pronunciation: [ˈdɛbrɛt͡sɛn] ( listen)) is
Hungary's second largest city after Budapest. It is the regional
centre of the
Northern Great Plain
Northern Great Plain region and the seat of Hajdú-Bihar
county. It was the largest Hungarian city in the 18th century and
it is one of the Hungarian people's most important cultural
Debrecen was also the capital city of
Hungary during the
revolution in 1848–1849. During the revolution, the dethronement of
the Habsburg dynasty was declared in the Reformed Great Church. The
city also served as the capital of
Hungary by the end of the World War
II in 1944–1945. It is home of the University of Debrecen.
7.2 Ethnic groups
7.3.1 Reformed Church in Debrecen
7.3.2 Jewish community
9.1 Association football
10 Main sights
12 Famous people
12.1 Born in Debrecen
12.2 Lived in Debrecen
13 Twin towns - sister cities
14 See also
17 External links
The city is first documented, as "Debrezun", in 1235. The name derives
from the Turkic word "debresin", which means "live" or "move" and it
is also a male given name. Other theory says the name is of Slavic
origin meaning well-esteemed (Polish: Dobrze cenione). In other
languages, the name of the city varies more in spelling than in
pronunciation: Romanian Debrețin, German Debrezin, Serbian Debrecin,
Czech and Slovak Debrecín.
Debrecen, typically for its Central European location, has a humid
continental climate (Köppen Dfb).
Climate data for Debrecen
Record high °C (°F)
Average high °C (°F)
Daily mean °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Record low °C (°F)
Average precipitation mm (inches)
Mean monthly sunshine hours
The development of
Debrecen is mainly financed by agricultural, health
care and educational business. The city is the main center of shopping
in the east of Hungary. Forum
Debrecen is the largest shopping mall in
Debrecen is one of the most developed cities in Hungary,
regional center of international companies, like National Instruments,
IT Services Hungary, BT and health product manufactures (Teva
Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. and Gedeon Richter Plc.).
Debrecen is located on the Great Hungarian Plain, 220 km
(137 mi) east of Budapest. Situated nearby is the Hortobágy
The city used to be somewhat isolated from Budapest, Hungary's main
transport hub. However, the completion of the motorway M35 means
Budapest can now be reached in under two hours.
Debrecen Airport (the
second largest in Hungary) has recently undergone modernisation in
order to be able to handle more international flights, although almost
all flights to and from
Hungary still use Budapest's Ferihegy Airport
Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport). Cities that
can be reached from the
Debrecen Airport include Brussels, Eindhoven,
London, Malmö, Milan, Tel Aviv,
Moscow and Paris. There have also
been improvements to some parts of the railway between the capital and
Debrecen as part of Hungary's mainly EU-funded National Development
Plan for 2004 to 2006.
There are many railway stations in Debrecen, the most significant is
the main station of Debrecen, in addition other smaller stations
exist, these include Debrecen-Csapókert, Debrecen-Kondoros,
Debrecen-Szabadságtelep and Tócóvölgy.
Debrecen's proximity to Ukraine,
Romania enables it to
develop as an important trade centre and transport hub for the wider
Local transport in the city consists of buses, trolleybuses, and
trams. It is provided by the DKV (Debreceni Közlekedési Vállalat,
or Transport Company of Debrecen). Nearby towns and villages are
linked to the city by Hajdú Volán bus services.
See also: Timeline of Debrecen
Piac Street in 1910s
Stephen Bocskay was a Hungarian noble from Transylvania.
The settlement was established after the Hungarian conquest.
Debrecen became more important after some of the small villages of the
area (Boldogasszonyfalva, Szentlászlófalva) deserted due to the
Mongol invasion of Europe. It experienced rapid development after the
middle of the 13th century.
In 1361, Louis I of
Hungary granted the citizens of
Debrecen the right
to choose the town's judge and council. This provided some
opportunities for self-government for the town. By the early 16th
Debrecen was an important market town.
King Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor, as part of a treaty with Serbian
ruler Stefan Lazarević, gave him the opportunity to rule
September 1411. A year after Lazarević's death in 1426, his role was
taken over by his successor, Đurađ Branković.
Between 1450 and 1507, it was a domain of the Hunyadi family.
During the Ottoman period, being close to the border and having no
castle or city walls,
Debrecen often found itself in difficult
situations and the town was saved only by the diplomatic skills of its
leaders. Sometimes the town was protected by the Ottoman Empire,
sometimes by the Catholic European rulers or by Francis II Rákóczi,
prince of Transylvania.
Debrecen later embraced the Protestant
Reformation quite early, earning the monikers "the
Calvinist Rome" and
Geneva of Hungary". At this period the inhabitants of the town
were mainly Hungarian Calvinists.
Debrecen came under Turkish control
as a sanjak between 1558 and 1693 and orderly bounded to the eyalets
of Budin (1541–1596), Eğri (1596–1660) and Varat (1660–1693) as
Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor
Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor elevated
Debrecen to free royal
town status. In 1715, the
Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church returned to Debrecen,
and the town gave them a place to build a church, so the Piarist monks
could build the St. Ann's Cathedral. By this time the town was an
important cultural, commercial and agricultural centre, and many
future scholars and poets attended its Protestant College (a
predecessor of today's
University of Debrecen
University of Debrecen and also of Debrecen
Reformed Theological University).
Debrecen was the capital of
Hungary for a short time when the
Hungarian revolutionary government fled there from Pest-Buda
(modern-day Budapest). In April 1849, the dethronization of
Habsburgs (neglected after the fall of the revolution) and the
Hungary was proclaimed here by
Lajos Kossuth at the
Great (Calvinist) Church (Nagytemplom in Hungarian.) The last battle
of the war of independence was also close to Debrecen. The Russians,
allied to Habsburgs, defeated the Hungarian army close to the western
part of the town.
The famous Aranybika (Golden Bull) Hotel, 1954
The Great Church
After the war,
Debrecen slowly began to prosper again. In 1857, the
railway line between
Debrecen was completed, and Debrecen
soon became a railway junction. New schools, hospitals, churches,
factories, and mills were built, banks and insurance companies settled
in the city. The appearance of the city began to improve too: with
new, taller buildings, parks and beautiful villas it no longer
resembled a provincial town and began to look like a modern city. In
Debrecen became the first Hungarian city to have a steam
After World War I,
Hungary lost a considerable portion of its eastern
territory to Romania, and
Debrecen once again became situated close to
the border of the country. It was occupied by the Romanian army for a
short time in 1919. Tourism provided a way for the city to begin to
prosper again. Many buildings (among them an indoor swimming pool and
Hungary's first stadium) were built in the central park, the Nagyerdő
("Big Forest"), providing recreational facilities. The building of the
university was completed. Hortobágy, a large pasture owned by the
city, became a tourist attraction.
During World War II,
Debrecen was almost completely destroyed, 70% of
the buildings suffered damage, 50% of them were completely destroyed.
A major battle involving combined arms, including several hundred
tanks (Battle of Debrecen), occurred near the city in October 1944.
Debrecen was captured by Soviet troops of the 2nd Ukrainian Front on
20 October. After 1944, the reconstruction began and
the capital of
Hungary for a short time once again. The citizens
began to rebuild their city, trying to restore its pre-war status, but
the new, Communist government of
Hungary had other plans. The
institutions and estates of the city were taken into public ownership,
private property was taken away. This forced change of the old system
brought new losses to Debrecen; half of its area was annexed to nearby
towns, and the city also lost its rights over Hortobágy. In 1952, two
new villages –
Nagyhegyes – were formed from former parts
of Debrecen, while in 1981, the nearby village Józsa was annexed to
Census data for the present territory of Debrecen.
