Békés County

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For the historical county, see Békés (former county).
Békés County
Skyline of Békés County
Flag of Békés County
Flag
Coat of arms of Békés County
Coat of arms
Location of Békés County
Country Hungary
Region Southern Great Plain
County seat Békéscsaba
Area
 • Total 5,629.71 km2 (2,173.64 sq mi)
Population (2011 census)
 • Total 359,948
 • Density 64/km2 (170/sq mi)
Website www.bekesmegye.hu

Békés County (Hungarian: Békés megye, Romanian: Bichiş), is an administrative division (county or megye) in south-eastern Hungary, on the border with Romania. It shares borders with the Hungarian counties Csongrád, Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok and Hajdú-Bihar. The capital of Békés county is Békéscsaba. The county is also part of the Danube-Kris-Mures-Tisa euroregion.

Geography[edit]

Békés county lies on the Pannonian Plain (Great Plain), it is a flat area with good soil. Average rainfall is 645 mm/year. One-fifth of the natural gas resources of Hungary can be found in Békés. The river Körös/Criş runs through the county.

Demographics[edit]

The county has a population of 377,000 (2008). More than 60% of the population lives in towns. Besides the Hungarian majority, the main minorities are the Slovaks (approx. 7,000), Roma (5,000), Romanians (4,000), Germans (1,500) and Serbs (400).

History[edit]

Old countrymap with settlements and roads, railway

The area has been inhabited since 5000-4000 BC. Before the arrival of the Hungarians several other tribes lived in the area.

The castle of Gyula was built in the early 15th century. Gyula was the most significant town of the county at that time, and became county seat under Matthias I. It was an important fortress during the Ottoman wars in Europe but it was captured in 1566. During this time several towns were destroyed in the area.

In the early 18th century, after the Ottomans were expelled, the county was repopulated, not only with Hungarians, but with Slovaks (in the towns Békéscsaba, Endrőd, Szarvas, Tótkomlós), Serbs (Battonya), Germans (Németgyula, Elek) and Romanians (Kétegyháza). Most of the non-Magyar population was assimilated by the mid-19th century.

The agricultural importance of the county and the new railway line between Pest and Békéscsaba (finished in 1858) brought development, which was quickened when Hungary lost its southern territories to Romania after World War I and Békéscsaba had to take over the role of the lost cities.

The population growth peaked in 1950 (472,000), in the same year when Békéscsaba became the county seat. During the following years the county was industrialized, like most of Hungary, and the population of the cities and towns grew.

Regional structure[edit]

The regional structure of Békés county is typical of the Great Plain: it has a small number of villages, but those are large, both by area and by population. There are several farmsteads too. 70% of the population lives in cities and towns, 17% in the county seat. A large village network is chatacteristic of the county which currently has 75 administratively independent settlements, of which 19 are cities and 56 are villages. The oldest towns, and with the largest populations, are: Békéscsaba, the county seat - a city carrying a rank of county right, Orosháza, Gyula, Békés and Szarvas.

City with county rights[edit]

Békéscsaba

Békéscsaba (county seat)

Cities and towns[edit]

(ordered by population, according to the 2012 census)

Villages[edit]

References[edit]

  • Roaming in Békés County free guide 2010 Published by Békés County Government Text by Barát Tünde
  • Hungary at GeoHive

Coordinates: 46°44′15″N 21°2′41″E / 46.73750°N 21.04472°E / 46.73750; 21.04472