Nagykanizsa (German: Großkirchen, Großkanizsa, Croatian: Velika Kaniža, Turkish: Kanije) is a medium-sized county town in Zala County. As the center of the Nagykanizsa district, many settlements belong to its catchment area. Geographically, it is located in the Zala Hills, and its southern parts are part of the Zalaapáti Ridge.


It was built in the southern part of Zala County, 13 km northeast of the Mura River, on both sides of the Principal Canal connecting Zala and Mura. Geographically, it is located in the Zala Hills, in the area of ​​the Zalaapáti ridge. Low-lying (100-110 m) countryside, many canals cross the surrounding wet meadows and pastures to drain the former swamp world. It is surrounded by forested hills with an altitude of more than 200 m to the north and northwest of the city. The main road 7 and the M7 motorway pass through the city.

Due to its location in Nagykanizsa, the impact of the Alps and the Atlantic Ocean, and to some extent the Mediterranean Sea, is better than the national average. As a result, the city’s climate is wetter, windier, with less sunlight and a slightly more balanced temperature. The annual rainfall is more even than the national average and mostly falls in the form of thunderstorms.

Due to its location, Nagykanizsa cannot enjoy lasting snow cover, because from time to time it is melted by light air masses from the ocean or the Adriatic. The relatively mild winter temperature is due to the fact that hard terrain does not characterize the city area either. The cool ocean and warm Mediterranean air masses alleviate the cold in winter and the heat in summer. Although Nagykanizsa is a higher temperature area of ​​Zala county, with an average annual temperature of 10.2 ° C, it is still one of the coolest landscapes in the country. The prevailing wind direction is northeast-southwest.



Research into the history of Nagykanizsa and its surroundings dates back more than a hundred years. Flóris Rómer was one of the first to draw attention to the city's historical monuments in the 19th century.

Memories of prehistory
The history of Nagykanizsa and its surroundings dates back to the Neolithic period (5000 BC - 2500 BC). The oldest finds come from this period, which became known for their special line-decorated ceramics and primitive stone tools. Excavations in Becsehely brought to the surface the finds of all the cultures and phases of the Neolithic Age. (Cremation burials and, of course, remnants of independent copper work) The unusually high population density is indicated by the more than thirty discovered sites.

Bronze Age Culture i. e. 1900 - i. e. It flourished around 800 in the area. Of the finds found at the Inkey Chapel, a small bull statue for cult purposes is the most interesting. The culture of the Late Bronze Age was swept away by the equestrian-nomadic peoples attacking from the east and the peoples spreading the Hallstatt culture attacking from the west. The finds of the early Iron Age are unusually found only in traces.

Celts, Romans
The i. e. In the 4th century, Celts from the west flooded the entire Carpathian Basin. Since the time of the emperor August, Rome, which had grown into an empire, wanted to defend itself by natural borders from barbaric attacks from the east. After the bloody battles with the Celts, by the middle of the 1st century, Transdanubia also became part of the empire. The first Roman finds around Nagykanizsa are also from the middle of the 1st century, but the real flowering was in the first half of the 2nd century. Over time, a dense network of settlements of Celtic and Italian origin developed. The area and area of ​​Nagykanizsa was far from the main transport routes of the Roman Empire, so it was not one of the most important centers. Remains of stone buildings and underfloor heating, wall painting and pottery furnaces, and burials have been found in some of the ubiquitous residences.

The age of migration
During the migration that shattered Roman rule, South Zala was probably occupied by the East Gothic and Alan tribes. The recent expansion of the Huns, who became increasingly important in the east, diverted the Western Goths to the landscapes of Zala. The Romanized population fled. There are hardly any archeological finds from this age. The disintegration of the Hun Empire was followed by the rule of the East Goths. Another East Gothic rule was abolished by the Longobards. The ensuing two centuries of bloody Avar rule depopulated South Zala and set it back in development. Nagykanizsa was occupied at the beginning of the 7th century. From the end of the century, the Zala – Mura area became uninhabited for about a century. The Avar collapse was accomplished by the Frankish Empire, which had grown into a world power, forcing Christianity on the population and annexing the area to the Danube. The area around Nagykanizsa is the 8th-9th it was repopulated at the turn of the century. When Emperor Charles the Great arrived in Aachen in mid-November 811, he was already awaited by ‘Kanisauci, the Avar prince’ (Canisauciprinceps Avarorum) from Pannonia, ‘other noble s princes of the Tudun and Slavs living by the Danube’ (et alii primores ac duces Sclavorum circa Danubium babitantium), 'summoned before the leaders by the commanders of the troops commanded to Pannonia'.

