Northern Great Plain Region, Hungary Attractions
The Northern Great Plain borders on the Ukraine and Romania. The region is home to the Hortobágy National Reserve and the Tisza River.
A visit to the villages of Csaroda and Tákos, lying some 40km (25mi.) southeast of Kisvárda on Highway 41, should be high on the visitor's agenda. Csaroda still has its beautiful little 13th C Romanesque village church with 14th C. Gothic frescos together with 17th C paintings and wood-carvings. The little Reformed Church in Tákos is a beautiful example of the traditional method of construction using a framework of beams filled in with wattle and daub. Even further southeast lies Szatmárcseke, which is reached from Vásárosnamény by way of Jánd-Gulács-Tivadar-Kisar-Nagyvar, a total distance of about 30km (19mi.) along country roads. In Szatmárcseke there is still an old cemetery with wooden gravestones the like of which cannot be seen anywhere else in Hungary. The cemetery is under a preservation order.
Lying 245km (152mi.) east of Budapest, the agricultural and industrial town of Nyíregyháza is the center of the Nyírség district and the capital of the most easterly region of Hungary. It lies in the midst of one of the country's largest fruit-growing areas, famous for its "Jonathan" apples. Twenty percent of the population of this sprawling town live in detached farmsteads; widespread rural areas around the outside of the town contrast with the urban appearance of its center. Nyíregyháza is also an educational and cultural center with three colleges.HistoryThe first documentary record of a settlement here is dated 1215; from the 14th to the 16th C, the town was owned by the influential Báthori family. In 1605 ownership passed to the Transylvanian Prince István Bocskai (1557-1606), who arranged for Haiduks to settle here as he did in the countryside around Debrecen. In the 18th C, Slovak families moved into the almost deserted town.The building of the rail link with Budapest in the second half of the 19th C provided the impetus required to enable Nyíregyháza to develop into a major commercial center.SightsThe center of Nyíregyháza lacks any buildings of outstanding historical merit and derives its character mainly from such edifices as the regional offices, the theater and others all designed by the architect Ignác Aplár. Of interest to the visitor is the Jósa András Museum at Benczúr Gyula tér 21, with some absorbing finds from the time of the Magyar invasion, a department dealing with local history and ethnographic subjects, as well as a permanent exhibition of work by the Nyíregyháza artist Gyula Benczúr (1844-1920). On the square in front of the museum stands a monument to him as well as the sculpture "Birth of Venus" by Zsigmond Kisfaludy Stróbl.
One of the best-known spa towns in eastern Hungary is the former Haiduk township of Hajdúszoboszló (pop. 24,260), situated 20km (13mi.) southwest of Debrecen. After boring down 1091m (3580ft), water with a temperature of 73°C (163°F) was discovered in 1925, and as a result the sleepy little town found itself transformed within a few years into a popular spa resort. Today some 1 1/2 million visitors every year flock to the baths on the 30ha (75 acre) site at József Attila utca. The waters, which contain sodium, iodine, bromide and bitumen, are used in the treatment of rheumatic complaints, slipped discs, tendovaginitis and inflammation of the muscles as well as degenerative complaints. The indoor and outdoor baths together have a water area of 8500sq.m (9350sq.yd) and can also be used for sporting events. A well-designed infrastructure also awaits the visitor.
The town of Hajdúböszörmény (pop. 30,000), 18km (11mi.) northwest of Debrecen, was the center of Haiduk country and after 1699 the headquarters of the Haiduk leader. The home of the former Haiduk leader at Kossuth utca 1 now houses the Haiduk Museum (Hajdúsági Múzeum). In 1870 a neo-classical north wing was added to this Baroque building. The extensive archaeological, ethnographic and local history collections are complemented by an exhibition of works by members of the local artists' colony.
This agricultural town (pop. 19,000) with some small industrial concerns, situated 290km (180mi.) northeast of Budapest and 45km (28mi.) northeast of Nyíregyháza, is the center of the Upper Tisza region in the extreme east of Hungary.
The town got its name ("Little Fortress") from the castle which was built c 1400 and enlarged in the 16th and 17th C into a fortified palace with four corner-towers and a covered walk on the side facing the courtyard. In the 18th C, when it no longer served its original purpose, the people of Kisvárda pulled it down and used the stone to build the new Catholic church and to rebuild fire-damaged houses, until the authorities put a stop to it in 1828. The castle was restored in 1957-61, and a lapidarium installed in the tower at the southeast corner.
Kisvárda's second place of historical interest is the Catholic Church of SS Peter and Paul, which according to local legend was built by King St Ladislaus (1040-95) in gratitude for his victory over the Cumans. The church was rebuilt in 1788-1805, but remains of the old walls and medieval corbels with human figures (12th C.) as well as Gothic details in the choir have survived. The town's collection of local history and folk-art items (Rétközi Museum) can be seen in the former synagogue.
The Tisza River is the second largest river in Hungary. Recreational opportunities include swimming, hiking, cycling, kayaking and canoeing.