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Old Town Hall: The Secret Place of the Hungarian Holy Crown

One of the most characteristic architectural monuments of the City of Debrecen, is the Town Hall, a classicist building which stands on Piac street.

One of the most characteristic architectural monuments of the City of Debrecen, is the Town Hall, a classicist building which stands on Piac street.

The building was home to elected city officials including the judiciary, and other officers of elected bodies. The Old town hall has been characterized by frugality for centuries. Until the 19th century, the city spent relatively little on “ordinary” (city-owned) houses and their decoration. 

The first town hall was built in 1531 by expansion from the construction of single-storey residential buildings over the centuries. In 1802, the city leaders wanted to build a new town hall, but due to lack of money, neither the plans ofMihály Péchy nor Ferenc Povolny was realized. 

The construction began in 1825 and the keys of the impressive tympanum-arcade building were handed over to the town in 1843. In keeping with the puritanical taste of classicism, a single ornament adorns the tympanum, the coat of arms of the city. The prison was on the mezzanine floor and in the basement, while upstairs could be reached by two separate staircases besides the main, decorated staircase. The offices, meeting rooms, and the mayor’s service apartment were located there. The famous book printing house was also set up inside the building. 

In 1849, Lajos Kossuth, Governor-President of the Kingdom of Hungary during the revolution of 1848–49,  lived in the building with his family, and the office of the Defense Committee also operated here. The Hungarian Holy Crown was kept here in the “secret archive” until the end of the threat of war. After that, the crown was returned to Buda Castle.

Debrecen old town hall from arial perspective
Image Source Fortepan: Town Hall Debrecen (1908)

The city grew out of the one-storey Town Hall in 1888. It was demolished to build a new building, but the plans – due to the lack of the agreement and the money – were unused for three decades. The building was remodeled. It received a simplified driveway and the previously open arcades on the ground floor were closed with a wall and window to create a room behind it. It was connected to the building of the adjacent tax office by a hanging corridor, which is called  “bridge of sighs”.

Debrecen Old town hall
Image Source Fortepan: Town Hall Debrecen (1954)

Today, the Old Town House is still located at 20 Piac street, however, the daily administration works of the city’s inhabitants are handled in the New Town Hall located in Kálvin Square.

History of The Theatrical Hall + Largest Synagogue of Debrecen

Going North from the main square, towards the Main Railway Station, we cannot pass by Batthány Street without talking about some gems of the past.

Going North from the main square, towards the Main Railway Station, we cannot pass by Batthány Street without talking about some hidden gems and those lost to history. 

Batthány Street is named after Count Lajos Batthyány (1807-1849) who was the first Prime Minister of Hungary, he was born in Bratislava, Slovakia and was later executed by firing squad in Pest on 6 October 1849, the same day as the 13 Martyrs of Arad.

Until the middle of the 19th century,  the street was called Kis-Varga Street, and then  “Harmincados köz” (“thirtieth” in English). The name used to refer to the fact that the royal tax office was located there. 

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The History of the Town Square and the Reformed Great Church

Learn about the history of the old town square of Debrecen. Kossuth Square through the ages.

There are many wonderful travel guides about Debrecen, but few about the important places of this city in the context of history. This article focuses on the history of the old town square of Debrecen.

Kossuth Square.

Over time Debrecen has changed, just like any city, as to how much is open to interpretation and your own perspective.  The tram lines have been a long term fixture of Kossuth Square, which was once a green oasis. Gardeners created plant islands in every corner of the square. 

Dominating the Kossuth Square is the most famous symbol of the city, the Reformed Great Church. Before it was built, in the 13th Century, St. Andrew Church stood in its place, built by the Dósa family.  Later in the 16th century, St. Andrew Church was destroyed by fire and rebuilt again in the gothic style.

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Debrecen In Bloom

While social distancing efforts are afoot to slow the global pandemic, natures seasons move on, oblivious to humanities woes. Nature lives and thrives!

While social distancing efforts are afoot to slow the global pandemic, nature’s seasons move on, oblivious to humanities woes. Nature lives and thrives!

Nothing proves this more than the streets and squares of Debrecen in full bloom.

With the sunshine and good weather, the revival of nature has begun. Spring has finally arrived! Magnolia and Golden Rain bushes bloom beautifully all over Debrecen, Hyacinths, Daffodils open and the trees are turning green.

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Rickl-House-Magda-Szabo

Rickl House, the Family Home of Magda Szabó

The building is most famous for being the home of Magda Szabó who is revered in Hungary and internationally as a towering literary figure of the 20th century

The main street of Debrecen, known as Piac street, was once lined with trading houses, and it remained a centre of trade and for hundreds of years. The very first multi-floor dwellings of the town were built here. While the buildings are of simple construction, their facades have many beautiful decorations that deserve special attention.

One of these buildings is the Rickl House at No. 39-41 on Piac Street. The great-grandfather of the world-famous author Magda Szabó (from her mom’s side), József Rickl, was a German merchant, he built this classicist building for his renowned supermarket and his family in the 1820s.

