Our Environment



Nyíregyháza is Hungary’s seventh largest city, with almost 120 thousand confident, patriotic inhabitants. Its spectacular and dynamic development has been continuous since the18th century. The city has been the county capital, and the motor of the economic and cultural development of the region since 1876. Its central geographical location is advantageous for a sound development. There are three state borders in its vicinity (Slovakian, Ukrainian and Romanian), making the city a bridge in international trade and commerce.

One of the most important settlements of the Northern Plains is now an attractive touristic location as well.

For instance, its zoo, with more than 300 animal species, is one of the largest in Europe. But Nyíregyháza is also a city of spas: Krúdy, the prominent author of the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, often referred to Sóstó as a paradise, although he, at that time, did not know that near the picturesque lake there is thermal water in the depths of the land. This thermal water supplies today the Park Spa as well as the new Aquarius Adventure Baths opened in 2005, equipped with exciting facilities such as tidal basin, water-chutes etc.

The village museum of Sóstógyógyfürdő offers a ”time travel” to those seeking recreation and quiet moments among the ancient buildings. The village is not always quiet, though; it is often the venue of colourful cultural programmes and events.

Vidor Festival, a national celebration of cheerfulness, music and humour, attracts an increasing number of visitors to the capital of the Nyírség region from year to year. The festival is one the most significant theatrical festivals in the country. Our city hosts the Nyírség Autumn festival or arts and gastronomy, with the Fruit Carnival as its outstanding event. The carnival aptly illustrates that the most delicious fruit in Hungary is grown in the easternmost regions of the country.


The History of the Town:


The first document containing the name of the settlement was dated in 1209, the Nyír- prefix appearing regularly in charters from the 13th century. A document from 1326 mentions the settlement as an important religious centre. ”Nyíregyház,” as it was referred to in those days, was a populous place with its 400 inhabitants in the middle of the 15th century. Most of the people, however, fled from the Mongolian invaders and later from the Turkish tax collectors. Their place was occupied by Transylvanian settlers in the 1630-40s. Continual wars, epidemics and natural disasters decimated the population in the subsequent centuries.

Migration became more intensive after Prince Rákóczi’s War of Independence (1703-1711). The real renaissance of the town, and a new chapter in its development began in 1753, when Count Ferenc Károlyi became the landlord of half of the town. The new landlord offered considerable privileges to new settlers willing to come to the town. Organized settlement and a continuous flow of new immigrants increased the population by 2,000 in a few years. Most of the new settlers were Lutheran Slovakian free serfs from Békés County and then from the Highlands (today Slovakia).

When Nyíregyháza received the status of a market town, authorized to have four national market days in 1786, with its 7,000 inhabitants it was the most populous settlement in the county. After half a century of the new settlement, the community became wealthy enough to redeem themselves from their feudal commitments to their landlords, first from the Desewffy family in 1803, and then from the Count Károlyis in 1824. At the 1832-36 sessions of the parliament the town was mentioned as an example to be followed. In 1837, Nyíregyháza received special royal privileges, laid down in a charter. Nyíregyháza thus became a privileged market town.

The new, extended rights re-vitalized the daily life of the town: new cultural associations were established, a public hospital was created, and a new city hall was erected, with paved sidewalks around it. Street lights appeared, new shops and restaurants opened, and a public bath was created at Sóstó. A kindergarten was established for the smallest children, whereas somewhat older ones went to denominational schools and to the so-called ”professorial school,” that existed between 1806 and 1856.

The men of Nyíregyháza joined the ranks of the freedom fighters during the Revolution and War of Independence of 1848-49. In the summer of 1849, the town was occupied by Russian troops. When the revolution was finally crushed, a lot of freedom fighters were imprisoned, including Márton Hatzel, the Mayor of Nyíregyháza.

In the second half of the 19th century, dynamic urbanization continued. The first train arrived at the town’s new railway station in 1858. Banks were established. The dynamically developing town became the capital of Szabolcs county in 1876. In those decades of peaceful development a new telegraph office, a new post office were established, the impressive headquarters of the Water Boards was erected, a new theatre was created, and the town opened its tramway line in 1911.

At the end of World War I in 1918, a national council, and after the Communist takeover

workers’ and soldiers’ councils were organized in Nyíregyháza, similarly to other parts of the country. In April 1919, Romanian troops captured the town, and the occupation lasted for 10 months.

In 1924, the 100th anniversary of the redemption from feudal bonds intensified business life in the town, where the public buildings were renovated, a great exhibition and fair and other events were organized. New public buildings and housing estates were erected in the subsequent years.

In World War II, the town suffered grave losses. More than 6,000 Jews were deported by the Nazis, whereas another 2,000 people were deported by the Russians at the end of the war. A lot of the buildings of the town were destroyed or damaged. As a result of the Hungarian-Czechoslovakian treaty on the exchange of inhabitants, hundreds of ethnic Slovakian families left Nyíregyháza and its neighbourhood.

In October 1956, the news from the revolution in Budapest triggered demonstrations in Nyíregyháza, and a Provisional Council of Workers was set up on the 4th of November.

The economic, cultural and demographic development of Nyíregyháza has been uninterrupted since the 1960s. The number of inhabitants increased, new housing districts were added to the city. Nyíregyháza has become a real town of schools with the college of agriculture, and the teachers’ training college.

Today, Nyíregyháza is a city of county rank with a population of more than 115,000, with a wide range of cultural, sports and educational facilities and significant public collections, including a museum village and a zoo, and with Sóstó, a picturesque resort, only a few km away from the city centre.