It must be taken into account at the origin of the name Kanizsa that the Knyaz (Hungarian in Kenez) was a dignified name of Slavic origin, meaning prince and prince.

The age of conquest
After the consolidation of Frankish rule, a few decades of calm followed, and then at the end of the 9th century, Hungarians appeared. There are no Hungarian finds from this age. This was certainly the border protection area of ​​the Hungarians, the grassland area. The defeat of the Hungarian adventures also meant the fall of the Bulcsú generation interested here, the area became the prince. After that, the Kanizsa area was organized within the framework of Kolon County. Under the supervision of the chief lord of the county, royal castle lands were formed. The secular estate also appeared. Judging from the place names, the majority of the population may have been South Slavs. Ecclesiastically, Kanizsa and its surroundings were located on the border of the diocese of Zagreb, founded by Veszprém and St. Ladislaus.

The medieval Kanizsa

The name Kanizsa is first encountered in 1245 when it is mentioned in the form of àterra Knysa. ARC. Prince Bela donated a property called Bille to Border, which was bordered by a land called Knysa. It follows that Kanizsa already existed as a Hungarian settlement before the Tartar invasion. A 13–14. At the turn of the 19th century, the Kőszegi family owned the Kanizsa castle. In 1323, the castle maid of Kanizsa Castle received Lőrinc of the Oslo gender from Károly Róbert as a reward for his loyalty. This is the first charter that first mentions the castle itself. He also died in the service of the king during the unfortunate 1330s campaign in the Highlands. The name Kanizsa was taken only by his descendants. At the beginning of the 14th century, therefore, the core of the castle, which later became famous in Europe after reconstructions and enlargements, was already in place. Kanizsa around the castle has meanwhile developed into a market town. We know about customs revenues, farewell permits obtained from the Pope (1374–1402). Several parishes existed in the vicinity of Kanizsa, and in 1423 the establishment of a Franciscan monastery was authorized by Pope Martin V. It was first mentioned as a town in 1409, it had a bath (1423) and a hospital (1481). The Kanizsa family remained the owner of Kanizsa for two centuries. The Kanizsaians became the owners of vast wealth. In 1532 the family became extinct on a male branch, the estate inherited on a daughter branch. The last descendant of the famous family was Orsolya Kanizsai, who was married at the age of 9 with the permission of King János Szapolyai, and thus gained the huge, then perhaps the greatest wealth of the country. He died in 1571 as the widow of palatine Tamás Nádasdy, and the family became extinct.

Kanizsa and the Turks
In 1532, the Turkish attacking Vienna ran through Kanizsa and inflicted a great blow. After the country was divided into three parts, Turkish robberies became permanent. It became essential to strengthen the castle of Kanizsa, the work of which began in 1554 under the direction of the Italian military engineer Pietro Ferrabosco. The fortified castle was divided into inner, middle and outer castles. In the absence of stone, the building material was mostly wood and earth. The fort was protected by an artificially inflated swamp. After the fall of Szigetvár in 1566, Kanizsa became important for the court, so it was made the seat of the headquarters between Lake Balaton and the Drava. The market town of Kanizsa suffered greatly from the fall of Szigetvár. As a result of the frequent destruction of the Turks, its trade also collapsed. In 1568, Kanizsa became a royal castle, after Orsolya Kanizsai, who remained a widow due to the growing Turkish threat, exchanged her estates here with the treasury for the rewards of Csejte Castle and Porsmonostor Abbey. Between 1567 and 1571, György Thury, the famous wrestler, was the captain of the Kanizsa castle, under whose leadership the border fortress troops often led successful raids against the Turkish fortifications in South Transdanubia.

