Welcome to the historic "Hajdú" town of Hajdúnánás.
This section contains a brief introduction to the main sights and attractions of Hajdúnánás, giving a taste of the history and architectural heritage of our town.
The heart of the town is the square situated at the geographical centre of the concentric network of streets. This is where all the radial streets converge, which means that from whichever direction you approach the town, all roads lead to 'Köztársaság tér' [Republic Square]. Formerly the marketplace, today it contains a well-tended and peaceful park, interspersed with trees and statues, and bordered by attractive buildings.
The facade of the Town Hall was renovated in 2000. Its construction was delayed by the lack of funds the followed the 1848 revolution. Finally, in 1874, it was built to the design of Imre Vecsei, in the eclectic style. The spacious ceremonial hall on the first floor can accommodate 110 people, and is hung with paintings of István Bocskai and Lajos Kossuth, created by the portrait painter János Kovács in 1895. The exhibition hall, also on the first floor, hosts a local history display.
Leaving through the entrance to the Mayor's Office, the visitor encounters a full-figure bronze statue of Hungarian revolutionary Lajos Kossuth, often referred to the "father of Hungarian democracy", and the first person to be made an honorary citizen of the town. This work, by János Horvai, was officially unveiled in 1904, in a ceremony that was also attended by Kossuth's son Ferenc.
The wooden totem, also in the part, commemorates the "Homecoming" celebration of 2000. Beside it, the female figure carved out of limestone is a World War II memorial, created by István Pál. The path leads through the park to an open-air stage, which serves as the atmospheric venue for a evening concerts and other performances in the summer season.
Next to the stage, resting on what was formerly the base of a flagpole, stands a bust of the poet Sándor Petőfi, carved by the Munkácsy prize-winning sculptor Ferenc Laborcz. The laying of wreaths and memorial services commemorating the outbreak of the 1848 revolution take place here and in front of the Kossuth statue every year on 15 March.
The path between the statue and the stage leads to the building of the former District Court, which was build in 1909. From 1605, the town - then known simply as "Nánás", had until 1744. The district court, which was formed in 1872, took its place in the building as soon as construction was completed. The original design by local architect Gyula Somogyi was further developed by Ferenc Jablonszky. In 1951 the District Court was dissolved, and the eclectic building currently functions as a student hall of residence.
In the corner of the square, to the right of the old court building, stands a tiny Roman Catholic Church. The members of other faiths only settled in the predominantly protestant town of Hajdúnánás gradually, and in small numbers. In 1863, the Catholic faithful consecrated their first chapel, in the name of St. Stephen. By the end of the century, the congregation had outgrown it. In 1895 József Samassa, the Bishop of Eger ordered the construction of a new church, to celebrate the 1000th anniversary of Hungary's settlement by the Magyars. The church was consecrated on 25 October 1895 by István Toronyi, the deacon of Nagykálló. In 1965 the sanctuary underwent a minor reconstruction, giving it the form it takes today. The walls and ceiling are decorated with frescoes by the Franciscan monk Asztrik Kákonyi.
Departing from the main square, approximately 200 metres from the church, on Bocskai út, stands a yellow-painted house with carved bees over its windows. Although the time of construction and the architect are shrouded in the mists of time, we do know that the left-hand wing of the building was once home to the Hajdúnánás Savings Bank, while on the right hand side accommodated the " Gentlemen's Casino".
Facing this building stands a multi-storeyed building in the Bauhaus style, which dates back to 1982. With its spacious rooms, ideal for reading and surfing the internet, this contains the library and a number of offices, as well as the local television studio.
From the library window you can see an antique fire engine and a statue of Saint Florian, the patron saint of firefighters. The first volunteer fire service in Nánás was formed in 1879. After being disbanded several times, the Fire Brigade received a signed letter of foundation from the Interior Minister in 1890. Initially, the fire station was housed in the town hall, and only moved to its current address at Bocskai u. 27 in 1946.
Due to the town's proximity to Debrecen, which is often referred to as the Rome of Calvinism, and its strong links with the church there, the secondary school in Hajdúnánás dates back to an early period. The first "Gimnázium" was founded in 1656, when the Debrecen College appointed Márton Szenczi as its rector in Hajdúnánás. The school, which operated as a branch of the Debrecen college, initially had four classes, which was increased to six from 1860. Construction of today's school building, on Bocskai u., was completed in 1906. The school was designed by Ambrus Orth, and the construction work was overseen by the architects Rezső Weil and Lajos Szilárd. The main building of the school, which bears the name of the anthropologist Sándor Kőrösi Csoma, is in a poor condition, but will be fully refurbished by 2006, thanks to a restoration grant successfully applied for by the Mayor's Office.