According to the 2011 census, the total population of
211,320, of whom 209,782 people (99.3%) speak Hungarian, 49,909
(23.6%) English, 22,454 (10.6%) German, and 5,416 (2.6%) speak
According to the 2011 census, there were 177,435 (84.0%) Hungarians,
1,305 (0.6%) Romani, 554 (0.3%)
Germans and 504 (0.2%)
Debrecen. 31,931 people (15.1% of the total population) did not
declare their ethnicity. Excluding these people
Hungarians made up
98.9% of the total population. In
Hungary people can declare more than
one ethnicity, so the sum of ethnicities is higher than the total
Largest groups of foreign residents
According to the 2011 census, there were 52,459 (24.8%) Hungarian
Reformed (Calvinist), 23,413 (11.1%) Roman Catholic, 10,762 (5.1%)
Greek Catholic, 899 (0.4%) Baptist, 885 (0.4%) Jehovah's Witnesses,
and 812 (0.4%)
Lutheran in Debrecen. 54,909 people (26.0%) were
irreligious, 3,877 (1.8%) atheist, while 59,955 people (28.4%) did not
declare their religion.
Reformed Church in Debrecen
From the 16th century, the Reformation took roots in the city, first
Lutheranism, later Calvin's teachings become predominant. From 1551,
Calvinist government of the city banned the moving of Catholics in
Debrecen. Catholic churches were taken over by the Reformed church. In
1552, the Catholic faith vanished in the city, until 1715 when they
regained a church. Several Reformed church leaders like Peter Melius
Juhasz who translated the Genevan Psalms lived and worked here. In
1567, a synod was formed in the city when the Second Helvetic
Confession was adopted. Famous Reformed Colleges and schools were
formed. Nickname of
Debrecen commonly used in
Hungary is the Calvinist
Rome because of the great percentage of the Reformed faith in the city
as well as the Reformed church has significant influence in the city
and the region.
Debrecen is the home of the Reformed Theological
University of Debrecen. (Debreceni Református Hittudományi
Egyetem). The Reformed Theological University was founded in 1538.
This was the only Reformed Theological Institute that was allowed to
Hungary during communist rule.
Hungarian Reformed Church has about 20 congregations in Debrecen,
including the famous Reformed Great Church of Debrecen, which can
easily accommodate about 5000 people (with 3000 seats).
The main synagogue in the center of the city
Jews were first allowed to settle in
Debrecen in 1814, with an initial
population count of 118 men within 4 years. Twenty years later, they
were allowed to purchase land and homes. By 1919, they consisted 10%
of the population (with over 10,000 community members listed) and
owned almost half of the large properties in and around the town.
The Hungarian antisemitic laws of 1938 caused many businesses to
close, and in 1939 many Jews were enslaved and sent to the Ukraine,
where many died in minefields.
In 1940, the
Germans estimated that 12,000 Jews were left in the town.
In 1941, Jews of Galician and Polish origin were expelled, reducing
the number of Jews to 9142. In 1942, more Jews were drafted into the
Hungarian forced labor groups and sent to the Ukraine.
German forces entered the city on 20 March 1944, (Two and a half weeks
before Passover) ordering a Judenrat (Jewish Council) headed by Rabbi
Pal (Meir) Weisz, and a Jewish police squad was formed, headed by
former army captain Bela Lusztbaum. On 30 March 1944, (a week before
Passover) the Jews were ordered to wear the Yellow star of David.
Jewish cars were confiscated and phone lines cut. During the Passover
week, many Jewish dignitaries were taken to a nearby prison camp,
eventually reaching the number of 300 prisoners. A week later all
Jewish stores were closed, and a public book-burning of Jewish books
was presided by the antisemitic newspaper editor Mihaly Kalosvari
An order to erect a ghetto was issued on 28 April 1944, in the name of
the town mayor Sandor Kolscey, who opposed the act, and was ousted by
the Germans. Jews were forced to build the Ghetto walls, finishing it
within less than a month on 15 May 1944.
