Nyíregyháza is the second most important city in the Northern Great Plain and by now has grown into a rapidly developing settlement. Whether it’s hiking in nature or wandering around the city, you won’t be bored here.
In terms of numbers, Nyíregyháza is the seventh-largest city in Hungary with 120,000 people and one of the economic engines of the region.
One of its sights is the animal park which has more than 500 species, and which is recognized at the European level.
Nyíregyháza has a rich history, it was inhabited even during the conquest of Hungary. In fact, in 1209, it was mentioned as Nyir in some records.
With a surprising simplicity, the name was later expanded with the word of Egyház to include the church because there was a church in the settlement.
During the Turkish period, many people left the village and many Hajdú settlers settled here, the effects of which are still felt today.
It may be surprising, but until 1620 the settlement belonged to Transylvania. Later on, after the Rákóczi War of Independence, the city began to re-populate.
In the 1700s, Lutherans who migrated here from the Highlands later founded the first grammar school and professor’s school, which still operates in Nyíregyháza as a Lutheran gymnasium.
Subsequently, urbanization continued, with theaters, schools, and hospitals built. The storms of history have not saved the inhabitants of the city.
Locals played a major role in the later War of Independence of 1848, and also many died in subsequent retaliation. Not only did the city suffer damage during World War II, but the Jewish community of about 6,000 was almost completely lost in the horrors.
This is what the Shoes on the Danube memorial statue commemorates, which can be viewed in Budapest. I wrote a shocking article about this, which is worth reading.
Sights in Nyíregyháza
The Northern Great Plain and its surroundings offer many attractions. Those who want to recharge on the soft lap of nature, maybe wellness, or go exploring the city looking for some history and culture, they all may find Nyíregyháza interesting.
One of its most popular attractions is the Nyíregyháza Zoo, recognized at the European level.
The zoo is just 5 minutes from the city center, in the Sóstó resort. The location of the park gives the base of the atmosphere, as it is located in a really undisturbed environment near an oak forest.
In almost 30 hectares of land, we can explore the planet in just a few hours, as we can explore the Earth’s wildlife by continent.
For example, polar bears walk here in the sand instead of stony ground, which even has its own stretch of water.
In the monkey forest, we can see the Malagasy Lemur from close up, we had better be careful with them because they can nick little things.
It is not only exotic but also the visitors can meet the Carpathian Basin specific animals and flora. At that time, they were the foundation of the zoo, so they were visibly present in the more modern version of the park.
It is a great feeling for visitors here that they do not meet animals suffering in 2×2 holes, but that they reconstruct their original habitat in large spaces and the animals can move freely here.
For example, the park’s bear couple lives their daily life in an area of almost one hectare. The Green Pyramid which covers an area of two hectares with Oceanarium and Rainforest is unique both in Hungary and in Europe.
Sóstó Museum Village
If you want to get a unified picture of Nyíregyháza, you should visit the Sóstó Museum Village. Sóstó itself is exciting because of its medicinal water and its bathing area, where we can relax.
In the museum village, we can see the typical architectural features and buildings of the county. We can also gain an insight into everyday venues such as a school, a grocery shop or a pub.
It is worth visiting in the summer, as there will be even more exciting programs around the life of the museum village.
And if it is Sóstó, we should mention the 7-hectare Park Bath. There are not only several swimming pools, but there is also a miniature golf course and a giant slide.
And if we are looking for a relaxation and healing experience, then the Aquarius Adventure Bath is there.
Here, every generation will coexist comfortably together: for those who want a quiet rest, there is the Thermal World, and those who want a more eventful experience will find their place in the Adventure World.
There are many sights in the city center too, such as the Nyíregyháza Synagogue. This orthodox synagogue was built between 1924 and 1932 and designed by Lipót Baumhorn.
Entering the building, we can admire paintings along the wall and ceiling. These paintings do not represent figures, but signs of tribes and constellations, as well as biblical scenes and symbols important to Judaism.
András Jósa Museum
The András Jósa Museum has a renowned archaeological exhibit throughout Europe and is named after a true polyhistor.
It also awaits visitors with an exciting exhibition of local history, fine art, and numismatics.
In addition, the city is famous as it is the birthplace of Gyula Krúdy and Gyula Benczúr, and the everyday life of the former famous hussars of Nyíregyháza is brought to life.
One of the symbols of Nyíregyháza can be the two-tower Greek-Catholic church, which was built in mixed Byzantine style.
The foundation stones of the church were laid in 1895 and by the summer of 1897, the building was completed.
The church was even hit by a bomb in 1945, which was later restored. Inside the building, there is also an ornate iconostasis, which patron saint is St. Nicholas.
Further downtown walk promises many exciting programs and attractions. On the main square of Nyíregyháza, Kossuth Square, we can admire the nine circular mosaics representing the planets.
The most prominent building is the Town Hall, an eclectic building with a truly Renaissance feel.
Another interesting feature of the place is that the famous “Tiszaeszlar trial” took place here, and the famous Hungarian writer Kálmán Mikszáth and Zsigmond Móricz also visited here.
Numerous parks, historic buildings, cafes, and restaurants await us in the city center, where we can enjoy the atmosphere of the place.
János Tuzson Botanical Garden
If we would like to return to nature’s soft lap for a little longer, then the János Tuzson Botanical Garden, which is one of the youngest in the country, is a recommended sight.
Here, we will find a variety of plant species from all over the world which is truly eye-catching. The 2500 species of plants cover about 6 hectares; and, thanks to the greenhouses, we can also find truly exotic plants.
The garden, by the way, is part of the College of Nyíregyháza and one of its main goals is to make biology studies in primary and secondary schools more interesting and complete.
But for those who just want to enjoy the always different plants, the clean air, for them is a wonderful opportunity too to come here.
Nyíregyháza Adventure Park
If the family is looking for a little more extravaganza, the Nyíregyháza Adventure Park is perfect for this.
The park has a cableway with more than 130 stations. It doesn’t matter if you are not a professional, or you may have never done it before: there are a child, an adult, and an extreme course.
For those wishing to hike, there is the Sóstó Forest, which is one of the favorites of those who live in Nyíregyháza.
This is not a coincidence, with 371 acres of beautiful hiking trails, gyms, playgrounds and barbecue areas awaiting visitors.
No wonder that many people flee from the city to this place. The fresh air and the forest, which is looking different every season, means a real relaxation.
In fact, you can have an extraordinary experience here like walking barefoot in the woods. The 2.5 km walk in the woods is part of the so-called Kneipp Cure, which is related to hydrotherapy, and in the summertime, it is recommended to do it barefoot.
Many people used this method back in the old days, not only removing their shoes but also their clothes after a while, and this is how they were enjoying nature.
Of course, this kind of nudity pierced the eyes of many, as a result of which this tradition eventually disappeared. So, don’t try to undress much further.
Why should we visit Nyíregyháza?
The city’s hidden beauties and exciting historical aspects are just waiting to be explored: even relaxing in the spa, walking in the woods, or exploring downtown.