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Szekszárd - The Town of Quality Wine and Arts

Szekszárd - The Town of Quality Wine and Arts

Szekszárdi panoráma

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The settlement suffered a lot from the destruction of the marching Turkish army. The rebuilt of the monastery and the town was started by Mihály Mérey. In 1716 60 feudal tenants and 6 cotters lived in Szekszárd. The town became a memorial place of Rákóczi?s insurrection. Here was Ádám Béri Balogh, the Crucian brigadier, captured. The 18th century was the century of settling Germans, founding of guilds, introducing of coat of arms of Szekszárd, ceasing of the monastery, becoming of county capital.

The population was 6000 when the town was destroyed in fire in 1794. 200 years ago the evenings of Szegzárd (using the word Szekszárd from 1903) were noisy when the boys of downtown and uppertown fought in the Golden Grapes Inn (Arany Szőlő fogadó) and Black Elephant Inn (Fekete Elefánt fogadó).

The viticulture was going forward on bigger territories on the slopes-in fear of rivers extending towards Sétakert- rather than cultivation of field crops on flat areas (until the canalization of rivers of Sió-Sárvíz and Danube in the 1850).

The 19th century was especially important in the life of Szekszárd. Hospital was founded, churches, public buildings, county hall, town hall and savings bank?etc. were built. At the end of the century museum and grammar school was founded. The cultural events were expressive: Ferenc Liszt visited the town four times, the local casino and choral society and other societies were established. The statue of János Garay (1812-1853) erected by the town commemorating him and his well-known figure, János Háry. The town became the centre of silkworms breeding by the help of Bezerédj. The population was 14000, so it was a densly populated settlement.

In 1905 it was given the rank of corporate town, because of its unique viticulture, but having no industry and economy. At the time of the road and rail building the town got into an unfavourable situation and the development stopped for a while. But it was still the centre of cultural and administrative life of the county. Valuable research work was started in the museum and archives and it still goes on. The population was growing in the 1960s causing tenseness in supplying but in standing values as well, which are characteristic of this race. In spite of this, the birthplace of Mihály Babits (1883-1941) in its county capital rank - town of county rank since 1994 - developed to be economic, commercial and cultural centre.

The most important medival art relics of Szekszárd are the ruins of the Benedictine church. The garden with ancient ruins surrounded by the county hall was built in classicist style by Mihály Pollack between 1828-1833, housing the archives today. The parish-church which was rebuilt in late baroque style in honour of King László - the patron saint of Szekszárd - after the fire in 1805. The former classicist Nagyvendéglő gave place to the first theatre of the town since 1893. An insurance company operates in the building- just like in Szegzárd Szálló of art Nouveau style designed by Ödön Lechner. The once synagogue - home of House of Arts - was built in 1897 and it is also an important historic building. The county museum was designed by Schikedanz and Hercog in neo-renaissance style. The Augusz House is famous for its world-famous visitor, Ferenc Liszt. The music school has occupied the building complex today. One of the most excellent statues of today ( by Pál Farkas)is in the garden of the birthplace of Mihály Babits. Another wonderful statue of Prometheus by Imre Varga is in the towncentre. Two other building worth mentioning of the modern style after the WorldWar II. were the party centre by Károly Jurcsik and the community centre by Ernő Tillay. Some old press-houses are still standing as a memory of ethnography.

The population of Szekszárd has grown 6 times bigger in the last 200 years, but the rate of nationalities - according to the assimilative factors -is insignificant. The rate of denominations did not change, most of the population are Catholic but the rate of Calvinists is significant. Evangelicals and Methodists have their own church and Jehovahs built their chapel. The population does not increase so intensively since 1980, but the infrastructure cannot keep pace with it in some fields. The problem of through traffic is not solved hindering development. The single- line railway of Rétszilas and Bátaszék is obsolete and the modern road system connceting Szekszárd with other parts of the country is missing.

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