Opposite the school, at Bocskai u. 22., stands a small - and sadly empty - building. The plaque affixed to its wall is the only evidence of its significance: "It was in this former apothecary that the pharmacist János Kabay (1896-1936), the father of morphine production in Hungary, began his career and world famous research."
Bocskai u. ultimately leads to the railway station, where the recently introduced air-conditioned "Inter-Pici" [a pun on "Inter-City" and the Hungarian word for "tiny"] trains provide a comfortable means of travel to Debrecen, with connections to a variety of destinations within Hungary and elsewhere in Europe.
Returning to the main square, on the western side of Köztársaság tér stands the grand building of the Town Culture Centre and Library. The institution bears the name of the Hajdúnánás born writer, Pál Móricz. The building was designed in the Eclectic style by Jenő Berger, and originally functioned as an hotel, inn and ballroom. In 1930 it was converted to a cinema, and only became the town's culture centre after the second world war. In 1988, a modern theatre hall with a capacity of 380 was added, to the design of Ágnes Nagy. On the wall, is worth noting the bas relief by Ferenc Gyurcsek, entitled "The settlement of the Hajdús", which was unveiled in 1987.
Continuing around the square, the visitor is confronted by the most imposing building in the town, the Reform Church. The history of the church extends back into the distant past. The first records date back to 1221, when the village that use to stand on the site of today's town is referred to as Nánásmonostora [Nánás Monastery]. This suggests not only that the town's name originates from this period, but also that the monastery was probably the predecessor to today's church. In 1606, following the settlement of the area by the Hajdús, the reform church was established. The characteristically classicist style of the church building is offset by the signs of the earlier baroque style of architecture. The interior of the building has undergone a process of modernisation over the past 200 years, but has not changed much. It does not have a shrine, and the pulpit is situated on the southern wall. The wooden gallery and the organ are supported by 12 pillars. The ceiling is decorated with wooden panels. The "lofty spire of Nánás," which has even been immortalised in verse by the poet Mihály Tompa, can be seen for miles around. At 62 metres it is the highest church tower in the area. The bronze-plated turrets give it a Transylvanian appearance. Until the end of the 19th century the church was surrounded by a protective wall with corner bastions. A few meters of this wall have been reconstructed as a memorial to the town's 600 victims of the second world war. In front of the church stands Ottó K. Kalotai's first world war memorial. The composition of two bronze figures, with an inscription and list of fallen heroes, stands on a base bearing both the national coat of arms and that of the Hajdú people. The Hajdú nobleman holding the flag, and the young soldier brandishing a sword and hatchet represent the relationship between the past and the present.
On the eastern side there is a small area to relax in, with benches, greenery and a drinking fountain to quench the thirst of weary visitors. The fountain is the work of the Greek sculptor Rigas Hondromates, who also created the sculpture entitled "Pregnant Woman," which stands in front of the Medical Centre.
The building on the western side of the church was built in 1921, and currently functions as a primary school.
Continuing past the primary school, it is only a few minutes walk to the peasant house at Hunyadi u. 21, which has been restored to its original state by the staff of the local Culture Centre and the Déri Museum in Debrecen, with furnishing sourced locally in the town. The building dates back to the 1700s, and was constructed in the folk classicist style, with a thatched roof. Hajdúnánás has one of the oldest traditions of straw craft in the country, which is preserved in the straw weaving loom, mangle and straw decorations on display at the house. Today, the remaining masters of this ancient craft pit their skills against each others in a national biannual competition held in Hajdúnánás. In the garden there is a traditional well and corn store. Behind the building, a blacksmith's forge convered from the former stables contains the tools of master blacksmiths of olden times. The building was declared a historic monument in 1980.
A plaque on the wall of the house at Jókai u.16. commemorates the fact that the poet Zoltán Maghy was born and spent his childhood years in this building.
Continuing along Jókai utca, turn right after the railway crossing into the road leading to the town baths. The street is lined with hotels and pensions, and it is also from there that the Eastern Canal and the fishing lake can be reached. On the left, opposite the town baths, stands the town's sports ground, and beyond this, the Ostrich farm.
