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Debrecen and Oradea, two of the largest cities in the programme area

Starting with this issue, our newsletters will contain a short presentation of the 8 county seats located within the programme area, by city-pairs. This time on our journey throughout the Programme area we will make a stop in the city of Debrecen and Oradea.


Debrecen Oradea
Hungary   Romania
Hajdú-Bihar Bihor
461.25 km2 (178.1 sq mi) 156.2 km2 (60.3 sq mi)
Total population 206,225 


Debrecen is the the second argest city in Hungary after Budapest.

The town is situated in the eastern part of Hungary in the area between the River Tisza and the border line towards Romania. It is one of the cultural and social centres of Hungary. It is located 220 km (137 miles) east of Budapest.

Debrecen obtained a leading role among the former villages on its current territory in the 13th century. Due to its religious, political and economic strength, the settlement, which functioned over the centuries almost like a city-state, served as the capital of Hungary twice in its history. Today,it is one of the cultural and social centres of Hungary.

Oradea is the capital city of Bihor County in Romania.

Located just 8 miles from the Hungarian border and spanning both shores of the Crisu Repede River, the elegant city of Oradea is a great starting point for exploring Romania.

Oradea dates back to a small 10th century castle, while its bishopric was founded during the 11th century by King Ladislaus I of Hungary. The first documented mention of its name was in 1113 under the Latin name Varadinum.

Due to its specific character, Oradea is one of the most important economic and cultural centers of Western Romania and of the country in general, and one of the great academic centers with a special development dynamics.

Interesting facts

With its 600.000 pieces, the Library of the Reformed College from Debrecen is the greatest such collection of the Hungarian Reformed Church. The Bible collection includes the volumes of the Holy Book in more than 250 languages. In 1831 the coin collection already had more than 6.000 pieces.

Few people realise that the largest and longest-standing festival of the city, the Flower Carnival of Debrecen, looks back on a history of over one hundred years, as the annals of the city mention a “flower promenade” held as early as 1905.

Over the years, some 100 million flowers have been used to decorate 600 or so floats, which were seen, along with the tens of thousands of Hungarian and foreign performing participants, by millions of visitors.

Apart from Debrecen’s high standards of education and historical role, the region is renowned for the puszta of Hortobágy with its exceptional natural beauty and wild life, the csárda (local inn), the special breeds of horses and its numerous thermal baths (centred in Hajdúszoboszló), as it is one of the largest centers of mineral thermal water in Europe.

Interesting facts

The city used to be called the Petit Paris, in the early 20th century.Oradea's architecture is a mix between contemporary and beautiful historical buildings. In addition to many Baroque buildings, Oradea is remarkable for its particularly rich collection of Art Nouveau architecture.

There are over 100 religious sites of different denomination in Oradea, including three synagogues, the biggest Baptist Church in Eastern Europe and the Church of the Moon (Biserica cu Luna) – featuring an astronomical clock depicting the phases of the moon.

The Baroque Palace of Oradea, which resembles on a smaller scale to the famous Royal Belvedere (palace) of Vienna, has 365 exterior windows representing the days of the year and around 100 large, extravagant rooms distributed on three floors.

Austrian mathematician Georg von Peuerbach (1423 – 1461) worked at the Observatory of Varadinum (present-day Oradea), using it as the reference or prime meridian of Earth in his Tabula Varadiensis, published posthumously in 1464.