Theme Week Hungary – Szeged

Saturday, 25 September 2021 - 12:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General
Reading Time:  7 minutes

Reök Palace © Aron96/cc-by-sa-4.0

Reök Palace © Aron96/cc-by-sa-4.0

Szeged is the third largest city of Hungary, the largest city and regional centre of the Southern Great Plain and the county seat of Csongrád-Csanád county. The University of Szeged is one of the most distinguished universities in Hungary. The Szeged Open Air (Theatre) Festival (first held in 1931) is one of the main attractions, held every summer and celebrated as the Day of the City on 21 May. Today’s Szeged is an important university town and a tourist attraction. The Szeged Symphony Orchestra (Szegedi Szimfonikus Zenekar) gives regular concerts at the Szegedi Nemzeti Színház. Szeged is situated near the southern border of Hungary, just to the south of the mouth of the Maros River, on both banks of the Tisza River, nearly in the centre of the Carpathian Basin. The Hungarian frontier with Serbia is just outside the town.

After the First World War Hungary lost its southern territories to Serbia, as a result Szeged became a city close to the border, and its importance lessened, but as it took over roles that formerly belonged to the now lost cities, it slowly recovered. Following the Loss of Transylvania to Romania, University of Kolozsvár (now Cluj-Napoca), moved to Szeged in 1921 (see University of Szeged). In 1923 Szeged took over the role of episcopal seat from Temesvár (now Timișoara, Romania). It was briefly occupied by the Romanian army during Hungarian-Romanian War in 1919. During the 1920s the Jewish population of Szeged grew and reached its zenith. Szeged suffered heavily during World War II. 6,000 inhabitants of the city were killed, In 1941, there were 4,161 Jews living in Szeged. After, March 19, 1944 German occupation, they were confined to a ghetto together with the Jews from surrounding villages. In June, 1944, the ghetto was liquidated. The Nazis murdered the larger part of the 8,500 and some were forced into forced labor in Strasshof Labor camp, Austria. Szeged was captured by Soviet troops of the 2nd Ukrainian Front on 11 October 1944 in the course of the Battle of Debrecen. During the communist era, Szeged became a centre of light industry and food industry. In 1965 oil was found near the city. In 1962, Szeged became the county seat of Csongrád. Whole new districts were built, and many nearby villages (e.g. Tápé, Szőreg, Kiskundorozsma, Szentmihálytelek, Gyálarét) were annexed to the city in 1973 (as was a tendency during the Communist era).

Town Hall © Chmee2/Valtameri/cc-by-3.0 National Theatre of Szeged © Devilm25/cc-by-sa-3.0 Ferenc Móra Museum © Chmee2/Valtameri/cc-by-3.0 Gróf Palace © Kozma János/cc-by-sa-3.0 Reök Palace © Aron96/cc-by-sa-4.0 Szeged Synagogue © Aron96/cc-by-sa-4.0
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National Theatre of Szeged © Devilm25/cc-by-sa-3.0
In the second century AD there was a Roman trading post established on an island in the Tisza, and the foundations of the Szeged castle suggest that the structure may have been built over an even earlier fort. Today only one corner of the castle still remains standing.

During the Mongol invasion the town was destroyed and its inhabitants fled to the nearby swamps, but they soon returned and rebuilt their town. In the 14th century, during the reign of Louis the Great, Szeged became the most important town of Southern Hungary, and – as the Turkish armies got closer to Hungary – the strategic importance of Szeged grew. King Sigismund of Luxembourg had a wall built around the town. Szeged was raised to free royal town status in 1498.

Szeged was first pillaged by the Turkish army on 28 September 1526, but was occupied only in 1543, and became an administrative centre of the Ottomans (see Ottoman Hungary). The town was a sanjak centre first in Budin Eyaleti (1543–1596), after in Eğri Eyaleti. The town was freed from Turkish rule on 23 October 1686, and regained the free royal town status in 1715. In 1719, Szeged received its coat of arms (still used today) from Charles III. During the next several years, Szeged grew and prospered. Piarist monks arrived in Szeged in 1719 and opened a new grammar school in 1721. Szeged also held scientific lectures and theatrical plays. These years brought not only prosperity but also enlightenment. Between 1728 and 1744 witch trials were frequent in the town, with the Szeged witch trials of 1728–29 perhaps being the largest. The witch trials were instigated by the authorities, who decided on this measure to remove the problem of the public complaints about the drought and its consequences of famine and epidemics by laying the responsibility on people among them, which had fraternized with the Devil. In 1720, the ethnic Hungarian population of the town numbered about 13000 to 16000, while the number of the Serb inhabitants was 1300.

Szeged is known as the home of paprika, a spice made from dried, powdered capsicum fruits. Paprika arrived in Hungary in the second half of the 16th century as an ornamental plant. About 100 years later the plant was cultivated as an herb, and paprika as we know it. Szeged is also famous for their szekelygulyas, a goulash made with pork, sauerkraut and sour cream. And also famous for their halászlé, fish soup made of carp and catfish.

The citizens of Szeged played an important part in the Hungarian Revolution of 1848. Lajos Kossuth delivered his famous speech here. Szeged was the last seat of the revolutionary government in July 1849. The Habsburg rulers punished the leaders of the town, but later Szeged began to prosper again; the railway reached it in 1854, and the town got its free royal town status back in 1860. Mark Pick’s shop – the predecessor of today’s Pick Salami Factory – was opened in 1869.

Here you can find the complete Overview of all Theme Weeks.

Read more on Szeged, Wikivoyage Szeged and Wikipedia Szeged. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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