Debrecen Tourist Attractions
Debrecen, the third largest town in Hungary after Budapest and Miskolc, lies in the lowlands east of the Tisza, on Highway 4; it is the traditional cultural and economic center of the region and, since 1950, its capital.
In spite of having developed into a modern industrial and college town, away from the center Debrecen has managed to retain its rural, small town atmosphere. The Great Reformed Church and the Reformed College serve as a reminder that Debrecen proudly bears the title of "Calvinist Rome", the stronghold of Protestantism in Hungary.HistoryFollowing the merging of several smaller settlements in the Middle Ages, the place where Debrecen now stands became a regional trade center for livestock and agriculture, and in 1361 it was elevated to the status of a town. In the 16th C fifty craftsmen plied their trades here, and formed themselves into fourteen guilds. When the Reformation spread to Hungary Debrecen became a stronghold of Calvinism; those of other religious persuasions were prevented by the townsfolk from settling here or were forced to leave. In 1538 the Reformed College was founded and the town became a spiritual center for Calvinistic teachings. This prosperous trading town also enjoyed special status under the Turks, who took over Debrecen in 1535 but allowed the people to continue to practice both their businesses and their Calvinistic religion. It was a different story with the Catholic Habsburgs, who freed the town from Turkish rule in the 17th C but encountered resistance from the good people of Debrecen when they tried to introduce the Counter-Reformation, meeting a barrier of nationalist aspirations and religious convictions. During the 1848 Revolution Lajos Kossuth made the town the headquarters of the freedom fighters and the seat of his government. It was in the Great Reformed Church that he issued the declaration of Hungary's independence from the House of Habsburg. A century later, in 1944, Debrecen was once again the scene of historic events: on December 21st that year the Provisional National Assembly met here and Debrecen became the capital of those parts of Hungary which had by then been liberated. It retained this status until March 1945, when the Government was able to return to Budapest.The town of Debrecen is home to one of the best football teams in Hungary. They won the national championship in 2005, 2006 and 2007.Debrecen hosted the first IAAF World Road Running Championships in 2006 and also the 2007 European SC Swimming Championships.
Garden of Remembrance
Since 1914 the monument to Lajos Kossuth has stood in front of the church; behind the church, between the oratorium and the college, lies the Garden of Remembrance with a memorial to those departed souls whom the Habsburg Court of Justice dispatched into slavery for preaching the Calvinist doctrine. A bronze statue erected here in 1906 is in memory of Prince István Bocskai (1557-1606) and his contribution to religious freedom in Hungary.
One block further west of the Reformed College, on the square of the same name, stands the Déri Museum, named after the industrialist Frigyes Déri, whose art collection forms the basis of the museum's exhibits. Its extraordinarily rich stocks include art treasures from Eastern Asia, ancient finds from Egypt (mummies, sarcophagi), Greece and Italy, as well as a collection of local folk-art (shepherds' cloaks from Hortobágy, decorated earthenware and porcelain vessels), together with 15th-20th C art, such as the large painting "Ecco Homo" by Mihály Munkácsy (1844-1900). The four bronze figures in the museum courtyard, the work of the Debrecen sculptor Ferenc Medgyessy (1881-1958), symbolize the four spheres of the museum's collections, namely archaeology, history, art and ethnography. The sculptor was awarded the Grand Prix at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1937 for this work of art. In Péterfia utca (No. 28) is a small museum with more of his work.
The Great Forest (Nagyerdo) is the recreational area in the north of the town which can be reached by tram. In the 2300ha (5750 acres) of forest and parkland (which also contains the University and the Central Cemetery), there are plenty of sports and recreational facilities, including a pond for rowing and sailing, a stadium, a small zoo and a pleasure park. In a 9ha (23 acre) park will be found the thermal baths (Nagyerdei körút 9/11), supplied by two mineral springs at a temperature of 63°C (145°F). There are four thermal baths in the domed hall, where alternating hot and cold and orthopedic underwater baths can be taken. The three open-air pools have a total water area of 5000sq.m (5500sq.yd), and one of them has artificially induced waves.
The main building of the University Clinic (Nagyerdei Körút 98) was built by Flóris Korb in 1918; the individual departments are housed in pavilions all linked by a 3km (2mi.)-long system of underground passages. Korb also designed the main building of Lajos Kossuth University (Egyetem tér 1), which was built in 1928-32 in Neo-Baroque style in the western part of the park.
In the Central Cemetery (Köztemeto) the mortuary designed by József Borsos in 1932 is a building worthy of note.
Map of Debrecen Attractions