The medicinal waters that spring from the ground in Hajdúnánás are an invaluable natural treasure. The 67 °C waters contain sodium chloride and iodine bromide, and were first discovered in 1958, during exploratory drilling to a depth of 1019 metres. The 14-hectare Town Baths and Spa has become a popular health-tourism destination, especially for people with motor-organ, rheumatic and gynaecological problems, who flock here from locations in Hungary and abroad to take advantage of the healing properties and therapeutic services on offer. The various sizes and temperatures of outdoor swimming pools and thermal baths meet the need of all age-groups. The indoor baths comprise state-of-the-art facilities, with two medicinal baths, a sauna and aromatherapy centre. There is continuous medical supervision on hand, and a rheumatology clinic also operates within the complex. The clinic provides physiotherapy, massage, underwater massage and carbon dioxide bath treatments. The modernisation of the indoor baths began in 1996, and was completed in 2000. In 2003 the outdoor bathing facilities were modernised. This year the reconstruction was completed with the opening of new catering and service facilities.
The ostrich farm: a track branching off the main road, beside the sports ground, leads to the first ostrich farm to be established in Hungary. Just as in the wild, the ostriches at the farm live in trios two hens and a cock. The male birds can grow to as much as three metres in height, and weigh as much as 150 kg. The birds can live for as long as 70 years, their eggs weigh 1.1-1.8 kg, and measure 15 cm across. The world's largest bird is an inquisitive beast, and it is worth keeping a few steps away from the fence in order to avoid receiving a peck to the top of the head. The several hundred South-African birds, which were brought over from England in 1993, are not just there to amuse the tourists. All of their body parts can be used, their meat is low in cholesterol, and even their feathers and skins can be used in the manufacture of various products.
The fishing lake: The lake between the road leading to the strand and the road to Görbeháza is a former clay quarry, covering an area of 13.42 hectares. The average depth of the water is 2.5 metres, and fishing is permitted from the bank. The lake is rich in carp, snakehead, silver carp, walleye, pike and carassius.
The Eastern Canal: After the river Tisza was diverted in the 19th century, it was necessary to create another source of water for irrigating the agricultural land in the Hajdú region. After a lengthy debate, which lasted from 1863 to 1941, the Eastern Canal was completed in 1956, and covers a distance of 109.8 km, from the Tisza at Tiszalök to Bakonszeg, where it flows into the river Berettyó via the Kálló tributary. The section by the bridge on the road to Polgár is lined with riverbank holiday chalets. Along its entire length the bank is bordered by a reed bed, consisting of a great many varieties of reed. The average depth of the water is 3-4 metres, and the average width of the river is 25-30 metres. The canal is navigable from the Tisza to Balmazújváros, but vessels are only permitted to travel at a maximum of 13 km/h. Construction of a marina in the canal began in 2004, which will offer further recreational opportunities for water lovers. Angling is permitted (after purchasing a fishing license), and the indigenous and stocked species include carp, silver carp, snakehead, walleye, catfish, carassius, walleye, bream, roach, tench and gudgeon.
The Csohány Residence, located at Zrínyi u. 17, is listed as a historical monument. Its classicist style clearly suggests that it was built at the beginning of the 19th century. The two saddle-roofed wings of the building are linked by a central block with an arched central veranda. The interior comprises a spacious kitchen, pantry, living quarters and a traditional Hungarian clay oven. This house was the birthplace of László Csohány, a former mayor of the town. Today it is a private residence, and not open to the public.
The Csiha Mill, with its height of 45 metres, is visiable not only from the road to Polgár, but also from several locations in the town. The mill was constructed in 1942 by Győző Csiha, when it was considered the most modern of its kind in Hungary.
The last stop in our tour of the town is the Csepus allotments. Following their restoration, the three fieldhouses next to the allotments were listed as historic monuments in 1991 by the National Heritage Authority. Travelling along the track leading into the allotments (Liget utca), the first of these structures dates back to 1872. All of the buildings are divided into two sections, an atrium and a main house, reminiscent of the early, late-medieval and occupation-era Hungarian lowland dwellings.
Tedej, an outlying part of Hajdúnánás, is being developed as a centre of rural and agricultural tourism. The corral and covered horse yard, and the numerous opportunities for fishing, hunting and other outdoor activities, make this the ideal destination for those in search of a little "active relaxation."