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Debrecen is the "Capital city of the Great Hungarian Plain", and the county seat and largest city of Hajdú-Bihar county in eastern Hungary. It is the second largest city in the country with about 200,000 inhabitants and historically the most important city in Hungarian protestantism.
Debrecen also has a university with all kinds of science areas. It has about 25000 students. The main building at the Nagyerdő is beautiful.
It can be easily accessed from Budapest by driving on the M3 highway and then the M35 (about at 186 km sign) highway but vignette is required. It is about a 2-hour drive. Or follow the main road 4 from Budapest or anywhere except east (more than 3 hours travel from Budapest), but it is not recommended because main road 4 is overcrowded and accidents are common.
The Debrecen Airport is the second biggest of the country and after many years of operation currently serves planes to several cities of Europe directly. Wizz Air flies from Eindhoven, Brussels, Malmö, Paris, Milan and London Luton. The airport is evolving into a multimodal logistics center with direct access to railways and roads.
From Budapest: There are trains from Budapest to Debrecen every hour during the day. InterCity trains, the fastest option, take 2.5 hours to reach Debrecen, and also stop at Budapest Airport (Ferihegy station).
From Vienna: Starting from 2015, the Hortobágy EuroCity train directly connects Debrecen to Vienna. Travel time is about 5h 15min.
Although the quickest way to get around is often on foot, there is an extensive network of trams, trolleybuses and buses all around the city and its suburbs. Headways of trams and trolleybuses are 5-15 minutes, while frequency on bus lines vary.
The most effective way to get around in the inner city is to walk. Most of the sights are in a couple of hundred meters from each other. While the center reflects the former status of Debrecen as an important cultural centre and capital with multi-story Classicist and Art-Nouveau buildings, the picture radically changes just a couple of streets away, where closed rows of one-level, large-gate houses dominate the view, that are typical to the smaller towns of the Great Plains of Hungary. Further away from the centre there are many higher concrete-block buildings.
There are many nice streets around, however there are many less attractive ones as well, but walking around is generally safe. Try Nagyerdő (the Great Forest): it is beautiful.
What to see
Although Debrecen is the second largest city in the country, it is a way smaller place with about one tenth the inhabitants, so do not expect as buzzing life as in Budapest. Still there are quite some attractions that reflect its former status as a main hub of the Great Plains, a cultural centre and once even the capital of Hungary. The Nagytemplom is a must see and easily accessible.
Places of Worship
Nagytemplom (Great Church) on Kossuth tér is Debrecen's most recognizable building and a symbol of the city. It is the centerpiece of what was once called "Calvanist Rome." Visitors can tour the interior, as well as go up in the tower to see the Rákóczi bell, the largest bell in Hungary, and excellent views of the city.
Kistemplom (Small Church) is a Calvinist church located at the intersection of the Piac (main) and Széchenyi streets. It got its nickname Csonkatemplom (Stumpy Church) from the lack of spire that gives its tower an unfinished appearance.
Görög katolikus templom (Eastern Catholic church), constructed in 1910 in Bysantine revival style, is at Attila square.
The Orthodox Synagogue on Pásti street was constructed in 1894 and has been completely renovated recently. It is used as a sacral place on religious holidays, and for exhibitions in the mean time. Other related establishments include a regularly operating prayer house from 1910, an exhibition, an old mikve (ritual bath), a slaughter-house. The Kápolnás street Synagogue was built in 1910 and fully reconstructed recently.
A muslim prayer house was established on Egyetem sugárút in 2015.
Ferenc Medgyessy Memorial Museum on Péterfia u. 28, displays the works and life of the artist.
László Holló Memorial Museum on Holló László sétány 8. It is housed on a one-acre park featuring a cottage housing the artist's works and a statue garden.
Delizsánsz Kiállítóterem - Postamúzeum (Post Museum) on Múzeum u. 3. (across the square from the Déri Museum in the main post office).
Debreceni Irodalmi Múzeum (Debrecen Literary Museum) on Borsos József tér 1. It has a permanent exhibit from the 1890 Csokonai literary circle. It also houses occasional temporary exhibits.
Kölcsey Központ (Modem) - a recently built modern centre for high-profile art exhibitions and musical/theatrical performances.