Debrecen, Hungary

Places to visit in Hungary's second largest city

My my cute and cosy hometown - Debrecen, captured on film by Fruzsina Bodnar.

Every summer comes that time of the year when I return to my roots and revisit Hungary to spend some quality time with family and friends. Debrecen is located 2 hours east of the capital Budapest, its population is small yet it's still the second largest city in Hungary.

Having spent my whole childhood there means that it has and always will hold a special place in my heart. Yet as the older I get, the more I begin to really appreciate the unique character of the city, its architecture and its way of life. 

Wondering around the centre one afternoon with my sister, I found myself looking at the place I've known my entire life in a whole new way. Having visited and lived in a few different cities now, I came to the realisation that this small and humble town is really unlike any other that I know. 

I'm all for living in big cities and having big experiences yet somehow, the ambience and nostalgic memories of Debrecen give me one of the biggest and most special experiences of value. While I couldn't return to live here, I love even the smallest little parts of it for the way they make me feel.

As my sister and I explored the city centre, these photos were captured on a Kodak 35mm film camera. Our nostalgic feelings at the time translate so well into these vintage photos and they do the architecture enough justice to show just how beautiful they are.

One of the interesting things about the church in the first photo is that the top part of it is 'missing' as it was damaged by a strong storm in 19th century. For this reason, it was named Csonka Templom ('Truncated Church'), making the result of this accident the unique identifier of the Church. 

Below that is a picture of Nagy Templom which translates to Big Church...and no, you're not the only one if you're beginning to think that Hungarians were lacking creativity when naming their churches! Originality at it's finest - Big Church it is. However, if you google images of Debrecen, this is the photo you'll most frequently come across, possibly making this Church the most famous landmark of the city. 

Speaking of famous, Hotel Arany Bika ('Golden Bull Hotel') in the following picture is Debrecen's most renowned hotel right in the heart of the centre. With its elegant art nouveau architecture that has remained untouched, it really is worthy of the title as it represents a historic part of the city. 

Next, a snippet of The Debreceni Orvostudomanyi Egyetem (the city's medical University) shows the fountain display which both students and locals gather around to cool down on hot summer days, followed by a better view of the building then a shot of me wondering around the city's wide, spacious streets, taking in the pretty views.

Overall, while Debrecen may not be your first choice when visiting Hungary, if you want to visit a place other than Budapest or if you're simply drawn to these images, a day trip to the city may be well worth it. 

Go in July when the annual Civis Korzo, a food and crafts street market takes over the city centre or better yet in August, when the Viragkarneval ('Flower Carnival') takes place and hundreds of cars covered completely with flowers go on a parade around the city. 

Whatever the time and reason of your visit may be, you'll be guaranteed to enjoy a peaceful city break and gain a real insight into the lives of the locals in Hungary. 

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