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Debrecen History, Hungary

The second biggest city in Hungary after Budapest, Debrecen is the regional capital of Northern Great plane and the center of Hadju-Bihar as well. This splendid city’s past reveals its significance and glory throughout the centuries. Aside from this, Debrecen History functions as a foundation for the unique and remarkably prosperous cultural life of the city.

Debrecen History – Early History

Before the Hungarians inhabited Debrecen, a few tribes occupied the area. The unification of the small communities in the area established Debrecen as a town.

The residents of Debrecen were given the right to vote for their town’s judge and council in 1361 by King Louis I of Hungary. This move had unlocked new opportunities for Debrecen. In September 1411, the town was given as a gift to the Serbian leader Despotus Stefan Lazarevic from King Sigismund of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1427, a year following Lazarevic’s death, Durad Brankovic of Serbia became the town’s ruler. From 1450 to 1507, Debrecen was a residence of the Hunyadi family.

Debrecen History – 16th and 17th Century

Since Debrecen is close to the border of Hungary, the unfortified town was subjected to numerous attacks during the Ottoman Period. It was only the political skills of the town’s leaders that Debrecen was saved from further assaults. At times, the town was defended by the Catholic European leaders, by the Ottoman Empire or by the Transylvanian prince Francis II.

During the Protestant Reformation, residents of the town embraced the religion, gaining the name “Calvinist Rome.” It is at this period that most of the citizens of Debrecen were Hungarian Calvinists. In 1693, Debrecen was given the free royal town rank by Leopold I of the Holy Roman Empire.

Debrecen History – 18th and 19th Century

Debrecen saw the return of the Roman Catholic Church in 1715. The town gave them an area where they could erect a church. Soon after, the St. Anna Cathedral was built in Debrecen.

During the 18th century, Debrecen became a major center for culture, commerce, and agriculture. Numerous forthcoming poets and scholars went to the Protestant College located in the town to study.

In the 19th century, Debrecen was struck by war when the Hungarian army lost the western part of the town to the Russians and Habsburgs. The town gradually thrived once more after the war. The railway line connecting Debrecen to Budapest was finished in 1857. After this, schools, churches, mills, hospitals, and factories were constructed and insurance companies and banks were set up in Debrecen.

Debrecen History – 1st and 2nd World Wars

In 1919, Debrecen was under the control of the Romanian Army. It was tourism that paved the way for the town to regain its importance. Several buildings, which provided recreational services, were built in the town.

When World War II broke, most of the town was annihilated. Buildings were either damaged or completely destroyed. However, right after the war, reconstructions in the town were done and for some time, Debrecen became the capital of Hungary.

Debrecen History reflects the struggles and triumphs of the city. This makes it one of the most victorious places in Hungary and Europe as well. For other facts about Europe's humble beginnings, read Krakow History and Budapest History.

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  • asterixVisiting Debrecen
    review by asterix posted more then 30 days ago
    Debrecen is situated near the Romania-Hungarian border, about 60 km from Oradea (just like Hajduszoboszlo just in other direction), and it seems to be really similar with Oradea. If you live long time in Oradea like me and you go to Debrecen at the first look you can’t difference the two...
  • angelA trip to the Debrecen Zoo
    review by angel posted more then 30 days ago
    On a Sunday we decided to visit the Zoo in Debrecen with some friends and colleagues from the university. We had a GPS so we found the Zoo easily. Parking there seemed really easy because on Sundays you don't have to pay for it. So we left our cars at a 2 minute walk from the entrance. The Zoo is...
  • stefVisit at the Zoo of Debrecen
    review by stef posted more then 30 days ago
    Native domesticated animals, mammals and birds of far regions can all be studied here. Among the native and exotic species the collection of mammals and birds is amazing. The jungle cat (Felis chaus) and the spider monkey (Atales paniscus) are there too. The tropical shell and snail exhibition...
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Debrecen City Ratings

  • Rating69%
    City Rank233
  • History & Culture: rated for 75%
  • Night Life & Entertainment: rated for 53%
  • Family & Fun: rated for 73%
  • Outdoors Activities: rated for 58%
  • Food: rated for 75%
  • Sightseeing: rated for 73%
  • Shopping: rated for 80%
  • Public Transportation: rated for 73%
  • Must visit this place: rated for 68%
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