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The Great Forest Water Tower – Nagyerdei Víztorony

A relic of history, Debrecen’s water tower, known as Nagyerdei Víztorony was built in 1913 for the purpose of supplying water to Debrecen University and the surrounding villas.  The tower was designed by architect József Boros with a capacity of a thousand cubic meters of water. 

The selected design was a more modern design at the time, showing the details of the reinforced concrete structure.  It was built by an association between mechanical engineer Dezső Adorján and construction contractor Sándor Fried Aladár of Budapest.

Located between Pallagi út and Nagyerdei Körút, the tower took the name of its surroundings, Nagyerdei Víztorony which when translated is Great Forest Water tower.

Since the 1960’s the university of Debrecen has managed the 42-meter-high building and in 1994 it was provided a protected status locally.

In 2014, the University of Debrecen, which owns the building, secured enough EU funding to launch long-awaited developments as part of a large investment project.

Its location and height ultimately provided the tower with an additional purpose, one directed by one of the Universities strategic tasks in the city, that of the development of tourism. 

Besides its traditional role, still functioning as a water tower, the renovated tower now also functions as a tourist point and viewing tower.  The ascent includes a 12-meter-high climbing wall with 5 routes around the circumference of the central column. At 34 meters high in total, with 207 steps leading up to it, the observation deck offers visitors a unique panoramic view of the city, including the award-winning Nagyerdei Stadion and the new Aquaticum Debrecen Strand completed in June 2020.

After your descent, you can enjoy refreshments at the café/bar at the base of the tower.

In the daytime, the tower’s basement is defined as a gallery but is also utilized as an exhibition and meeting venue.  During the evenings and during special events it is used as a music event venue, it is well known for its role at events like the Campus Festival.

The tower’s new role was financed by EU funds, a total of HUF 290 million was spent on the restoration and expansion of the tower, HUF 90 million on the purchase of equipment suitable for its new role, and HUF 70 million on lighting technology and water features. 

No trip to Debrecen is complete without a walk through the Great Forest, so why not stop for refreshments at Nagyerdei Víztorony after your ascent to the top.