Debrecen Sightseeing Tours – City tour in Debrecen

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Sightseeing tours in Debrecen - Debrecen sightseeing tour

Sightseeing tours

Railway Station
Debrecen's main railway line has a long history, dating back to 1837 when a certain Debrecen resident, Móricz Szitány, asked for permission to set up a railway corporation. His idea was that the carriages would be pulled by horses. Of course nothing came of this.

Petőfi Square
In front of the Railway Station lies Petőfi Square, named after our poet Sándor Petőfi. He tided over the hard winter of 1843-1844 in the house of an usherette, which stood on the site of today's station. The bombing of 1944 destroyed the house, on the site of which today's modern Railway Station was built. A memorial tablet in the right wing of the station and a statue of Petőfi in the Square - a work by Ferenc Medgyessy - are memorials to the poet. It is best to start exploring the town from Petőfi Square heading towards the Aranybika Hotel.

Iparkamara Street
On the left hand side is the tallest building of the town, a twenty-storey tower block.

Piac Street
The main street of the town became Piac (Market) Street during the late Middle Ages when commerce was blooming in Debrecen and markets were offering a wide variety of goods. The architectural face of the town began to take shape only at the beginning of the 19th century under the influence of classicism, and it was eventually formed by the beginning of the 20th century, influenced by secessionist and eclectic tastes.

The memorial plaque to Mihály Fazekas
As one can read on the memorial tablet on the wall of the house at No. 58 Piac Street, Mihály Fazekas, the author of Lúdas Matyi lived in the house that once stood here. The reliefs are the work of András Tóth, the father of the poet Árpád Tóth. They depict five scenes from the folk tale Ludas Matyi, plus one in remembrance of the friendship between Fazekas and Csokonai. A small memorial garden in Vármegyeháza (County Hall) Street on the site of the garden of the scientist-poet reminds us of Mihály Fazekas, the botanist.

The County Hall
At No. 54 stands one of the most beautiful Hungarian buildings built in secession style. The house of the former Hajdú County Hall was built in 1911-1912 following plans by Zoltán Bálint and Lajos Jámbor.

Commercial houses
At No. 57 Piac Street stands the house founded by the glass trader Endre Kaszanyitzky, and which opened its doors in 1852. 

Rickl House
The main street of Debrecen had been lined by commercial houses. The first three-storied houses of the city were built in the stret called Big Market or Main Market. Apparently they are characterized by simplicity but their facades have many nice decorations. Some of them deserve special attention such as, for instance, the Rickl House at 39-41 Piac Street. The house was built in classicist style in 1820 and was actually the extension of the so-called “House Standing on Pillars” in the courtyard which had been purchased by the Rickl merchant family originating from Melk in 1789. According to contemporary records, József Rickl measured how long the main street was and he chose this house because it stood exactly in the middle of it. 

Csanak House
The Csanak House standing on the corners of Piac and Arany János Streets was built in romantic style by József Csanak who had been a serf in nearby Derecske but became a famous grocer and sponsor of the cultural life of the city. Among others, the famous Hungarian novelist, Mór Jókai stayed in this house when visiting Debrecen. At present, the building houses a bank and an insurance company.

Gambrinus Passage
From the shop-encircled passage, stairs and a lift lead underground to a shopping street. On the corner of the passage the pleasant flowery terrace of a pub awaits its guests.

The First Savings Bank
The savings bank opposite the Reformed Small Church operated as early as 1872—and this was the very first savings bank of the city as well. The current building was completed in 1912—following the fashion of the day—in secessionist style with decorations of stuccos and sculptures on the front. The reliefs of the facade facing Piac Street show industrial, commercial and agricultural work. Its copper portal of the main entrance was made in a famous Berlin workshop while the interior glazed earthenware was produced by the Zsolnay factory famous for its chinaware.

Reformed small church
The building was constructed in 1600, but in the fire of 1727 it suffered severe damage. Originally the tower was covered by an onion-like dome, however in 1907 a huge wind-storm damaged it. They repaired it but another even bigger wind-storm completely destroyed the tower cover. Then the architects gave the tower a bastion-like form and gave up the idea of the pointed dome. Since then the building has also been called the "Truncated Church".

