Within 90 minutes reach of Budapest on motorway or Intercity train today, Szeged was granted municipal rights more than 750 years ago. The vicinity of the Serbian and Rumanian borders makes the town even more significant, but the University of Szeged contributes to its development and good reputation as well. In recognition of its success in promoting the idea of European unity, fostering and developing twin town partnerships, the town of Szeged was awarded the 2006 Europe Prize – for the first time in Hungary. This, in fact, is the most prestigious prize of the Council of Europe.
Festivals offering both cultural and culinary joys, international sports events, the Szeged Open Air Festival, the Contemporary Ballet, the Pick salami and the fish soup á la Szeged spread the good word-of-mouth about the sunniest town of Hungary across the borders, but also the lovely walks in Szeged remain memorable to everybody. They say that the river Tisza is the main street of Szeged. And indeed, it is an unusual sight to see the river in blazing sunshine or the winter sun glitter on the ice over the Tisza.
A milestone in Szeged’s history was the year 1879 when the floods nearly destroyed the entire town completely. Rebuilt through domestic and international collaboration, the town’s centre built in uniform, eclectic style very soon became a popular destination among tourists. The architectural merits of the nice centre, renewed as a result of the reconstruction work of recent years, are also demonstrated by the Europa Nostra Award.
The migration of the University of Cluj to Szeged in 1921 marked the beginning of a new era in the life of the town: Szeged became a town with a university and the second home for university students. Since 1930 the international fame of Szeged and its scientific life have also been due to Albert Szent-Györgyi, head of the Faculty of Biological Chemistry, who received the Nobel Prize in 1937 for studying combustion processes, but for discovering the role of vitamin C and fumaric acid catalysis, in particular. The work of the university’s former rector still exerts an influence on today’s activities. “This university has become Szeged’s own university entirely, and I wish to make the relationship existing between the town and the university more intimate" – said Albert Szent-Györgyi shortly after he was elected rector of the university.
Szeged would not be so attractive, youthful and constantly developing or proud of its traditions without its university, but also the students of the University of Szeged are proud of the successes of the town. At the University of Szeged, the University Spring, the Autumn Cultural Festival, the series of lecture at the University of Omniscience – Szeged, the endeavour to utilize university research and the support of industry-oriented research are all proofs of the cooperation serving the interests of the town, the region as well as the university.
To entice visitors to the town, tourism experts use the slogan: "Szeged – the town of sunshine”. And, of course, it has its reasons, because this town with Mediterranean climate enjoys the most hours of sunlight in Hungary. Slightly modifying the above slogan, we, the staff and students of the university, would like to invite you as follows: “Come to Szeged, the town of sunshine and science.” Here you can find colleagues, fields of research and friends.