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Culture in Szekszárd

The art, the science, the sport are gates to the world

"the flat of angels Szekszárd,
my town, the towns"

(István Baka)


According to the seal, excavated at Sió coast, in the 18th century at the time of abbot Mihály Mérey a graammar school was to built. Other traces were not found, the scientists mention the 1720s as the start of the history of education. A small school was working in Szarka street at the back of today?s law court. 2 schools are mentioned before the fire of 1794. There was a 3 class state school in Béla tér, and the Calvinists had their own school in Kálvinista street. Next to the downtown church, to the school- built in 1821, some flats for teachers were built at today?s Bartina shop. School of Catholics- in newtown- now places the Kolping vocational school. In 1869 a school for Israelitic students was built.

At the end of 19th century most of the schools were maintained by the Church. Illiteracy was 15% in the 1920 showing our difficult history.

The oldest school is still standing, was a higher elementary school in the once Zöld kút square (1878-1879). Trefort Ágoston, the Minister of Education participated at the dedication of the building. Here was the first vine-dresser education in Szekszárd. The today?s school bearing the name of János Garay, now is well-known by the drawing and singing education.

The School number II. first was in the girls? school next to Hármas bridge. In 1969 was dedicated again in Zrínyi street. The Mihály Babits Elementary School started operating in 1958 in Kadarka street. The school number IV. was built in 2 parts (1966, 1973) in Kecskés street bearing the name of our famous Valéria Dienes. The school number V. was dedicated in 1983 in Ádám Béri Balogh street.

Apprentice teaching was started by the influence of trade regulations of 1884. Some disappeared trades were taught like: stove maker, copper-founder, sieve maker, church-clock maker. The vocational school got its nem building in 1965. The number of students for the 13 trades was 77 but it increased by 1500 in the next decades.

The oldest school of the town is János Garay Grammar School which educated several prominent persons to the science and public life.Szekszárd is entitled to call itself a school town as in the schools, from nursery to college, 12000 students learn each year. 2000 of them are the students of the school of music. Some of them live in dormitories. The nursery schools, 9 elementary schools, 1 institution for the education of backward, 8 secondary schools, 1 college, art education and students? hostels are made to work by local goverment, churches, foundations and by ministry. Our college having a training school which is expressive of its scientific, educational and artistic work.It is a part of Pécs University since 2000 as Gyula Illyés Faculty.

János Garay (1812-1853) studied for being a doctor, is our famous poet. The town erected a statue for its son in 1898. A school and a square is bearing its name. Garay wrote about Szekszárd in several poems, making his swashbuckler veteran, János Háry, famous. His house was mentioned in the street names? register after the fire in 1794- where the fire spread- 10 years later his name was written in the potter guild. According to the registry office he was escorted his last youney at the age of 84 in 1850. The statue of the "great brave warrior", hero of musical comedy of Zoltán Kodály, is the part of the vintage festival and the celebrating crowd.

The visitors who come far away, first go to the birthplace of Mihály Babits (1883-1941). The house of the great poet of the 20th century and his family is worthy of housing the memories of him. The Séd bends in front of the birthplace, which is quiet but famous for its rise. From the window we can look up to the hills where with the words of the poet-

"The budding trees are being
envied by the three 
thin crucifix of Calvary on the hill."

Szekszárd is the inheritor of valuable literature, taking over its responsibilities. In the museum of his birthplace the statue of Mihály Babits awaits the visitors first. 

The museum is enriched by the remains of other famous sons of Szekszárd, István Baka, Dénes Csengey and Miklós Mészöly.

The citizens of Szekszárd met the Gazette of Tolna County first(Tolna Megyei Közlöny) in 1873, belonging to Kossuth party, it was a local paper. It was followed by Tolna County (Tolna vármegye) in 1891, later the General Interest (Közérdek) in 1910 and they were unified. At the beginning of the newspaper editing just some papers reached the towns. Beside the Szekszárd Region (1881-1901) 10 newspapers - and the local ones- could be read in 200 editions. Some of them were in English and German. The social weekly magazin at the beginning of the century, was the Szekszárd Newspaper (Szekszárdi Újság).

Tolna Diary (Tolnai Napló)-until 1956- and Tolna County Newspaper (Tolna megyei Népújság)were the ancestors of Tolnai Népújság since 1989. The weekly and gazette are Szekszárdi Vasárnap since 1991.

The scientific, artistic and literatural magazines are reflecting the intellectual state of town the root of which goes back the short life of Sárköz magazine owned by Mihály Babits Literatural Society (Babits Mihály Irodalmi Társaság). The works of Szekszárd workshop are Dunatáj (1978), and later the Új Dunatáj (1996) artistical and scientific review and the Pad (1997) the literatural and artistic magazine.

