Overlooking Kossuth Square, on the corner of Bajcsy-Zsilinszky and Piac streets is Debrecen’s most famous hotel, Hotel Aranybika. Its fame is, to a large extent, down to its long history and location.
Among the many guests of the Hotel over the years we can include Hungarian and foreign celebrities and politicians, including Ministers István Vásáry and Imre Nagy and more recently Austrian Chancellor Bruno Kreisky and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl.
So How did the hotel come to be?
The hotel was named after András Bika, a farmer and the land owner, – including the site of the future hotel and whose family was registered in Debrecen from as far back as 1536. The land and the stone buildings upon it were sold to the government in 1699, after which it was converted into a small inn with just 4 guest rooms.
Over time the inn became increasingly popular and with popularity, came the need for additional rooms, so on the 100th anniversary of its opening, the buildings were expanded to provide additional capacity, with an additional floor and a ballroom. It was at this time (1799) that the place was named the golden bull hostel.
Over subsequent decades, the new two-storey building became a centre of intellectual and social life in Debrecen. Once again, the hotel was rebuilt to meet requirements, this time according to the plans of Imre Steindl the famous Hungarian architect who built the parliament. The work was completed by 1882, at this time the hotel already had a café and a restaurant as well.
However, it soon became obvious the building was no longer fit for purpose with too few rooms, and so 30 years after, the hotel was modernized once again.
The Grand Hotel Aranybika that overlooks Kossuth square of today was built in 1915. It was designed by another famous Hungarian architect, Alfréd Hajós (he was much more besides) in collaboration with Lajos Villányi and built in an eclectic and Art Nouveau style.
While the hotel is only a 3-star hotel, it is in a fantastic location that exudes history. The foyer and restaurant transport visitors to another time, one of opulence, splendor and grandeur synonymous with the early 1900’s and the art nouveau style.