The Reformed Great Church is the symbol of the Protestant Church in Hungary, and it is because of this church that Debrecen is sometimes referred to as 'the Calvinist Rome'. With a ground space of 1500 m² it is the largest Protestant church in Hungary. It also has the largest bell of all Hungarian Protestant churches. The Great Church was built between 1805 and 1824 in neoclassical style.
A church already stood here in the Middle Ages, but it burnt down. St. Andrew Church, a Gothic hall church was built in its place between 1297 and 1311. Its area was about 16x46 meters. This church burnt down in 1564. In 1626 the already Protestant citizens of Debrecen started to build the St. Andrew Church again. With the support of George I Rákóczi construction was finished in 1628. In 1640-1642 a tower was constructed and a large bell – about 300 kg, made of Austrian cannonballs – was placed in it. In 1707, during the freedom fight led by Francis II Rákóczi the church suffered heavy damages from the imperial troops. The church burnt down on June 11, 1802, during the great fire which destroyed most of Debrecen.
The current church was designed by Mihály Péchy, but the plans were altered several times during the construction, causing much frustration to the builders. The original plan featured a church with a cross-shaped ground plan and a large dome, but the plan was discarded, mainly due to financial reasons.
The western tower was finished by 1818, the eastern tower on August 6, 1821. The towers are 61 meters high. Originally a dome was planned to crown the building, this was not built, but when the construction was finished, the facade seemed unattractive with the large empty space between the towers, so in 1823/24 the facade was slightly modified, using the plans of Károly Rábl. The tower roofs feature Baroque elements. A nice panorama can be seen from the left (western) tower. The old Rákóczi bell, restored after the fire, is in this tower too.
The Great Church also has historical significance: during the Hungarian Revolution of 1848 Lajos Kossuth made the Hungarian Declaration of Independence here on April 14, 1848, and was elected governor of the country here. The armchair in which he sat can be viewed in the church.References:
The Château d'Olhain is probably the most famous castle of the Artois region. It is located in the middle of a lake which reflects its picturesque towers and curtain walls. It was also a major stronghold for the Artois in medieval times and testimony to the power of the Olhain family, first mentioned from the 12th century.
The existence of the castle was known early in the 13th century, but the present construction is largely the work of Jean de Nielles, who married Marie d’Olhain at the end of the 15th century.
The marriage of Alix Nielles to Jean de Berghes, Grand Veneur de France (master of hounds) to the King, meant the castle passed to this family, who kept it for more than 450 years. Once confiscated by Charles Quint, it suffered during the wars that ravaged the Artois. Besieged in 1641 by the French, it was partly demolished by the Spaniards in 1654, and finally blown-up and taken by the Dutch in 1710. Restored in 1830, it was abandoned after 1870, and sold by the last Prince of Berghes in 1900. There is also evidence that one of the castles occupants was related to Charles de Batz-Castelmore d'Artagnan, the person Alexandre Dumas based his Three Musketeers charictor d'Artagnan on.
During the World War I and World War II, the castle was requisitioned first by French troops, then Canadian and British soldiers. The current owner has restored the castle to its former glory.