On October 22, 1600, the castle fell into Turkish hands. The Turks were aware of the value of the area. Kanizsa became a Turkish vilajet center, headed by Murat Pasha. The castle was also rebuilt and fortified. The guard of the castle was 3825 people. In addition to the muezzin, there was a teacher in the city. In addition to the Turkish army, more and more South Slavs settled in place of the fleeing Hungarians. The description of the famous Turkish historian Evlija Cselebi is about a busy city of multi-storey houses, mostly made of wood, with two bathrooms. With a mosque, high school (madrasa), two monasteries, minarets and more than fifty shops.

Between April 21 and May 30, 1664, Miklós Zrínyi launched a siege against the occupied castle, which was unsuccessful due to the late issuance of a permit by the Austrian court.

After the Turkish rule
On April 13, 1690, Batthyány II. Adam liberated Kanizsa Castle. In 1703, the castle walls of Kanizsa were demolished, ditches were buried, and thus it became an open city. Until 1705 he was directly under the jurisdiction of the Vienna Court Chamber. A German garrison was stationed in the castle, and the population of the town grew with new settlers. However, the development of the hopefully strengthening city has been broken. Emperor Leopold I withdrew the army and ordered the castle to be demolished, then, as a final blow, forced it under the jurisdiction of a landlord by donation. The first landlord was Jakab Grassics, then the family of Count Szapáry, and finally in 1743 it was acquired by Count Lajos Batthyány. The landlords gradually deprived the city of its independence. They were forced to pay taxes, their main sources of income were obtained, and even lands conquered by hard work from the swamp were even taken back. The city did not settle for historical defeat and for decades, sparing no money, pursued a lawsuit to obtain free royal city status, but was constantly defeated.


Due to its favorable geographical location, meanwhile, the population of Kanizsa has grown significantly. While in 1715 256 inhabitants were counted, in 1770 3711 persons. The reason for the rapid growth was immigration. The population was mostly engaged in arable and viticulture, but there was also an increase in civic and merchant citizenship. Many of them were merchants of Jewish and Greek descent. The city was given the right to hold the fair again. The development of guilds and the organization in 1698 began with the founding of tailors and furriers' guild. The number of craftsmen gathered in guilds increased significantly. In 1832, 256 industrialists were registered.

As the population grew, the image and size of the city changed. Only a few buildings were made of brick. Until the middle of the 19th century, only one street was paved. The first school maintained by the city operated only from 1807, but the Piarist grammar school gained great fame, which was opened in 1765 with the HUF 10,000 foundation of Lajos Batthyány, the landlord of the city. At that time, Zala-Somogy-Vas counties were the only such institution, and many students also came from Croatia.

Nagykanizsa from 1848 until the First World War
In the middle of the 19th century, Nagykanizsa, with a population of 13,000, was the most populous and most civilized city in Zala. The news of the revolution of 1848 aroused the greatest enthusiasm here. On March 19, at a rally held at the Upper Town Church, the population was enlightened about the goals of the revolution. On March 20, the 12 points of Kanizsa were adopted, which deviated from the pest in three points, the national badges were set, and then the National Guard was organized in April. With an army of 30,000, Jellasics occupied the city without resistance. The Croatians thoroughly defiled and robbed Jellasics' defeat in Pákozd sealed the fate of the occupying Croatian army. The people of Kanizsa attacked him and then, with the help of the national guards surrounding the city, drove them out of the city. The successes of the spring campaign of 1849 brought only a short breath, the Austrians finally took over the city and the dictatorship began.

Following the compromise, completely new conditions developed in the city. The most striking change was seen in economic life. Thousands of carters working for local wholesalers have proven that the city is centrally located, its fairs are significant, so it’s worth driving the train to it. The Southern Railway Company handed over the line between Nagykanizsa and Pragerhof in 1860, which was followed by the line Nagykanizsa – Buda and the line Nagykanizsa – Barcs in the 1960s. The traders had a huge turnover, banks were established to meet their increased credit needs, such as the Nagykanizsa Savings Bank, organized by local capitalists, and the South Zala Savings Bank, the Commercial and Industrial Bank, the Nagykanizsa Banking Association, and the Austro-Hungarian Bank and the English-Hungarian Bank. Bank account.