On 7 June 1944, all movement in or out of the Ghetto was prohibited
and a week later all
Debrecen Jews were deported to the nearby Serly
brickyards, and stripped of their belongings, joining Jews from other
Ten families of prominent Jews, including those of Rabbi Weisz and
orthodox chief Rabbi Strasser, along with the heads of the Zionist
(non orthodox) movement joined the Kasztner train. (According to some
sources, the Strasshoff camps were filled with Jews for negotiations
in case the
Germans could receive something for releasing these Jews,
among them 6841 from Debrecen.) 298 of these
Debrecen Jews were shot
by the SS in Bavaria, after being told they would reach
Theresienstadt. Some young
Debrecen Jews escaped the town, led by the
high school principal Adoniyahu Billitzer and reached Budapest,
joining resistance movements and partisans.
Most of the remaining
Debrecen Jews were deported to Auschwitz,
reaching there on 3 July 1944.
Debrecen was occupied by the Soviet
Army on 20 October 1944. Some 4,000 Jews of
Debrecen and its
surroundings survived the war, creating a community of 4,640 in 1946 -
the largest in the region. About 400 of those moved to Israel, and
many others moved to the west by 1970, with 1,200 Jews left in the
town, using two synagogues, one of them established prior to World War
The main building of the University of Debrecen.
Chiefly thanks to the reformation and the prestigious Calvinist
College, founded in 1538,
Debrecen has been the intellectual and
cultural centre of the surrounding area since the 16th century. 
Over the centuries, the College was transformed into a University and
its intellectual life developed a sphere of influence between
Oradea (Hu: Nagyvárad, now in Romania). In 1949–1950, several
departments of the University were shut down, due to Communist
takeover, with many students and teachers being expelled. The
University of Debrecen, as it is now called is still widely recognized
work of architecture (mostly thanks to its main building). The
University is the largest University in
Hungary has more than 100
departments and is a major research facility in Europe. The
University is well known for the cactus research laboratory in the
botanic gardens behind the main building.
In the second half of the 19th century, the
Debrecen press attracted
several notable figures to the city. Endre Ady, Gyula Krúdy, and
Árpád Tóth all began their journalistic careers in Debrecen.
Prominent literary figures from the city have included Magda Szabó,
and Gábor Oláh (hu). One of Hungary's best known poets, Mihály
Csokonai Vitéz, was born and lived in the city. The city's theatre,
built in 1865, was named in his honour in 1916, but can trace its
roots back to the National Theatre Company founded in
1789, which at first gave performances in the carthouse of an inn.
Celebrated actress Lujza Blaha is among those to have performed
Debrecen has a flourishing music scene and is home to
Tankcsapda, one of Hungary's most popular and successful rock bands.
There is also a rock school in the city offer training and mentoring
to young musicians. Classic media in the city include the newspaper
Napló, two TV channels, a range of local radio stations and several
companies and associations producing media material.
Debrecen Flower Festival (2006)
Debrecen is the site of an important choral competition, the Béla
Bartók International Choir Competition, and is a member city of the
European Grand Prix for Choral Singing. Every August the city plays
host to a flower festival.
The city's most famous association football club is Debreceni VSC
which won the
Nemzeti Bajnokság I
Nemzeti Bajnokság I seven times, the last one in
Debreceni VSC also known at international level since they
reached the 2009-10 UEFA Champions League group stage and the
2010-11 UEFA Europa League group stage. The club's newly built stadium
was opened in 2014, where the club could celebrate their seventh title
by winning the 2014-15 Nemzeti Bajnokság I. The stadium is also the
occasional home of the
Hungary national football team. The team hosted
Denmark in 2014 and
Lithuania in 2015.
