Békéscsaba is the Hungarian city that has practically become extinct several times during its history. Despite this, it awaits tourists with many attractions.
Békéscsaba is not only an important city because of the local sausage and its food industry. Although the judgment of the settlement of the Southern Great Plain was not always the best, it had all the potential to be among the most popular.
It has led to a long and difficult journey here, but today it is one of the must-see attractions in the country, where there are sure to be plenty of exciting experiences waiting for all visitors.
History of Békéscsaba
The area has been inhabited since ancient times and we can find many things from the first culture of the Great Plain, the people of the Körös culture.
Many other ethnic groups also turned up here in the Iron Age: Scythians, Sarmatians, and Huns had already conquered this region.
After the conquest, the Hungarians continued a semi-nomadic life in several settlements. It was only after the Vata uprising in 1046 that the organization of feudal state power really began.
According to archaeologists, the establishment of Békéscsaba can be traced back to the 13th century, but it was already inhabited before that time.
Its name is of Turkish origin, and although it was standing strong for a long time during the Turkish occupation, it was eventually depopulated during the liberation struggles in the 17th century.
The resettlement is named after János György Harruckern, who played a significant role in the fight against the Turks and one of his primary aims was to bring Békéscsaba back to life. Decisively, the city was populated by predominantly Lutheran Slovak peasants, and even today it is the cultural center of the Slovaks in Hungary.
Later, cholera epidemics came, revolutions and uprisings took place, and the city reached its trough by the 2000s and began to really develop. Today, we can visit a truly developed and diverse city in all respects.
Recommended sights in Békéscsaba
Thanks to its varied and often a bit tumultuous history, there are plenty of sights here. In addition to the opportunities provided by nature, there are also many buildings and museums waiting to be discovered in the city.
Great Lutheran Church
One of the symbols of the city is the Great Lutheran Church, which is also the logo of the city. The church which is located on the Szeberényi Square was built in the classicist braid style in the 1800s.
Interestingly, it is the largest Lutheran church in Central Europe with its 3,000 seats and standing spaces, and a 70-meter tower.
Not only is it a pleasant sight from the outside, but also the beautifully but not ostentatiously designed church interior, which was built with two porch levels is worth seeing. With its excellent acoustics, it makes it a popular venue for classical music concerts today.
Ruins of the castle in Póstelek
If you wish to know the history of the city with the mapping of the wonderful environment, it is definitely worth visiting the ruins of the castle in Póstelek.
The park forest here has a calming effect while it takes us back in time. Póstelek was once really in a privileged position because of Weinckheim Castle and the manor. The area today is 14.6 hectares, which counts as a nature reserve.
It is worth taking advantage of the three different hiking trails, as you can find many special types of trees here. One of the most famous is the largest iron tree in the county, but there are also red-leafed beeches and huge pedunculate oak specimens.
By cleaning the old walkways, we can walk around the ruins of the castle, relax on the outdoor benches, but there is also a fireplace and a cozy little buffet. There is a very special atmosphere here, just for a little walk, look around or even hike.
Mihály Munkácsy Memorial House
The name of such a famous Hungarian artist as the painter Mihály Munkácsy can be connected to the city, so of course, we can also find the Memorial House and Museum marked with his name here.
In the 8-room small castle built by Jakab Steiner, Munkácsy himself once spent time, so there was no question that an exhibition of his 21 paintings would be arranged for him here.
These paintings are borrowed from the National Gallery, the other 9 Munkácsy works, which are the property of Békéscsaba, can be seen in the Mihály Munkácsy Museum.
At the same time, we can get a taste of the world of former rural, noble mansions, as well as the family life, thanks to the restored furniture of the Munkácsy family.
If we want to charge ourselves up a bit physically and mentally, then there is the renovated Árpád Bath. There are thermal pools, thermal and hot tubs, but also a hairdresser and beauty salon too.
The 50-meter infinity pool is also suitable for international competitions. Not only indoor, winterized pools, but also outdoor areas awaits the bathers. Here, the children too find exciting terrain for them: slides and adventure pools await them.
Slovak country house
As I mentioned at the beginning, a strong Slovak influence prevails in the city to this day, so of course, there is also a Slovak country house in Békéscsaba.