The first plant to be considered an industrial plant in the modern sense was the Weiser Machine Factory, founded in 1842. It produced boilers and agricultural machinery for Italian and Turkish exports. Nagykanizsa Brewery Rt. Was established in 1893, and operated a Lajos Francz power plant. The industry of the city became more and more significant, a brick factory, a brush factory, a distillery, a replacement coffee factory employed many, many people.

Education also expanded, and from 1867 the grammar school became 8th grade. In 1886 an industrial apprenticeship school was established, in 1872 and then in 1891 a civic boys 'and girls' school, and in 1895 a high school was established thanks to the Jewish merchants.

As a result of civic existence and prosperity, the Zala-Somogyi Gazette was published in 1862 and Zala from 1874. In 1885, the City Hospital also opened.

Significant developments have transformed the image of the city. The former “mud nest” grew into a 57-street city with 18,000 inhabitants in 1864, then reached 28,000 in 1910. From 1870, brick roads began to be paved, and then electricity came on at the end of the century.

The Association of Hungarian Literature and Art Supporters of Nagykanizsa was founded in 1885. The association elected László Farnek, a lawyer, as its president and Viktor Tuboly (1833–1902), a lawyer, as its clerk. In April 1896, Count Nándor Zichy himself, the founder of the People's Party and the Constitution, came down to Nagykanizsa for a people's assembly. Gyula Oroszváry became the chairman of the Nagykanizsa People's Party, which was formed at that time, and Viktor Tuboly, the resigned lawyer, became its vice-chairman.


In 1892, negotiations began on the introduction of the Nagykanizsa telephone. The application of twenty subscribers was a condition for the city to be included in the telephone traffic. The subscription fee for a station was HUF 70. By the end of August 1892, the telephone system in Nagykanizsa was ready, with 18 subscribers in 1896. At that time, Nagykanizsa was still the only public telephone network in Zalamegyó, which was built in 1901; 92 subscribers were also involved in interurban traffic. The number of telephone conversations was around 30,000 per year.

Nagykanizsa was also a significant military town at this time. The army stationed in the two huge barracks formed a significant purchasing power. The significance of this particular role increased in 1914. In the first nine months of the war, more than 30,000 wounded were cared for. It is characteristic of its significance within Nagykanizsa county that almost half of the war tax of the whole county was paid here. Between 1896 and 1918, Ferenc Viosz (1861–1918) of Nemesvita was a prestigious chief judge of the Nagykanizsa district, an enthusiastic forerunner of the anti-alcohol movement of the beginning of the century, and gained popularity and respect in the county.

Between the two world wars
In 1920, the Treaty of Trianon was signed, according to which Nagykanizsa became a border town with the enemy on the other side. During the presidency of István Bethlen, the slowly stabilizing system struggled with a lot of local problems. These were poverty, high unemployment, the unresolved issue of land, and the lack of democracy.

In 1928, Dr. Ferenc Mező, a teacher at the city's grammar school, won an Olympic gold medal in the art category at the Amsterdam Olympics for his work on the history of the Olympics.

After the World War, Nagykanizsa, who was pushed to the border, found it difficult to recover, and its promising development before the war was visibly broken. The city’s industry and trade lost its most important markets, which were Croatia, Dalmatia, Turkey and Italy. Despite great difficulties, the city tried to stay afloat. With careful urban planning, the construction of the water supply and sewerage network began, a new family-run district was built in Katonarét, and a new modern Post Palace was built. In 1926, the City Music School was opened. The hospital was further expanded, with the City Theater built in 1927 and the beach bath in 1933. The main streets were covered with basalt cubes and sand asphalt, and the city's public spaces were decorated with statues. By 1928, the water management of the Principal Valley was completed, and the grammar school moved into the barracks on Sugár út. To replace this, the Áron Gábor barracks was built on the outskirts of the city. In the late 1930s, the oil and gas reserves of Zala were discovered. The Hungarian American Oil Company (MAORT) was established, with its headquarters in Nagykanizsa. The MAORT site, now under local protection, was established in 1942–1943 for its workers and officials.

