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Debrecen & Hungary
Debrecen is Hungary’s second largest city with a population of 210,000. The original meaning of its name (“let it live and move”) is testament to the city’s dynamic present-day development. Thanks to its religious, political, and economic power, historic Debrecen got to assume a quasi-city-state status and it has served twice as the nation’s capital. The modern city is Eastern Hungary’s most important commercial and administrative center, which has displayed an unbroken path of spectacular development in all walks of life. Debrecen’s international airport provides direct links to several major European destinations and it is a mere two-hour drive from the capital, Budapest.
Debrecen is by no means lacking in activities of this kind. Trendy cafés and bistros are proliferating, the popularity of street food is on the rise, countless cozy terraces and other special venues are getting ready to take visitors. Your leisurely stroll in downtown Debrecen – dubbed “promenade” by locals – will be punctuated by shady green piazzas and refreshing fountains. The slightly eclectic arrangement of architectural styles as well as the streets and alleys, each hiding its very own story, will set up an enchanting atmosphere. And another important thing – thanks to Debrecen’s highly developed public transport, the network of bus and tram lines, visitors can reach all tourist spots in the city in a comfortable and easy way.
All great cities can be identified by famous parks. In the case of Debrecen, this is called Nagyerdei Park Forest, the nation’s first conservation area. Only a two minutes from the conference venue, the park offers total peace and quiet in the shade of hundred-year-old trees as well as countless entertainment options.
You will definitely enjoy negotiating the meandering footpaths, designed by landscape architects, no matter if you explore the secrets of the woods on your own or with kids in tow. Your ventures along the trails will be made even more fun thanks to the Landart pieces, which make use of the forms and “props” of their natural environment to provide unique visual input. Should you have overexerted yourself through walking, check out the nearby spa center, zoo, amusement park, or “literary” statue park for different kinds of entertainment. Or contemplate the novel architectural techniques applied to the building of the brand new, multifunctional Nagyerdei Stadium, which smoothly cuddles up to its leafy surroundings. In the immediate vicinity, a one-of-a-kind attraction beckons from spring through fall. The “Mist Theatre” boasts a 10-m-high curtain of water which can be used as a functional movie screen. It may provide a bonus show after you watched a less ethereal theatrical or musical performance at the nearby amphitheater.
Debrecen’s Main Street - Piac Street - was the proud venue of the famous town fairs for 300 years starting in the 16th century.
Today’s cityscape, however, is defined by the former merchant houses erected at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. The pink office building of Debrecen’s First Savings Bank (on the corner of Kossuth Street) and the twin tenement blocks with the copper spires (on the corner of Simonffy Street) spectacularly stand out against the background of slightly gaudy downtown houses. Number 54 is occupied by Debrecen’s most beautiful Art Nouveau building now functioning as County Hall.Debrecen’s Main Street was suitable for traffic for two centuries thanks to a 650-meter-long and 6 to 7-meter wide elevated wooden walkway erected in the 1600s. A small section of the ancient “mud bridge,” now on display outside Hotel Aranybika, is a peerless archeological relic.
Debrecen’s Main Square - Kossuth Square - features the iconic group of statues erected to commemorate Lajos Kossuth, the huge mosaic depicting the city’s coat of arms, made by placing together 180,000 pieces of Venetian glass, the Millennial Fountain as well as the Art Nouveau building of Hotel Aranybika. The extended walking zone that includes the square is the venue of countless summer cultural events such as the Turkey Days and Flower Parade. This is also where the city’s Christmas tree is placed at the beginning of the festive season.
Various restaurants and bars fill the very heart of the city, around the Inner Town and the Piac Utca, meaning that you will have no problem finding somewhere to eat. For the best shopping, the centrally located Debrecen Plaza will not disappoint, while for tourism advice, Tourinform has tourist information branches at the town hall on the Pica Utca, and also along the Kálvin Tér.
Hungary is a landlocked country of 93,030 km2 area in Central Europe, in the middle of the Carpathian Basin. It is bounded on the north by Slovakia; on the northeast by Ukraine; on the east by Romania; on the south by Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia; and on the west by Austria. Plains and gentle hills of the Pannonian Basin dominate its surface. Some inselbergs form 600-900 m high mountain ranges. Temperate grasslands, agricultural land, meadows and non-coniferous forests characterise the landscape. Two major rivers: the Danube and the Tisza flow across the country from north to south. Lake Balaton, the biggest lake in Central Europe is a favourite target of tourists because of its warm water and nice landscape.
During its more than 1000 years of existence Hungary has experienced every possible historical ups and downs. It was several times invaded by different empires, occupied neighbouring areas, suffered several subdivisions, won battles and campaigns, lost world wars, survived civil wars and fallen revolutions. Since 2004 Hungary has been a member of the European Union.
Hungary has a slowly diminishing population of 10 million. The capital: Budapest is the most densely populated area with its 1.7 million inhabitants. Major cities of over 100,000 inhabitants are Debrecen, Miskolc, Szeged, Pécs, Győr, Nyíregyháza, Kecskemét and Székesfehérvár.
The dominant Hungarian (Magyar) population arrived from the east, from the Ural region. Its Finno-Ugric language and its traditional folklore is different from those of the surrounding Slavic, German and Romanian populations.