City Profiles: Szeged

You can check out what you can study as an international student at the University of Szeged here.

Open spaces

Szeged is the third biggest city in Hungary, and the main regional center of Alföld, with a population of 162 621 over 281 km2 . Yes, this means about 578 people for each km2 ! In comparison, this number is 3350 for Budapest, 3931 for Vienna, and 26 720 for New York. Szeged is not crowded at all: people have plenty of space, which is also visible in its architecture. The city is characterized by wide avenues, huge parks, magnificent palaces, and buildings that utilize the available space horizontally, instead of for striving to reach the skies. The architecture is eclectic but surprisingly modern. The main reason behind this is that a huge flood in 1879 basically erased the city, so it had to be rebuilt completely in the coming years. Because of this, it’s pretty easy to get around down. As a result of the strategic planning at the turn of the century, Szeged’s great winding avenues form concentric circles, with smaller avenues connecting them.

A hint of the Mediterranean

Szeged is often called the City of Sunshine, and it’s not surprising why. Since it is located near the southern border of Hungary, its climate is a bit warmer than the rest of the country, and it also gets the most sunshine hours. The city lies on the banks of Tisza, which is the second biggest river in the country. In the summer months, you can see people kayaking up and down the river, and just generally enjoying the gush of cool air in the heat. Partly because of its wonderful weather, Szeged is an ideal place for festivals. The two most important are the Szeged Open Air Festival, and Szeged Youth Days. The former is a prestigious theater festival, while the latter is one of the biggest music festivals of the year. More info about festivals here.


The sizzling cultural life in Szeged is of course not only restricted to the Open Air festival. The city is also home to Szeged National Theater, one of the biggest theaters operating in two buildings. Szeged also has a number of museums and galleries hosting exhibitions that are visited by people all over the country. The biggest museum is Móra Ferenc Museum, located in the Palace of Public Education, on the riverside. Visitors can learn about the folk culture of the region, watch paintings and "meet" Earth. The University of Szeged also has a world famous botanical garden, which you should not miss if you are horticulturally inclined.


It’s probably not surprising that the city home to one of the biggest universities of the country takes its nightlife really seriously. If you’ve ever been out partying Budapest and liked it, you’ll probably do all right in Szeged as well. Besides the wide selection of bars and clubs, Szeged also has some rather surprising venues that you need to check out. TiszaDOKK, for example, is a bar on the river – but do not imagine the kinf od party boat that is oh so common in Budapest. This place is actually a pier, with small boats and everything! Another fabulous place is Várkert, which is mainly open in the summer and serves as the most popular concert venue. And the reason is pretty simple: you can rock out in the ruins of the old castle! How cool is that?


As most Hungarian cities, Szeged also has its special Hungaricums, or those things that are unique to its region. One of these are the traditional slippers, which are beginning to be rediscovered because of their simple elegance and beauty. Their history goes back to the times of the Turkish occupation and spread after the big flood in 1879 - which destroyed the whole city - when as part of the rebuild, all of the streets got covered with stone. These slippers are covered in velvet and are decorated with the country's typical flowers: poppy, knapweed, wheatear and lily of the valley. Szeged is also famous for Pick szalámi, a cured cut meat, and, of course, because of their paprika, the most important element of the traditional dish of the region. One of the biggest inner wars of the country if the great Fish Soup Debate, or which city makes the best Halászlé: Szeged or Baja? Here is the recipe from Szeged’s website of the traditional fish soup, if you’d like to try it on your own. But you know what? Why don’t you come to Szeged and try it here?

After cleaning the fish take out the fish milk and eggs. Cut off the fish heads and tails and cook it with sliced onion.

Add enough water to cover the meat. Boil covered for an hour. Add paprika and salt.

Put broth in a soup pot, add water and heat. Add fish morsels, fish milk, and eggs, paprika, peppers, salt. After 15-minute  boiling add the hot peppers, paprika, and tomatoes. Low boil until fish is done, stir gently as to not break apart the fish.


- 1 kg of carp

- 0,5 kg of catfish

- 25 dkg of sturgeon

- 25 dkg of pike

- 30 dkg of red onion (Mako)

- 25 g Szeged Paprika Powder

- 10 dkg pepper, 5 dkg tomato

- 2-3 hot pepper (or chili) and salt

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