Nagykanizsa (Nodge-ka-knee-zsa) The name means "large place of the prince." It is a thriving city in the Southwestern corner of Hungary about 12 miles from the Croatian boarder. It is home to about 55,000+ people. The city has been a focal point for this area of western Hungary since it was first mentioned in documents from 1245. The town is situated about 30 miles west of Lake Balaton, Hungary and Europe’s longest lake.
History tells that on an island in the marshy area there stood a castle as early as the 14th century. After several unsuccessful attempts, the Turks finally succeeded in taking the castle in 1600. For the next 90 years it was under Turkish occupation, as the center of the westernmost provinces of the Ottoman Empire.
During the Hungarian military campaign to drive the Turks out, it was only after a long siege in 1690 that the castle was retaken. Instead of rebuilding the devastated castle, they used the material to rebuild the town.
The city had its "golden age" in the 19th century after the coming of the railway when it became an important junction. Following World War I and the Treaty of Trianon, Nagykanizsa lost a significant number of its markets, and it also underwent a similar recession between 1948 and 1956 because of the closeness of the Yugoslav border and the communist oppression.
However in 1937, the area had a dramatic discovery that helped preserve its importance when oil was discovered near the city. Nagykanizsa became the center of the dynamically developing oil-industry in Hungary. Even now as one drives through the countryside oil wells can still be seen pumping out crude oil.
Today Nagykanizsa is a hub between Croatia, Slovenia and those wishing to trade with Hungary. The large number of people who commute in daily for work and school tell you immediately that the city is still in the middle of all that is happening in this region of the country.