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Szeged

Szeged, with a population of 170 000, is the second largest city of Hungary, the seat of Csongrád county, and also the regional center of the Southern Great Plain. Szeged is located between the Tisza and the Maros rivers on the Great Plain, near the southern border. Szeged’s elevation above sea level is 75 meter, making it the lowest lying city of the country.

History

 Szeged - Reök ház

Szeged and its surroundings have been inhabited since the Neolithic and it was an important station between Dacia and Pannonia. It is assumed that Attila the Hun’s main dwelling may have been in this area. The favorable geographical circumstances, the good pastures and the river suited for travel aided the settling of the Hungarians.

The first mention of Szeged comes from a charter about transporting salt on the Maros in 1183. Already during the reign of Stephan I, the shipping of Salt on the Maros was held very important as it aided the development of the city. During the Mongol Invasion, the people fled to the nearby swamps and after the threat was gone returned to rebuild their destroyed city. In 1522, Szeged had 7000 residents. In 1525-6, the Ottomans marched through Szeged, looted and later captured it. As a consequence, the wealthier families left Szeged. At the same time a wave of immigration began with Ottoman, South Slavic and Raguzin people settling here.

In 1715, it became a free royal city again. Szeged was appointed to be the seat of the Csanád Diocese by the Emperor in 1723 but lost this status after ten years. In the following years, Szeged began to develop and prosper; a Piarist school was founded here, and in 1869, the shop of Márk Pick was opened which was the predecessor of the Pick company producing the famous winter salami.

The great flood of 1879 was a sad and memorable event in the history of Szeged. 5600 houses were destroyed, 165 people died and the rest, about 60 000 people were moved with only 1000 staying in the city. Franz Ferdinand swore to rebuild the city and make it even more glorious than before. Keeping with his promise, Szeged was rebuilt in the course of a few years. In 1962, it became the seat of Csongrád county and with the building of new disctricts and the annexation of nearby towns, Szeged grew.