The city had other association football clubs competing in the Nemzeti
Bajnokság I. One of them was
Bocskai FC who could also won the Magyar
Kupa once in 1930. The other club from the city was Debreceni Dózsa
MaDISz TE who competed in the 1945-46 Nemzeti Bajnokság I.
The city has hosted several international sporting events in recent
years, such as the second World Youth Championships in Athletics in
July 2001 and the first IAAF World Road Running Championships in
October 2006. The 2007 European SC Swimming Championships and World
Artistic Gymnastics Championships of 2002 also took place in Debrecen.
Most recently, the city hosted the 19th FAI World Hot Air Balloon
Championship in October 2010. In 2012,
Debrecen hosted the 31st
LEN European Swimming Championships.
Debreceni VSC (competing in the 2015-16 Nemzeti Bajnokság I)
Bocskai FC (defunct)
Debreceni Dózsa MaDISz TE
Debreceni Dózsa MaDISz TE (defunct)
Reformed Great Church (Nagytemplom)
City Park (Nagyerdő) and spa
Déri Museum (art collection including paintings of Mihály Munkácsy;
also has a collection of Ancient Egyptian artifacts)
Flower Carnival of Debrecen held on 20 August every year
Nagyerdei Stadion (the home football stadium of the association
football club Debreceni VSC)
Malom Hotel (former „Hortobágy” mill)
Ravatalozó in Art Nouveau architectural style
Heritage building in (Nagyerdő)
The current mayor of
Debrecen is Dr. László Papp (Fidesz-KDNP).
The local Municipal Assembly has 34+1 members divided into this
political parties and alliances:
Movement for a Better
Democratic Coalition (DK)
Politics Can Be Different
Politics Can Be Different (LMP)
Hungarian Socialist Party
Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP)
See also: Category:People from Debrecen
Born in Debrecen
Mihály Csokonai Vitéz
Emma Adler (1858–1935), writer
Ferenc Barnás (born 1959), novelist
Zsolt Baumgartner (born 1981), first Hungarian Formula One driver
Mihály Csokonai Vitéz (1773–1805), poet
Sari Dienes (1898–1992), artist
Mihály Fazekas (1766–1828), writer
Mihály Flaskay (born 1982), breaststroke swimmer
Nóra Görbe, (born 1956), actress, singer and pop icon
Meshulam Gross (1863–1947), Hungarian-American entrepreneur
George Karpati (1934–2009), physician, neurologist, surgeon,
Rivka Keren (born 1946), Israeli writer
Miklós Kocsár (born 1933), composer
Cathy Heaven (Evelin Magdolna Garamvolgyi) (1980–), actress
Orsi Kocsis (born 1984), fashion, glamour and art nude model
Imre Lakatos (1922–1974), philosopher of mathematics and of science
Paul László (1900–1993), architect
Gábor Máthé (born 1985), tennis Deaflympics champion
Magda Szabó (1917–2007), writer
József Váradi (born 1965), CEO of Wizz Air
Chaim Michael Dov Weissmandl
Chaim Michael Dov Weissmandl (1903–1957), rabbi and Holocaust
Lived in Debrecen
Endre Ady (1877–1919), poet
Julia Bathory (1901–2000), glass artist
Rudolf Charousek (1873–1812? 1873 until grade 4), World Champion
Géza Hofi (1936–2002), stand-up comedian
Andrew Karpati Kennedy, author and literary critic
Sándor Petőfi (1823–1849), poet
Alfréd Rényi (1921–1970), mathematician
Éva Risztov (born 1985), Olympic champion swimmer
Sándor Szalay (physicist) (1909–1987), physicist, founder of ATOMKI
Árpád Tóth (1886–1928), poet
Twin towns - sister cities
A signpost with distances to Debrecen's twin towns
See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Hungary
Debrecen is twinned with:
New Brunswick, New Jersey, United States
Rishon LeZion, Israel
Saint Petersburg, Russia
Taitung City, Taiwan
Debrecener – a pork sausage
^ Dezső Danyi-Zoltán Dávid: Az első magyarországi
népszámlálás (1784-1787)/The first census in
Hungarian Central Statistical Office, Budapest, 1960
^ a b c d e f g h Antal Papp: Magyarország (Hungary), Panoráma,
Budapest, 1982, ISBN 963 243 241 X, p. 860, pp. 463-477
^ "History of
Debrecen (Hungarian)". Retrieved 8 January 2018.
