Szekszárd - The Town of Quality Wine and Arts
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Downtown: 1.165 ha
Outskirts: 8.464 ha
Number of wine cellars: 4500
The picturesque slopes with its modern streets and squares call the attention, whatever direction the traveller comes. Szekszárd with its population of 36000 nowadays draws a picture of familiar atmosphere and modern town. The county town of Tolna county lies at the meeting point of Great Plain and Transdanubian Hill. The town kept growing in the valley of Remete patak (Séd patak) in the lap of hills of Szekszárd and the Great Plain. The town is bordered by Sió canal from the north. Szekszárd can be reached on highway 6, which is between Budapest and Pécs or road 56 coming from Baja. The road 63 to Székesfehérvár or the road 65 to Siófok also can be reach from highway 6. By rail you can travel to the county town on Budapest-Pécs railway line. Szekszárd is 144 km from the capital. The Great Plain is connected with the gently slooping Mezőföld and Transdanubian Hills by Sárköz and Gemenc which is a favourite trekking spot of locals. Szekszárd has a good reputation for viticulture which praises the wiseness and competence for locals. The town is improving in spite of wars and failure often having taken what the nature offered.
Lots of people show great concern about the desiration of the word Szekszárd, the dispute about it has not ended yet.
The citation to Turoczy Cronicles lasted for a long time saying the name refers to King Béla I., who was brown (szög) and bald (szár). It?s gentle explanation: the name refers to the fact that the town lies at the meeting point of hills and rivers. The name Szekszárd appeared in 1015 (in old style) in the deed of foundation of Pécsvárad, which was sent to Szent István. But we know just a little about that time. The history is much more related to the Benedictine monastery founded in 1061 by King Béla I. Szekszárd is the burial place of him. The monastery was ecclesiastical body entrusted with notarial functions. During the centuries several rulers came here including Szent László who is the son of founder of the monastery and he is the patron saint of the town. After the huge destruction of Tatar invasion the flourishing monastery raised Szekszárd from the surrounding settlements. The fortified castle of János Vitéz (abbot of Szekszárd) was destroyed because of the conspiracy against King Mátyás. Szekszárd was given the rank of market town around 1485, so it could held 5 famous markets each year, where several cattle merchants arrived from Bratislava- Subotica.
Szekszárd had been recorded as market town for 200 years when a seal with different motifs was made. It was necessary for the documents of the local authority. The drawings of the first one was without full value from heraldic point of view as the seal had not got scutcheon shape and legend. The central motif refers to architectural relics. After forcing out the Turks, Mihály Mérey (abbot 1693-1719) started to rebuilt the Benedictine monastery after its stormy past. The tower was built at that time and it later appeared on the seal. The church burnt down in 1794, its memory still lives on the seal and it became the symbol of the town. After some smaller modification (for instance originally there were not ornaments next to the tower and there was etching about viticulture but later it was left?etc) its well-known form was made. It needed no columns as it was used as seal. The legend is: SIGULLUM OPPIDI SZEXARDIENSIS - the seal of market town of Szekszárd.
This decorated seal was valid 100 years later when it got its Hungarian legend. This version was made in 1846 when Mary was represented with the Little. The new motif is a part of a painting from the Downtown Roman-Catholic church. On the painting Szent László, who is the son of King Béla I. as the patron saint of the town, offers the town under Mary?s patronage. This seal was used as colourful coat of arms in other places for instance in the emblem of Szekszárd Savings-bank. It appeared on the frontage of ??Szegzárd Szálló?? in Garay square in 1893 and it can be seen again. The relief was made by György Fusz- artisan.
Meanwhile Szekszárd became a large town and later corporate town. 1 year later the board of representatives was permitted to use the former version leaving the heraldically not proper motifs. Description was given to the coat of arms and the 500 year old colours were intensified. The prime colour is blue on the field of coat of arms there is an open bell-tower on the red castle wall made of 4 lines of ragged-stones. On the divided parts of the bell-tower on the top there is a bunch of grapes and a bell hang at the bottom. From heraldic point of view on the right (which is in reverse bacause you always have to compart to the coat of arms on the hand) vine-stocks with 2 bunches of grapes and on the left 3 ears of wheat can be found. The new decorative motif was a golden crown on the scutcheon.
This coat of arms was valid until 1949, a decree banned the use of arms and flags for the counties and settlements. The tradition started to reborn in the 1970s. The local council went back to the oldest seal by a municipal law in 1974. They had left the crown from the sutcheon and accepted a less archaic, stylized option by the plans of Mátyás Sinka. On 11 July 1991 the board of representatives chose the version used from 1906-1949. The description of our 3 hundred-year-old arms confirmed the form and ornaments of 1906 and the scutcheon was also decorated with a crown. It is the work of Péter Schubert- graphic artist, this will decorate the flag of the town as well.
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