About the city
Perhaps it suffices to say that it is the second largest city in Hungary.
But of course, that’s not all.
For its history and its impact on Hungarian culture, and, more specifically, literature has been huge.
“The Calvinist Rome,” as it is often called, is the second most populous city in Hungary, after Budapest, with more than 200,000 inhabitants, situated 230 km east of the capital on the Great Hungarian Plain. There are no differences in elevation in the city or even in most of the county itself, which many living in mountainous or hilly regions find rather interesting. It is the real “Hungarian puszta.” Debrecen is an important transport hub, and it even has its own airport, with flights arriving from several European cities.
It is the city with the most sunshine hours in Hungary.
One of the most splendid and attractive features of the city is its unusually wide main street, Piac Street, which leads from the train station to the Reformed Great Church, from Petőfi Square to Kossuth Square. The section of the street between the Great Church and Kossuth Street is a pedestrian area. The most renowned institution in Debrecen, Lajos Kossuth University, is situated in one of the most beautiful parts of the city, the so-called Big Forest. The university has a library of some half a million volumes.
In earlier centuries, Debrecen was famous all over Europe for its market fairs, a distinctive feature of the city which is also mentioned in the arts, for instance in the folk song, “Debrecenbe kéne menni, pulykakast kéne venni” [Let’s go to Debrecen and buy a turkey] or Mihály Fazekas’s funny yet edifying tale written in hexameter, Lúdas Matyi [Matthew the Gooseboy].
Writers of the city
The Debrecen Reformed College has always been the cornerstone of intellectual development in the city. Numerous renowned Hungarians started their careers here, including literary figures such as Endre Ady, János Arany, Mihály Csokonai Vitéz, Mihály Fazekas, Ferenc Kazinczy, Zsigmond Móricz, and Lőrinc Szabó, to name but a few. Móricz recorded the years he spent in Debrecen in his novel Légy jó mindhalálig [Be Faithful Unto Death], but of course the city has had a fundamental impact on the worldviews of other poets and writers educated in the city, too.
Contemporary literary life in Debrecen makes the city one of the most vivacious spots in the country. The periodical Alföld [Great Plain] has been published for more than six decades, including publication by prominent authors such as Magda Szabó, Sándor Tar, Szilárd Borbély, and János Térey.
The resident writer, who will have the opportunity to live and work in a recently renovated flat on the top floor of a traditional residential building in charming Zöldfa Street, will find a welcoming home in this literary milieu and in the inspiring city of Debrecen.
Sights to see
The Reformed Great Church of Debrecen
The Debrecen Reformed College
The University of Debrecen
The Debrecen Flower Carnival (August 20)
The Debrecen Big Forest
MODEM (Center of Modern and Contemporary Art)
The Debrecen Zoo
The Thermal baths: Aquaticum (Debrecen), Hajdúszoboszló
About the residence
The writer’s residence in Debrecen is located on the second floor of a residential building in Zöldfa Street, which is managed by the Csokonai Theater. The 80-square-metre apartment, which was recently renovated for the Hungarian Writers’ Residence, has spacious rooms which are suitable for welcoming guests. The house is located at the edge of the city center, a short walk from the bustling pedestrian zones of Debrecen. The surrounding streets are residential, with lots of green areas and very little car traffic.