^ "Climate data for
Debrecen 1901-2000". Hungarian Meteorological
Service. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
^ "MÁV-START :: ELVIRA - belföldi vasúti utastájékoztatás".
Elvira.mav-start.hu. Retrieved 25 December 2012.
^ a b c d Hungarian census 2011 Területi adatok -
/ 188.8.131.52 A népesség nyelvismeret, korcsoport és nemek szerint
(population by spoken language), 184.108.40.206 A népesség a nmezetiségi
hovatartozást befolyásoló tényezők szerint (population by
ethnicity), 220.127.116.11 A népesség vallás, felekezet és fontosabb
demográfiai ismérvek szerint (population by religion), 18.104.22.168 A
népesség számának alakulása, terület, népsűrűség (population
change 1870-2011, territory and population density) (Hungarian)
^ "Hungarian census 2011 - final data and methodology" (PDF).
Retrieved 8 January 2018.
^ "Debreceni Református Hittudományi Egyetem".
^ "Egyetemünk - Debreceni Református Hittudományi Egyetem".
^ "A kerület története - Egyházkerület - Tiszántúli Református
^ "Reformatus.hu - History of the RCH".
^ "Debreceni Református Egyházmegye -".
^ a b
Debrecen Kehilla book, pp. 12-14
^ a b The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust
Hajdúböszörmény jail camp
^ Eugene KATZ. "Shtetlinks on Debrecen". Shtetlinks.jewishgen.org.
Retrieved 25 December 2012.
University of Debrecen
University of Debrecen Medical School". eu-medstudy.com. Retrieved
28 February 2018.
^ "History of the University Debreceni Egyetem". Unideb.hu. 1
January 2000. Retrieved 25 December 2012.
^ "Csokonai Nemzeti Színház".
^ "Debreceni VSC". UEFA. 15 July 2014.
^ "Hungarian League winners". The Rec Sport Soccer Statistics
Foundation. 15 July 2014.
^ "UEFA Champions League 2009-10: Clubs". UEFA. 15 July 2014.
^ 2010worldballoons.com Archived 15 August 2010 at the Wayback
^ "debreceniviragkarneval.hu". debreceniviragkarneval.hu. Archived
from the original on 27 May 2013. Retrieved 25 December 2012.
^ "Debrecen.hu". Portal.debrecen.hu. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
^ "Miasta Partnerskie Lublina" [
Lublin - Partnership Cities].
lublin.eu (in Polish). Archived from the original on 16 January 2013.
Retrieved 7 August 2013.
^ "Διεθνείς Σχέσεις". e-patras.gr. Archived from the
original on 30 July 2012. Retrieved 25 December 2012.
^ "Syktyvkar :: Regions & Cities :: Russia-InfoCentre".
Russia-ic.com. 12 December 2010. Retrieved 25 December 2012.
See also: Bibliography of the history of Debrecen
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Debrecen.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Debrecen.
Official website in Hungarian and English
Debrecen Travel Guide
Debrecen at funiq.hu
Towns and villages of
City with county rights (1)
Debrecen (district seat)
City with county rights
Debrecen (county seat)
Largest cities in Hungary
Cities with county rights of
Hungary (alphabetical order)
Budapest (national capital)
Historical capitals of Hungary
Capitals of the Kingdom of Hungary
Capitals of the Eastern Hungarian Kingdom
Capitals of the Principality of Transylvania
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