First time in 30 years: Tusványos is cancelled

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tusványos Summer University won’t be organized this year at Tusnádfürdő/Băile Tușnad, organizers announced on Tuesday.

“As the coronavirus pandemic is not over yet, and caution and prevention is the top priority for all of us, for the first time since 1990, we are not going to organize the Bálványosi Free Summer University and Student Camp.”

– the organizers stated in their communiqué, adding that the spirit of the event could not be reconciled with the mandatory restrictions and barriers due to the virus. Instead, the 31st Tusványos will be held at the usual time next year. The new date for the 31st Bálványosi Free Summer University and Student Camp is July 20-25, 2021.

You don’t know what Tusványos is? Here’s a short explanation:

The Bálványosi Free Summer University and Student Camp (more commonly known as Tusványos) is a large-scale intellectual workshop with Hungarians living all over the Carpathian Basin. It is held each year in Szeklerland, in Tusnádfürdő, the smallest town by population (1,412) in Romania.

The first summer camp was organized right after the democratic changes in Central-Eastern Europe in the summer of 1990. For the first seven years, it was held in the spa resort Bálványosfürdő/Băile Bálványos; when the area became too small, it moved to the nearby town of Tusnádfürdő, hence the name Tusványos, a combination of the names of the two settlements.

The event’s original intention was to promote cross-border cooperation, Romanian–Hungarian dialogue and civilized Hungarian political discussions. But the summer camp is not only about political and public themes. There are also plenty of opportunities to relax and have fun. In the evenings, it is basically a festival where popular Hungarian singers and bands from Hungary, Transylvania and other parts of the Carpathian Basin give concerts, while during the daytime, you can participate in numerous sporting events, join folk dance sessions, or watch some movies in the cinema tent.


Title image: Tusványos, is both a large-scale intellectual workshop of Hungarians from all over the Carpathian Basin and a music festival with popular Hungarian bands held each Summer in Tusnádfürdő. (Photo: Zoltán Pál/

Author: Attila Szoó