''Faithful padagogue of mine, Transdanubian Hills,
You embrace, but do not curb''

(Gyula Illyés)


The local goverment first gave deposit to establish the saving banks in 1846.
This was the first credit bank in the county until 1869. The centre of it was built in Bezerédj street in 1896. The building is still a bank. The emblems of saving help to remember: beehives next to the small towers, and there are bees on the tympanum.

The traditional guilds of Szekszárd strenghtened during 1700s. There were 16 of them: potters, hoopers making vintage pots, szűr-makers, shoemakers. The guilds werebannedin 1872, after then the work was continued n craftsmen?s association. The small workshops were typical of that age, the industry did not swing up, not even at the time of recession.

When the damage made by phylloxera was about to get over, it was a lesson to have more modern rates in the branches of agriculture. But not change happened, Szekszárd stood by the one-sided vine-growing. The consequence of which was the loss in vintage. The biggest drawback wa that the industrialization and development in transport in the last third of the century caused non-competitiveness, because of the bad economic situation.
The best commercial route was offered by the Danube (1860-1880), but Szekszárd had no advantage of that. The number of passangers was 5 times bigger in Tolna, 8 times bigger in Paks, 10 times bigger in Dunaföldvár on the steamship service of Dunai Gőzhajó Társaság than the county capital.

The railway reached Szekszárd a bit later in 1883. At this point the lines of István Baka, the fellow-poet of Mihály Babits, come to mind:

''? the train is rattling just now
from he direction of Tolna-Mözs?"

We had to wait 14 years for the connection with Bátaszék. The Danube bridge of Baja (made in 1909), was the connection to the territories of Duna-Tisza Köze, and it was the railway from Bátaszék to Pécs (built in 1911). The coal-mining factories offered many possibilities of work in Tolna and Bonyhád. A correspondent of a newspaper in America mentioned the 2 causes of immigration at the beginning of the century: the lack of heavy industry and fixed system of large estates. He said that about Hungary: "there are a lot of church towers and a few factory chimnies. He could not find any in Szekszárd. "What a different panorama would our town have, if the work had towers - said the local paper- not just the industry would develop but the commercial and agriculture, the peole would walk faster, and they would hurry, because money rules the world.

But this had big influence on the future of Szekszárd, the development slowed down in the county capital. The cheap American wheat appeared and the hungarian one was not searched.

The modern grain crops lightened faster the loss of the farmers in Szekszárd than the refund of the damage of grapes. The evolution was helped by the buoyance of deposit. Banks were opened who helped the farmers with their problems and offered developmental opportunities.

When the industry was located Szekszárd has just some factories and the rate of workers in industry worsened. In 1900 there were 128 workers in silk-breeding and in building industry together, this grew to 138 members in 1920 with the ones working in steam mills and printing press. It was 8 % in the county.

With the lack of revenues and wealth Szekszárd could not hope to survive the 1920s after World War II without problems. The flourishing of economy could ease the situation but this not happened. Invariably the offices not the economy raised Szekszárd to be the centre of county. Its bad situation in transport worsened the situation of Szekszárd. A bridge in Dunaföldvár was dedicated in 1930 and the vital harbour of Gemenc was not solved.

István Vendel had ambitious plans for developing the town to modernize the sewage, water supply, roads. His other aims were to build flats and public institutions. The water-system was built by 12000 dollar American loan in 1925. It started with several difficulties. There were other loans, at the time of world crisis, bankrupcy treatened budget of the town. In 1927 2500 crowns were changed into 1 pengo, so there was a debt of 1 thousand million pengos. The financial balance was restored by saving measures. After the long hopeless situations the lively economy raised the town from this situation at the time of war.

There was hardly time to heave sign of relief, the blank money economy show the signs of the danger of inflation. The circulation of banknotes increased 14 times during 7 years in the last year of peace after 1938.

The Peace Treaty of Trianon cut the commercial routes, this had influence on the whole region. Even the year 1945 did not bring solution to the problems because of the bad situation with Yugoslavia. The southern corridor of Mohács was not built. Szeksárd was said not to be suitable for heavy industry, so in 1950s Szekszárd was left from investments. But it is not a problems as we can see now. The old Sió bridge built in 1899-1900 and the new crossing (on road number6) are important to discharge the Palánki road in 1952.

The employed rate in agriculture decreased to 2/3 until 1970, the workers in industry increased by 1,5 times, in commercial and transportation by 2 times and in administration by 3 times. Changes came in 1950s in the structure of industry, when leather-,printing-, furniture-, iron-, baking-, building became important. Such subsidiary companies and factories settled down like: precision engineering, fancy-leather works, plastic industry,clock and jewellery, agricultural machines, telecommunication, chemical industry which needed employees. Big building constructions started in 1957 by council companies, and in 1965 by state. Since the change of regime obsolete technologies are changed into enterprises producing competitive goods. The traditional farmers, who were not needed, started to work in industry rising the rate of the employed. The rate of them was higher by 1/3 than in the county.

The town started to deal with unmovable districts to ease the problems of home-building. New opportunities were given by the power station in Paks as many constructions started in Szekszárd as well. Szekszárd preserved its small town values of the century and enlarged borders of town centre with new buildings and parks. For preserving the values and succes a medal was given to János Hild in 1976. With big pride could the town and inhabitant say with Gyula Illyés:

'' I have a home over my home,
In the middle of it,
Like core in its fruit,
Of you I sprang, Transdanubia.''

39% of the agricultural areas were in the hand of 87% of farmers. 600 landless small-holders got most of it. Szekszárd State Estate used 1000 acres and became a huge co-operative. 4 co-operatives were established in 1959-1960. By unifing them it is the base of agriculture in Hungary.

In the last few decades, especially since 1990 there have been important changes in commercial and services. Besides the Népbolt Vállalat, founded in 1950, some other faster developing companies were determinant. The departure stores appeared with their big choice of goods, the small shops were in difficult situation.

The role of the private capital needed - and foreign capital- to have more and bigger investments. There were 14000 more flats in Szekszárd, half of them had gas heating.

The water supply was from 17km to 145 km, the sewage was from 6 to 100 km long in the last few decades. Since 1990 the number of 76 economic units increased much more. Banks appeared in the town, new hotels and social institutions were opened. The Institute of Public Hygiene and (1955) and out patients? department (1961) were built, the county hospital was equipped with a modern surgery building.

The cultural and educational buildings have been built since 1970 to help the urban characteristics. The prominent buildings are: teaches? training college, music school, community centres, House of arts, German Theatre. The nice natural spots - angling lakes, Gemenc forest, Mecsek- have huge attraction for tourism. By the ethnographical conditions, the costumes of Sárköz and the neighbourhood, the folk-dance and songs are valuable- it has a nice example- Szekszárd became an important tourist spot for Hungarians and foreigners.

You can subscribe to our weekly newsletter here!

MarkCon 2009
Vakok és gyengénlátók