Tiszavidék


IPA

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SZEGED

General information

 

Area

 281 km²

Population

170 285 

Population density

603,96 /km² 

Twin towns

Cambridge (UK), Darmstadt (Germany), Jerusalájim (Israel), Kotor (Crna Gora), Larnaca (Cyprus), Łódz (Poland), Marosvásárhely (Târgu Mureş,Rumania), Nizza (Nice, France), Odesza (Ukraine), Parma (Italy), Pula (Croatia), Rahó (Rahiv, Ukraine), Rotterdam (Netherlands), Szabadka (Subotica, Serbia), Temesvár (Timişoara, Rumania), Toledo (USA), Turku (Finland), Weinan (China), Csíkszereda (Miercurea Ciuc, Rumania) Székelyhíd (Săcueni, Rumania), Cincinnati (USA), Létavértes, Győr and Pécs (Hungary) 

Amorial bearings

 

History

 

After the Hungarian conquest, the princely tribe settled in Szeged. During the reign of St. Stephen, Szeged was a royal estate under church administration of the archbishopric of Kalocsa. In the 12th century, in order to protect the salt roads and the storehouses, an earth fort with a nearby fenced city district were built. The town was mentioned as 'Ciggedin' in  one of Béla III’s charters from 1183. In 1222, the Hungarian Golden Bull declared that the salt could only be stored in Szalacs, Szeged, and in the borderlands. After the Tatar invasion, a castle was built in Szeged, and it became the centre of the royal property and the southern Tisza region. In 1247, Béla IV awarded a city status to Szeged. In 1405, a law was passed for the fortification of the castle and the city. In 1444, Władysław III signed a ten-year peace treaty with the Turks, but shortly afterwards he violated it by attacking them. Matthias convened a parliament in Szeged at the turn of 1458 and 1459. During Matthias Hunyadi’s reign, Szeged enjoyed many privileges. On September 28-29, 1526, the Turks ravaged the city, and 17 years later they occupied it. They fortified the castle and built new defenses. In 1552, Mihály Tóth, a former magistrate, tried to recapture the city, but his attempts were unsuccessful. Szeged remained under the authority of the Ottoman Empire until October 23, 1686. In 1704, the Kuruc army — the anti-Habsburg rebels in Royal Hungary — attempted to seize the castle, but failed. In 1715, the parliament declared Szeged as a free royal city and Charles VI consecrated it on May 21, 1719. The coat of arms, which is still used today, was created during that time. The city became notorious for its witch-hunts in the 18th century: in 1728 and 1729, 15 men and women were executed on the Witch Island (in Hungarian: Boszorkánysziget). In 1738, the plague decimated the population. The Reform Era did not leave Szeged intact: the city’s population played an active role in the Hungarian Revolution and War of Independence of 1848-49. The famous third military battalion was formed here. Lajos Kossuth gave a speech on the city’s main square on October 4, 1848. Sándor Rózsa, a famous Hungarian betyár, received amnesty, and his party also took part in the fights. In July, 1849, the government moved to Szeged. On July 14, Governor Kossuth and Nicolae Bălcescu signed the Romanian-Hungarian reconciliation draft. Two battles took place near the city: on February 11, 1849, the Hungarian army won a victory over the Austrian and Serbian troops near Újszeged; and on August 5, 1849, the imperial-royal army led by Julius von Haynau defeated the Hungarian military forces near Szőreg. In the Age of Absolutism the outlaws prospered near the borders of Szeged, but they were terminated by the heavy-handed Gedeon Ráday. After the Compromise in 1867, Szeged’s economic situation improved: the Hemp Spinning Factory, the Salami Factory of Mark Pick, printing houses, mills, and sawmills were established. On March 12, 1879, Tisza’s dam breached near the Rókus railway station. The flood razed the city to the ground, and almost the whole city had to be rebuilt. The reconstruction works took place between 1880 and 1883, and were led by the royal commissioner Lajos Tisza. The architectural plans were drawn by Lajos Lechner. In June 1919, the first government of Szeged was established with the purpose of overthrowing the Hungarian Soviet Republic. On June 23, the recruitment to the National Army started, of which Miklós Horthy was the commander in chief. After the Treaty of Trianon, the Franz Joseph University in Cluj was moved to Szeged (1921). In 1923, the bishop of the diocese of Csanád moved his headquarters from Timișoara to Szeged. In the '30s, a vast spiritual boom was experienced mostly due to Kuno von Klebelsberg’s cultural policy. The construction of the Votive Church of Szeged was completed in 1930. Szeged’s Open Air Festival was first held in 1931. In the same year, on June 19, the papal bull officially declared Szeged an Episcopal seat, and raised the Votive Church to the rank of a cathedral. Albert Szent-Györgyi, a professor in biochemistry from Szeged, received the Nobel Prize in 1937. The population suffered great losses after the two world wars. During the Second World War the bombings and the fights left lasting marks on the city’s landscape.

The university students of Szeged were active participants of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. The Hungarian Association of University and College Students, also established in Szeged, formulated here the 16 items they demanded during the Revolution. In Szeged, there was only one victim of the demonstrations — a young worker by the name of Lajos Schwarz. In the '60s, a large-scale housing construction began in the city. On January 1, 1962, Szeged was once more declared the Seat of Csongrád County. On April 15, 1973, Algyő, Kiskundorozsma, Tápé and Gyálarét were annexed to Szeged. Szeged’s cultural diversity is also due to the ethnic communities living in the city. The Association of National Minority Governments in Szeged has operated since 1996. The collaboration was so successful that in January 1998 the Association opened its doors to the House of Nationalities, which functions as the headquarters of the associated national minority governments.