Five interesting facts

Five interesting facts

Five interesting facts about Debrecen



1. Debrecen as Hungary’s capital

Debrecen has been Hungary’s capital twice in the country’s history. First in 1849, during the Revolution and War of Independence of 1848-49 against the Habsburgs, the revolutionary government moved its headquarters from Pest-Buda to Debrecen.

Debrecen became the capital of Hungary for the second time in 1944-45, when the Provisional National Assembly was convened here. 


2. Debrecen, the “Calvinist Rome”

IOn 31 October 1517, Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-five Theses to the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg (in today’s Germany) that triggered a series of reforms worldwide in all fields of life. The religious reform movement soon set its foot in Debrecen too and the city became a pillar for Lutheran, and later Calvinist theology and faith, greatly influencing the city’s culture and development. 

Debrecen is the home of the Reformed Theological University (Debreceni Református Hittudományi Egyetem) founded in 1538; and the Reformed Great Church (Református Nagytemplom) that was built between 1805 and 1824 The Reformed Great Church is the largest Protestant church in Hungary. The majority of Debrecen’s population is still Protestant (25%), followed by Roman Catholic (11%).


3. Phoenix as an important symbol of Debrecen

A common sight in Debrecen is the image of the legendary creature, the Phoenix. In the city’s coat of arms, the Phoenix bird emerging from the fire symbolises the never-ending renewal of Debrecen.

The image appears in a number of landmarks, such as the mosaic of 180,000 pieces of Venetian glass covering a prominent spot in Kossuth Square, the design of the commemorative Millennium fountain, or the bodies of the popular streetcars. In addition, Hungary’s second largest events hall to be found in Debrecen, the Főnix (Phoenix) Arena, was also named after this mythological creature.


4. Debrecen has been a market town for almost 600 years

In 1361, King Louis the Great granted a royal charter with royal city rights to Debrecen, making it a market town, which resulted in economic development, especially through cattle trade, livestock breeding, crafts and fairs. 

The city was famous for its horses and livestock as far back as the middle ages and as a result, became the richest city in Hungary. Piac utca (meaning Market Street) was the proud site of the famous city fairs of the old days. The merchants’ houses, built at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, are still an integral part of “civic” life. 

Even today Debrecen hosts a large number of markets throughout the year, including the prominent St. Michael’s Day Fair (Mihály napi vásár) held twice a year (in May and October), fortnightly antique fairs and seasonal craft fairs. It also has a large number of daily farmers’ markets spread across the city, as well as a large open-air flea market (Zsibogó) that are highly popular among the inhabitants and the visitors of the city.


5. Debrecen has a two-hundred-year-old spa culture

In 1820, the discovery of a 65°C thermal spring on the verge of the Great Forest (Nagyerdő) put Debrecen on the wellness map. Spa culture sprung up around it and has been a part of daily life for many ever since. At the Aquaticum Spa, thermal water temperatures are typically between a perfect 34-38°C by the time the water is fed into the baths. The water is famed for its mineral content and its healing properties and consequently, there is a range of treatments (40 different balneotherapy options) available onsite that are not to be missed. 

The Kerekestelepi Thermal and Outdoor Pool also offers two thermal ponds as well as a gradually deepening pool with cold water to its visitors. The thermal water is beneficial to patients suffering from hyperacidity rheumatism and various diseases.