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Zenede

Zenede the Birthplace of Musical Talent

During the early 1800s, the musical life in Debrecen city reached new highs, in-part thanks to financial support for music-related initiatives.

The building bearing the name Zenede has a long illustrious history associated with music culture and music education, mostly because of the ties to the man that the building is named after, the composer and the children’s educator Zoltán Kodály.

Today the building is home to the Zoltán Kodály Vocational Secondary School of Music, a fitting legacy since he was deeply devoted to the importance of music in children’s education. He became world-famous for inventing a music teaching method that has been used ever since, all over the world to teach children music.

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The Most Beautiful Gates of Debrecen

Every square meter of Debrecen’s downtown has something of a cultural and historical significance. If you want to get to know the city, you should open your eyes and discover its hidden treasures beyond the obvious sights.

Every square meter of Debrecen’s downtown has something of a cultural and historical significance. If you want to get to know the city, you should open your eyes and discover its hidden treasures beyond the obvious sights. To help you see beyond the obvious we have collected for you the most beautiful gates in Debrecen with the help of architect Attila Harangi and photographer Viktor Löki.

1. Reformed Great Church

The emblem of Debrecen represents Puritan Classicism in Calvinist Rome. The largest Reformed Church in the country was built between 1805 and 1821  according to the plans of Mihály Péchy. The Reformed Great Church was built on the foundation walls of the medieval Gothic-style church of St. Andrew, which was completely destroyed in the devastating fire in 1802. The impressive gate ornament of the church reflects the ancient heritage of Debrecen. If you visit Reformed Great Church, take time to appreciate the massive copper handle with intricate symbols.

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Maradj Otthon Festival

“Stay at Home Festival” – Party Hard at Home Even in Dark times.

The founders of the virtual festival entitled “Stay Home!” are 50 organizers, festivals, clubs, and events. Their aim is to mobilize domestic artists and make the audience follow the rules and stay at home.

The founders of the virtual festival entitled “Stay Home!” are 50 organizers, festivals, clubs, and events. Their aim is to mobilize domestic artists and make the audience follow the rules and stay at home.

“Millions of people go to national festivals and concerts every year. Fans will hopefully listen to their favorite artists and stay at home. The main mission of this initiative is to encourage it”, said Norbert Lobenwein, founder of the VOLT Festival and one of the key figures behind the initiative. 

The “Stay at Home! Festival” encourages the Facebook audience to take the rules seriously and stay at home by bringing the artists to the home of the fans.

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Streets of Debrecen – Who Was Kossuth and Széchenyi?

Who was Kossuth and Széchenyi and why were streets renamed after them in Debrecen and throughout Hungary? What was their connection to each other, and Debrecen?

Kossuth and Széchenyi Streets are among the oldest and busiest streets of Debrecen. Széchenyi Street was previously called Német (German) Street before 1860 as it was where Germans gathered to trade on the internationally recognized Debrecen markets. Kossuth Street was previously called Nagy-Cegléd Utca before 1894 when it was renamed.

But who was Kossuth and Széchenyi and why were streets renamed after them in Debrecen and throughout Hungary? What was their connection to each other, and Debrecen?

Who Was Count István Széchenyi?

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Amusement Park Jubilee Year.

March 14th, marks the Jubilee Season of Debrecen Amusement Park, which has opened every day of the week from May 1st since the first opening back in 1960. Debrecen Amusement Park remains the only permanent Amusement park in Hungary.

March 14th, marks the Jubilee Season of Debrecen Amusement Park, which has opened every day of the week from May 1st since the first opening back in 1960. Debrecen Amusement Park remains the only permanent Amusement park in Hungary.

To embrace tradition, while also catering to those looking for new thrills, the repertoire will include both timeless classics and awesome new novelties.

In addition to the careful maintenance of park equipment, several rides have also undergone a visual overhaul and now await the season start in their full glory. Cherished for their great history and beautiful craftsmanship, the magnificent steeds of the Horse Carousel are now as good as new, and so is the Duck Train, a true family favorite.

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Opera & Operetta at Csokonai Theater 2020

The Csárdás Queen is considered Imre Kálmán’s greatest work, the songs from which were among Adolf Hitler’s favorites, and for a long while he was his favorite composer even though Imre Kálmán was Jewish.

There are several Opera or Operetta performances at the Csokonai Theater that might be of interest in the upcoming months.

Csárdás Queen

The Csárdás Queen is considered Imre Kálmán’s greatest work, the songs from which were among Adolf Hitler’s favorites, and for a long while, Imre was his favorite composer even though he was Jewish. In Hungarian, this operetta is known as “Csárdáskirálynő” and is well-known, while globally it is considered the most popular and most played operetta of all time.

According to operetta statistics, there is not a single minute when one of the popular melodies of Imre Kálmán is not played at any place on the Earth – in theater, concert, movie, TV or radio. In the English language, the Operetta was renamed as Csárdás PrincessThe Riviera Girl, or The Gipsy Princess.

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