Zalaegerszeg is the administrative center of Zala county in western Hungary. Zalaegerszeg lies on the banks of the Zala River, close to the Slovenian and Austrian borders and 220 km west-southwest of Budapest by road.
Until the early 19th century there were only a few craftsmen and merchants in the town, because they had to pay taxes to the bishop who owned the city. By the 1830s 10% of the residents of the mostly Roman Catholic town were Jewish, but even they did not give a boost to trade. Because of this, even though the town was the centre of administration, economically and culturally it wasn't really important. Even though it had about 3500 residents, it had only two primary schools. The cultural centres of the comitatus were Kanizsa and Keszthely.
After the end of Socialism, Zalaegerszeg wasn't affected by economic recession as much as other cities were.
The 1990s brought dynamic development to the city. Zalaegerszeg hosted the 1983 World Orienteering Championships. In 2001, Zalaegerszeg hosted the Central European Olympiad in Informatics (CEOI). Zalaegerszeg also hosted the 2004 European Women's Handball Championship preliminary round, the 2005 UEFA Women's Under-19 Championship and the 2005 European Fencing Championships.