The Fekete ház (translates as “Black House” in English) was named after its original dark brown colour. The name was used by the citizens of Szeged and this has made the building known as such throughout the country. It is one of the three hundred buildings that survived the destruction of the Great Flood in 1879.
Originally, iron merchant Ferdinand Mayer had the house built for his family. The building was constructed in the spirit of Romanticism in the neo-Gothic style. The building was also home to the Downtown Casino, and sometime later, the owner’s son, Jenő Mayer, opened a restaurant in it. After the devastating flood, between 1880 and 1883, Lajos Tisza’s Royal Commission managed the city’s reconstruction work from here.
During the World War I the house operated as a military hospital, and then it became a Workers’ Home and a library. With the participation of Ferenc Móra and Gyula Juhász, the National Council of Szeged was established here on 22 November 1918. On this occasion the poet (Juhász) named the house “Pilvax of Szeged”, after the famous Pilvax Café in Budapest (which bears great significance in Hungarian history – see the Hungarian Civic Revolution and War of Independence of 1848–1849). After 1945, business premises and flats took over the building.
The Black House has been operating as a museum since 1978. Originally, this building housed the historical collection of the Móra Ferenc Museum, and then from 2013 the study rooms and the collection were gradually moved out. Nowadays, it functions as a venue of temporary exhibitions.