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The Legend of the Green Stone

This shiny, blue-greenish crystalline mineral was part of the most busiest area of the medieval town, exactly on the gateway pavement of the “Előkapu” (Front Gate to the Main Square).

Once upon a time a globetrotter, who was in Sopron long ago, was asked whether he knew the exact location of the legendary Green Stone. If somebody couldn’t tell the answer, people didn’t believe they actually turned up in Sopron. This shiny, blue-greenish crystalline mineral was part of the most busiest area of the medieval town, exactly on the gateway pavement of the “Előkapu” (Front Gate to the Main Square). The original stone is exhibited in the archaeological collection of the Soproni Museum and its stylized replica due to a local patriot’s donation has got back to its supposed original place, to the Front Gate.

According to the legend, traveling dignitaries, merchants, villagers, and of course large number of apprentices from Europe could justify their staying in Sopron if they know the place of the Green Stone. It was frequently asked in other nearby towns to get know whether the person was really in Sopron: “Where is the Green Stone?” And the right answer: “In the passage-way of the Front Gate.”

The original Green Stone can be viewed today in the great Gothic hall of the Fabricius House, in the Main Square of Sopron. This head-sized blue-greenish crystalline mineral is called lazuli by the geological science. It is composed of iron, manganese, aluminium phosphate, its greenish colour comes from its iron content. In Hungary this mineral is really rare, it occurs only in the area of the Sopron Mountains, and the foothills of the Alps. The Green Stone could get on display on the passage because of its rare greenish colour and exceptional large size.

The first mention of the stone can be found in the so-called Korabinsky’s lexicon, which was published in Bratislava in 1786 in German language. This book can be found in the museum’s library. In the description of Sopron we can read that the green stone can be seen in the passage-way of the Front Gate (... der grüne Stein unter dem Durchgang des vordern Thors…). The smooth, shiny surface of the stone is 23x18 cm, the maximum thickness is 14 cm. Originally the stone could be observed by anybody and it was also a symbol of the city.

The legend captivated Peter Kuslics, from Sopron, during a museum experience tour led by Tamás Taschner. Peter Kuslics based on the story from the tourist guide had the stone replica designed by glass artist Márta Edőcs. The cobble-sized copy got back to the supposed place of the original one, near the Fire Tower.

(Korabinsky, Johann Matthias: Geographisch-historisches und Produkten Lexikon von Ungarn, Pressburg , 1786
Domonkos Ottó, Nyugati Kapu, 2000. június 23.)

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