This moderate embraces the objects and memories of Slovak peasants: we can also get to know the peculiarities of farmhouses in the Great Plain.
Élővíz csatorna (Living Water Canal)
Residents of the city are especially proud of the Living Water Canal, which was excavated by residents who repopulated the city.
The aim was, on the one hand, to drain the swamps and, on the other hand, to make it easier to transport the wood needed for construction.
On the other side of this canal is the Szobor sétány (Statue Promenade), where we can admire the busts of all the famous people connected to the city.
Meseház (Fairytale House)
If you’re craving something really fabulous, then, of course, there’s the Fairytale House. In the building complex of the Community Houses which are located on the Békési út we can see a house from the last century and a real folk house.
Here is the so-called Fairytale House. In the workshop, we can learn about old folk crafts and use truly natural materials to create.
Booking is required, but it’s really worth a visit even with babies. Without wishing to be exhaustive, here you can also learn the tricks of claying, beading, textile printing, rag dolls, and doll making.
And those who are attracted to the churches should definitely discover the New Synagogue in the Széchenyi Park.
It is the youngest Jewish religious building in Hungary. This synagogue represents the neolog line, but of course, the Orthodox trend was once present in the city. Next to it is the Israelite Cemetery, which is also worth a visit.
And if we are already here, it is worth mentioning the Széchenyi Park, which is the central grove of Békéscsaba and a great favorite of the locals.
It has an area of about 0.5 m2 and is bordered by the already mentioned Living Water Canal and the Synagogue, so it is located in a rather patinated environment.
In this area in the 18th century – during the reign of Joseph II – there was a strawberry garden, then it was turned into a cemetery in the 19th century. Then, after being re-landscaped, there was also a pub and a steam bath here, also called by the locals to be the nightclub of the town.
Later, the park also served educational purposes, as it allowed students to learn about different plants and nature up close in the open air.
In the 1870s, a greenhouse was also located in the park and the Second Bridge of Living Water Canal was completed. Subsequent floods caused significant damage, and then slowly, the park began to destroy more and more.
Finally, the park was renovated in 2007 and regained its old splendor, and today we can find ecotourism trails, bike and hiking trails here. The former brewery has become a visitor center, and the renovated pavilion also serves as a library and exhibition space.
Csabai Tanya és Gabonatörténeti Kiállítóhely (Csabai Farm and Grain History Exhibition Grounds)
On the road from Békéscsaba to Gyula, we can find the Csabai Farm and Grain History Exhibition Grounds, with a real old windmill and all its accessories.
In addition to the already mentioned csókás windmill, a machine hutch was installed on the site. We can learn the history of grain storage and processing from prehistory to the present day. We can also gain an insight into the former life of the farm world in Békéscsaba.
If we return to the city center a bit, we should definitely mention the City Hall, which greatly influences the street view. Of course in the right way.
The romantic-style façade of the building was designed by Miklós Ybl himself, a famous Hungarian architect. If we visit Békéscsaba, it is worth seeing the ballroom, but the garden is not negligible either: with sad perennials in the inner courtyard. The first written record of Békéscsaba can also be found here.
Sausage of Békéscsaba
Of course, we have to mention the famous sausage of Békéscsaba and other meat products that everyone in the country is sure to know.
Its special taste, that particular taste of the sausage of Csaba, is due to the amount of peppers, among other spices. Nowhere else do they put as many peppers into them as here.
Today, many manufacturers and other places are working to preserve a truly authentic flavor while experimenting with more and more exciting combinations while maintaining high quality.
Sausage Festival of Békéscsaba
If we would like to get to know this Hungaricum even more, the Sausage Festival of Békéscsaba awaits us every October.
The festival aims to revive the traditional pig farming and meat processing typical of the city, to which we can also attribute these divine foods. Furthermore, here anyone can compare their knowledge of sausage filling, as every year several teams compete, season and fill the sausages according to their own recipe, and from which the most delicious win.
It is also worth coming here as a visitor, to taste the better and better products, and to enjoy the cultural and fun programs.
Békéscsaba is a truly exemplary settlement, as its inhabitants struggled hard to rebuild this city from scratch. Retaining all its centuries-old values and traditions, today we can get into a truly modern and exciting city.
Discover one of the best places in the Southern Great Plain, Békéscsaba, at any time of the year.