Ferenc Liszt visited the town- worthily proud of its musical trditions-four times. According to the foresight of Antal Augusz or accidentally during the stay of Liszt, they celebrated birthday "the great piano hero". So some great people welcomed the master and Szekszárd became the centre of music life. At the first visit of Liszt in 1846 when the town hall was dedicated, there was a concert: "the crowd was fascinated by the music"-said the writer of an article of Életképek. The choral society thanked the music by  flaming torches. Liszt wrote his name into the music and town history by his work Szekszárdi Mise, composed for men choir and piano. Nowadays the teachers of Ferenc Liszt Music School and House of Arts (once synagogue, built in 1897)) offer rich programs for the music fans. Internationally famous solists and bands - madrigal choir, the choral society of teachers, chamber orchestra, jazz quartett, big band and the brass band- make a good reputation for Szekszárd along Europe.

A short walk can persuade anybody how much the people of Szekszárd have done for the decoration of Szekszárd. Several works of famous artists of the Hungarian sculpture- Miklós Borsos, Pál Farkas, György Fusz, Frigyes Janzer, István Kiss, László Szatmáry Juhos, Ferenc Szárnovszky, Imre Varga- enrich the town.At the beginning the restaurant of Közalapítványi Uradalom housed the theatre. First an Italian theatrical company visited the audience of Szekszárd. The performance of the United German-Hungarian Theatre had a German language performance in 1850 its was advertised on posters.
The guest performance of Mari Jászai, the star of Hungarian Theatre, made the dedication of the theatre a festival occasion. Like in other towns the theatrical performances kept the interest alive. The centres of the own town districts- book-clubs, social meetings- gave home to the cultural and social events. The Artisan Centre, built in 1928 provided the town with culture, after the community centre was erected (1970), the theatrical offer for children, students and adults developed a lot. In 1982 the German theatre of Hungary was opened, Deutsche Bühne Ungarn, but since then the new home of is in the building of Világ Mozgó cinema.

To the traditional folk art and the traditions of great craftsmen we have folk-song and folk-dance culture with the values of new age. The works of crftmen and the groups, travelling abroad draw authentic picture of art. The living folk-art with national programs appears. In the Whit Festival the German traditions renew. Other minorities are trying to show their culture. The festivals of the town and regional folk dance attract the local and international authentic popular art researchers and artists. Prominent events are Szekszárd Folklor Festival and Riverside Folklore Festival, organised in every third year. The hosts and main characters and the dancers of Bartina- the little and biggers- have travelled around in European and overseas countries of the world with their bands.

The Vintage festival is the deserving feast of grapes and wine. It is a tradition now to invite relatives and friends who participate in the festivals with the locals. The Enterprise Devloping Professional Days gives chance for demonstration for the economic life.

Traditions, written and material remains inspect the life of the past. In Wosinszky Mór County Museum lectures await those who are interested in exhibitions of regional archeological, artistic relics and other values.
The county archives (founded in 1727) and the museum together are the workshops of history by its book editing. With its huge collection- from traditional books to the modern materials- one of the biggest public vcollection is the Illyés Gyula County Library since 1961.

The scientists of Tolna County deal with spezialized branch of science take part in the work of Hungarian Academy of Science in the society of Pécs.

Following the traditions of the Reform Age: casinos, social meetings, societies, associations were founded all over Hungary so in Szekszárd as well, the first was the choral society, then the Civil Society, and the institution supporting the nursery. The Szegzárd Casino (founded in 1841, standing for 100 years) patronized the erction of statue of János Garay, Memories of Liszt by which it made its reputation. New reading circles, feminine companies, professional clubs were organised after the Compromise of 1867 and the turn of the 20th century. Nowadays following the traditions there are 250 cultural, charity, civil and civil organisations.

The popular cycling sport has 100 year old tradition the feast of which is the Fiat Gemenc Cup held every year. Márton Sipos, the son of Szekszárd reached world record in swimming, now the events bearing his name, raise the rank of swimming.

Tolnatáj television and radio stations undertake public duties with  their news, documentaries, entertaining programs.

In the sport and cultural life Belgian, Finnish, French, Dutch, Yugoslavian, German, Italian, Romanian twincities have important role, which enrich the knowledge about their culture.

Szekszárd thanks the scientific, cultural, civil work done for the town, by  presenting the freedom of the town, Pro Urbe Szekszárd and Közjóért awards.

In the 21st century we hope Mihály Vörösmarty will be right:

"the art, the science leave something mavellous?"

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