Szombathely is the 10th largest city in Hungary, with 80,000 inhabitants. It is the administrative centre of the Vas county in the western part of the country, located near the border with Austria.
Szombathely is the oldest recorded city in Hungary. It was founded by the Romans in 45 AD under the name of Colonia Claudia Savariensum (Claudius' Colony of Savarians), and it was the capital of the Pannonia Superior province of the Roman Empire.
Szombathely is known as the birthplace of Saint Martin of Tours, the Duke of Armbrust, and Rudolf Virág, Leopold Bloom's father in James Joyce's Ulysses.
During the communist era there was an organist who was party secretary, named Gabor Lehotka. He did not like to see people go to church to listen to organ music nor did he like to play the organ in a church. Therefore, he asked the leaders of the communist party to build organs in concert halls. Thus, several organs were built in Hungary between 1975 and 1985 by the Jehmlich Organ Factory (Dresden, DDR) in Vac, Kecskemet, Szombathely and Szekszard. They are very good organs. These are the first modern baroque organs in Hungary. Gabor Lehotka produced several recordings, primarily the Vac organ.
The Jehlmich organ of Szombathely was built in 1980 in a concert hall, which was once a synagogue. In 1944 all Jews of Szombathely were deported and killed. The only thing remaining of the synagogue are the outside walls; inside, there's nothing reminiscent of the past – just a modern concert hall, including the communist organ. But, every organ has a soul, listen ...