A Kingdom of Confidence
Nyíregyháza offers a microcosm of the 19th and early 20th century Hungarian urban environment. Its architectural style is a fine example of a nation in full command of its creative self during the heady days of the Austro-Hungarian Dual Monarchy (1867 – 1914). It is not usually included on the well-trodden tourist route.
After all it is in the far northeastern reaches of the country. Take our word for it though Nyíregyháza is not to be missed. A short stroll through the heart of this city offers a paradoxically short, but grand tour of a Kingdom in full blossom.
A grand tour of Nyíregyháza’s urban delights begins at its main square named after the prototypical Hungarian national hero, Lajos Kossuth. Here stands a bold statement in stone of the famed statesman.
Kossuth personifies the national aspirations of Hungarians. The statue is a symbolic representation of what Kossuth stood for, freedom and independence. On the west side of the square stands the Town Hall (Városháza).
Its 19th century design, a fine example of eclecticism. Bright and bold, the beautiful yellow exterior features a balcony fronting the upper level, while pillars on the lower level proscribe its entrance way.Every great turn of the 20th century Hungarian city was home to at least one urban palace.
These were anything but estates surrounded by endless hedgerows. Located in the heart of the belváros (inner city), palaces were built to showcase wealth during the glory days of the Dual Monarchy.On the northside of Kossuth tér, is Takarékpalota (Savings Palace) yet another showpiece of eclecticism.
Four storied with a stained glass dome, the building speaks of an age when progress and industry reigned supreme. Not far from Kossuth tér you will find another square, Hosok ter (Heroes Square).
The imposingly eclectic Megyeháza (County Hall) grandly displays Nyíregyháza’s role as the largest city and lifeblood of its economic hinterlandMoving on to Nyíregyháza’s multiple temples of worship the discordant strains of the Reformation/Counter-Reformation movements are well represented.
Be sure not to miss the Greek Catholic Church of the Uniate movement, which can be found south of Hősök Tere behind the Town Hall. Here we have another early 20th century structure, this time in Art Nouveau style.
Religion always seems to be such serious business, but the orange patterning that covers the church’s exterior lightens the mood considerably. It is inviting rather than intimidating.Crossing Kossuth tér once again, the twin spires of The Lady of the Hungarians Church punctuate the skyline.
This Roman Catholic Church is a towering presence with each spire topping out at 44 meters (144 feet) in height. If the exterior is impressive, the interior really stretches the definition of ecclesiastical style.
Rich pastels radiate a profound brightness rarely seen in more traditional church designs.
Heading southward down Dósza György utca into Luther ter, the Lutheran Great Church poignantly sits on the east side of the square. Situated at the city’s highest point, its prominent setting matches the historical role of Protestantism in this part of Hungary.
The Reformation took hold in northeastern Hungary and has never really let go. Its subtle style is an understated yet vibrant counterpoint to the eclectic flourishes found among the other examples of religious architecture in the city.
Nyíregyháza is a delightful surprise for those wishing to get off the beaten path, yet still experience a turn of the 20th century imperial Golden Age. Walk these squares and streets to experience the Kingdom of Hungary in full glory.
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