Twin City since 1990
The two cities of Darmstadt and Szeged have been twinned since 1990.
Visitors duly think that this town is one of the most interesting places in Hungary. Its peculiar structure, resulting from a uniform ground plan in radial and ring-shaped design, catches one's eye immediately and guaranties the good organisation of the traffic.
The town rightly has the nickname "Town of Sunlight", due to its 2,100 sun hours per year at its location on the junction of the rivers Theiß and Maros. However, the water also left its traces. In 1879, a flood from the "Blond Theiß" nearly completely destroyed Szeged in one single night. From the 70,000 people living then, only 35,000 persons remained in the town and at the surrounding farmsteads. International aid then helped to create a new city with magnificent Eclectic and Jugendstil buildings. Berlin, Vienna, Paris, Brussels, London and Rome worked together so that this town, looking back on a long history, could come to life again. Until 1883, a new city was born in record time, totally marked by the Eclectic style. After that, the town counted 85,569 inhabitants in 1890. The builder of the new town was named Lajos Tisza, and he was honoured for his great feat with the title of a Count. Today the city has about 163,000 inhabitants.
The industry, not least food production, also underwent a significant development. The paprika had been introduced by the Franciscan friars from Alsóváros, and the Pick Salami, produced in the salami factory of Márk Pick, promptly became world famous.
The academic and artistic life of today's Szeged is renowned, not only in the whole country but also abroad. The institutions of secondary education are of European level. Several ten thousands of pupils, both in primary and middle schools, and the university students in 11 faculties turn Szeged into an academic town.
During the recent years, the city developed into a centre of diplomacy and was the scenery of important events. Szeged has a special location near the borders to Romania and Serbia and Montenegro. The traffic toward South Eastern Europe passes by here, and thus the logistic centre gained great importance. Besides that, the Szeged Centre for Security Policy regularly organises conferences that serve the regional stability and bring together leading politicians from South Eastern Europe.
The majority of the attractions are found downtown. In the course of a pleasant walk, one may admire the harmony of the eclectic buildings and the streets influenced by Jugendstil. The neo-Romanesque Votive Church (1930), erected by the survivors of the flood out of gratitude, contains a wonderful mosaic picture depicting a Madonna in an embroidered farmer's coat with Szeged slippers, and is often the stage for concerts at its big organ with five manuals and 10,000 pipes. This church stands on the famous Cathedral Place, named Dóm tér, where also the Szeged Festival takes place.
Since 1931, the first Open Air Festival, the town becaem the meeting place of muses in summer. Besides the drama performances, many summer exhibitions, organ concerts or even the International Folkdance Festival attract several ten thousands of tourists every year.
In year 2004, the town was granted the prize of "Europa Nostra Cultural Heritage".
Partnership meetings have their climax always on the 21st of May – on the "Day of Szeged", when each year official participants come for a visit. Around this day, popular attractions such as the Wine Feast, the Bridge Fair, the Goulash Festival and others are organized. In summer, there is not one week without an event: shows, concerts, dramas of any kind, gastronomic specialties, and the typical Hungarian hospitality await the visitors on the banks of the Theiß, at Szeged.