned by my friend Ray was incorrect – this tower was built long before 1956, in the 1930s, in fact, although not as a military facility. Who knows?

Now, to the important bit: the winner!!!!

With only three numbers going into the cup (I'm at my daughter's home in South Wales – didn't have a hat handy), her friend Adrien picked out …. number 2, who, somehow fittingly in this instance, means the winner is … Péter Bózsó!

No bad for a first-time entrant, Péter! Now prepare yourself for global celebrity status, adoring fans seeking selfies and all that once news of your triumph gets around.

And of course, the right to buy me two beers is the cherry on the cake of fame …

Congratulations to Péter and all who had a punt. And don't forget, KesterTester 106 – Ten Green Bottles - is still open for entries (and I've made it easier by giving options).

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