The global crisis stirred up emotions again, but in fact, from the second half of the 1930s, the city’s political life intensified and became more and more extreme. Political rights expanded, and in line with the war mood, revisionist, chauvinist, and anti-Semitic voices became more prevalent. World War II demanded another ordeal and great blood sacrifices from the inhabitants of the city, pushing Nagykanizsa to the brink of destruction. The brutality of the Arrow Cross culminated in the horrors of wartime.

Nagykanizsa from 1945 until the change of regime
At the end of March 1945, the military events of World War I reached the area of ​​Nagykanizsa. The 57th Soviet and 1st Bulgarian armies marched into the city on April 1, 1945. The Sagittarius power organization disintegrated in a matter of moments, so a few days later they were able to set up a national commission with the help of communist, social democratic, trade union and other non-partisan people. In May, the local organization of the National Peasant Party and the Smallholders' Party was formed, which also had a seat on the national committee.

The 1945 elections were free elections organized on the basis of the first general and secret elections. Following the fraudulent elections of 1947, communist takeovers, nationalizations, elections instead of elections, and the council system introduced in 1950 took place in accordance with national policy. The dictatorship of the 1950s and great poverty sparked fear and resentment from the population. Nagykanizsa was particularly uncomfortably affected by the deteriorating relations with neighboring Yugoslavia. Traffic decreased, development stopped.


In 1956, the news of the events of October 23 in Budapest sparked a popular movement in the city as well. In the early afternoon of October 25, the street events began with a parade organized for DKG employees. The people gathering in Szabadság Square passed Ady Street in front of the Town Hall and then the officers' club, after which they marched to the border guard's barracks. As the young men walked the streets, they crushed the coats of arms and red stars off the buildings. After dark, a large crowd gathered in the then Freedom Square and demanded the removal of the Soviet monument. Eventually, the people rushed to the statue, but only with the help of the drilling company's crawler power plant was they able to demolish the statue on the 17-foot pedestal. On Friday evening, October 26, a group of protesters marched in front of the headquarters of the Hungarian Workers' Party (ÁVH building, former Villa Kreiner) and demanded weapons. The army then fired into the crowd, the gunfire had 2 dead and 14 wounded. On Saturday, October 27, workers' councils were formed, on October 28, the heads of factories, institutions, offices and representatives of armed bodies were formed with the participation of representatives of the armed bodies, and a decision was made to set up a national guard to preserve order and peace. On Wednesday, October 31, the committee decided to entrust the leadership of the National Guard to a former military officer, Olympian, known and respected in the city as Nándor Orbán. It was then that the military council was formed, headed by György Honti. Led by the administration, dr. Ferenc Paizs was entrusted. After the capital was attacked by Soviet troops on November 4, the National Committee in Nagykanizsa warned the population to be calm during the expected occupation, and those who have a weapon should not use it, because even a single rifle shot could result in severe retaliation. On November 5, the city surrendered without resistance. Between July 1957 and June 1958, a total of 91 years in prison were imposed on 27 defendants in four large lawsuits.

The Kádár regime, which unfolded in the 1960s, created peace relatively quickly with its “soft dictatorship”, reforms, and raising living standards. The relatively freer atmosphere, the increased confidence of the capitalist countries of Western Europe, and the general economic growth in Nagykanizsa also brought a boom.

In 1990, the first free elections were held after the regime change. In the new system of self-government, the role of the city has increased with the large-scale revocation of county powers and the simultaneous increase of the powers of representatives delegated to county self-government. Added to this was the fact that Nagykanizsa became one of the country's twenty cities with county rights. In addition to the political parties, the cultural associations operating in the city, the churches and the organizations working to beautify the settlement happily shaped public life and gave way to civic existence. Within the framework of the Urban Rehabilitation Program launched in 2010, the entire city center will be renewed, and the city's public spaces will be given a new image. The project is scheduled to end in 2012. On December 18, 2015, the section of the main road 61 bypassing Nagykanizsa was handed over.