Széchenyi Street
Széchenyi Street leads off from Piac Street starting at the Small Church. The street formed in the 15th century was originally called Német (German) Street because the German traders coming to the markets lived here. It was named after the ‘Greatest Hungarian’, Ferenc Széchenyi at the end of the 19th century. Széchenyi, the most significant reformist politician of the 19th century, visited the town several times. As a young hussar officer he served in the regiment of colonel Simonyi. In 1840 he was in Debrecen because of the project to regulate the River Tisza.

The Aranybika (Golden Bull) Hotel
Grand Hotel Aranybika is located in the heart of Debrecen. The present Art Nouveau building was built by the plans of Alfred Hajos, Hungary's first olimpic champion, in 1915. The hotel offers 205 rooms (50 of them are air-conditioned), and many more facilities for those who want to spend their holiday or business stay in full comfort.

Kossuth Square
The main square of Debrecen was handed over to the public on 7 July, 2001. During the past years the square has become a real community space. The downtown pedestrian zone including the square is the scene of a number of interesting events such as the Turkey Days, the greatest gastronomic programme in the summer; the Cívis Promenade organized over the weekends in July; the Flower Carnival, the best-known and large-scale festival of the city as well as the Béla Bartók Choir Competition of international fame. At Christmas time, the City Christmas Tree is put up here and it is a really joyful moment when the people of Debrecen welcome the New Year with concerts and street balls. The square was named after Lajos Kossuth, one of the “greatest” Hungarians. He was one of the most outstanding figures in the 19th-century fight for national independence, for the abolition of feudal privileges and for the granting of civil rights as well as the intellectual leader of the Hungarian War of Independence. First, Kossuth was Finance Minister, then President of the National Defence Committee and later he was elected to the Governor-President of Hungary. He is still one of the most evident embodiments of the Revolution and War of Independence of 1848-49 in the Hungarian public mind.

Reformed Great Church
The Reformed Great Church of Debrecen is one of the most significant Classicist historic buildings of Hungary. It was designed by Mihály Péchy, and built between 1805 and 1822. Its north-south nave (with the organs at its two ends and with the pulpit at its north end) is 38 m long and 14 m wide; its east-west aisle is 55 m long and 15 m wide. The towers are 61 m high. The number of seats in the church is approximately 1800. The famous “Rákóczi-bell” – weighing 5 tons and donated by György Rákóczi in 1637 – can be seen by tourists in the western tower. The building of the Great Church has become a symbol not only for the inhabitants of Debrecen, but for the entire Reformed people of Hungary. In the spot of the Great Church there was a church already in the 12th century. On this spot was built the St. Andrew Church from the donation of the Dósa family of Debrecen, in the 15th century. After expansion, it became the greatest Gothic hall church of the Transtibiscan Church District by the 16th century, but burnt down in 1564. They started to rebuild the church that was by that time called Andrew, in 1626, and later they built a separate tower from bare bricks for the Rákóczi-bell. This was the Veres-torony (Red Tower) whose reconstructed basement wall can be seen in the western end of the Great Church. The Andrew Church burnt down together with the College in the 1802 fire.
The Great Church was the scene of two historical events. The government of the 1848-49 revolution took refuge in Debrecen, and it declared the dethronement of the Habsburgs and proclaimed the Declaration of Independence on 14th April, 1849. The Temporary National Assembly met also in the Great Church in December, 1944.

The Memorial Garden
Behind the Great Church lies the ornamental Memorial Garden. The Memorial Garden Society, which was formed in 1861, came up with the idea of creating a garden here: “Because Debrecen is bereft of such natural elements as rivers, mountains and stones, these must be substituted by trees, bushes and flowers, which are also the gifts of nature.” The plan laid down that in the square “should stand such dignified statues which are erected by grateful generations of different eras in remembrance of the great figures of the past, who achieved something notable for the nation or in the field of the arts and sciences.”

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