Daily News Hungary | Feb 22, 2019 | 1
Big cities in Hungary – 5 facts you may not know about Szekszárd
For most of the people, Budapest is the first thing that comes to their mind when they think about Hungary. This country is beautiful, and it has many other beautiful cities. We have already written about Győr, Szeged, Debrecen, Kecskemét and many other towns. Now, let’s take a look at Szekszárd.
Szekszárd lies in the south-west area of Hungary, at the meeting point of the Transdanubian Hills and the Great Hungarian Plain. It is the capital of Tolna county and centre of the Szekszárd wine region. Its old name is Szegszárd.
Fewest but happiest inhabitants
It is fascinating that, as for its population, it is the smallest county seat in Hungary. It had only about 33,000 inhabitants in 2017, according to nepesseg.com. However, a happiness research from 2016 shows that Szekszárd is the third happiest county capital in Hungary. People are only happier in Tatabánya and Székesfehérvár. By area, it’s the second smallest behind Tatabánya on the list.
Szekszárd is the centre of the Szekszárd wine region. Boraszportal.hu writes that in this area, there is a lot of sunshine all year long. Furthermore, the soil is thick loess, and the winter is mild. Therefore, this place is perfect for viniculture. There is evidence that even in Roman times, there was a wine region here. A sarcophagus was found decorated with paintings that also depict a vine-stock. First, white wines were produced in a larger amount in the Middle Ages. Later on, red wines became more popular due to the Ottoman impact. A fun fact is that there are about 4500 wineries here today.
Resting place of I. Béla
I. Béla, the Champion, was the sixth king of Hungary. He supported Catholicism and cultural values. Two of his sons, Géza and László both became kings later on. According to the legend, his throne collapsed onto him, and this is how he died. It is also said that his soldiers were carrying him for days so that he can be buried in Szekszárd. In fact, no evidence has been found yet on these legends.
City of writers
Well-known Hungarian people were born in Szekszárd. One of them was Mihály Babits, a unique figure in the 19th century as a poet, author, and translator. Ervin Lázár also lived here in the 20th century, and he was a beloved author who wrote many tales and stories for children. Szekszárd was also the hometown of Miklós Mészöly author.
As magyarorszagkul.nlcafe.hu reports, the Catholic church in the city centre burned down in 1925. It happened because of children who tried to smoke the pigeons out. The inhabitants did their best to collect money for the renovation. They were selling postcards with a picture of the church’s original look. Eventually, they managed to sell 80 thousands of them, and they renovated their beloved church in the end.
When you visit Szekszárd, don’t miss out the following sights!
The Gingerbread Museum was founded in 1825 by the Petrits Family, and today the sixth generation is making gingerbread, candies, sweets, and candles in the original, traditional way. Visitors can decorate their own gingerbread and even get a guided tour in Hungarian, English and German languages. The Baka Museum is a military history museum of the 20th century and the two world wars. Birthplace of Mihály Babits, the famous Hungarian author, was born, is a museum since 1983, which was the hundredth jubilee of his birth. Gemenc is a unique forest in the Danube-Drava National Park, near to Szekszárd. This is the only remaining tidal area of the Danube. There are many programmes here such as the forest railway and all sorts of educational events.
Featured image: Wiki Commons