Balatonföldvár

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Balatonföldvár
  • Földwahr
Town
Sailingships in the Port of Balatonföldvár
Sailingships in the Port of Balatonföldvár
Official seal of Balatonföldvár
Seal
Nickname(s): Flowery town of Lake Balaton, Queen of Balaton
Balatonföldvár is located in Hungary
Balatonföldvár
Balatonföldvár
Location of Balatonföldvár
Coordinates: 46°51′17″N 17°53′17″E / 46.85469°N 17.88797°E / 46.85469; 17.88797Coordinates: 46°51′17″N 17°53′17″E / 46.85469°N 17.88797°E / 46.85469; 17.88797
Country Hungary
County Somogy
County Somogy
Settled 14th century
Incorporated 1893
Government
 • Mayor Holovits Huba
Area
 • Total 15.32 km2 (5.92 sq mi)
Highest elevation 208.2 m (683.1 ft)
Lowest elevation 104 m (341 ft)
Population (2004)
 • Total 2,093
 • Density 135,31/km2 (35,050/sq mi)
 • Demonym földvári
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 8623
Area code(s) 84
Twin cities
 • Gaienhofen Germany
 • Steckborn Switzerland
 • Kühbach Germany
 • Saint-Georges-de-Didonne France
 • Ylöjärvi Finland
 • Zetelaka Romania
Website www.balatonfoldvar.hu

Balatonföldvár is a small resort town in Somogy county, Hungary, and the location of a large and well preserved Iron Age Celtic hill fort from approximately the 4th century AD. It is situated on the south side of Lake Balaton, approximately 120 km southwest from Budapest. It was established as an upmarket bathing resort in the mid-to-late 19th century. Archeologists have also found objects in the area dating back to the late Stone Age.

Etymology[edit]

The origin of the name Balatonföldvár is from Lake Balaton, the lake bordering the town, and the 'földvár' (literally 'earth castle'). The 'földvár' was built in the late Iron Age, during the occupation of the Celts. The well preserved trenches and mounds of this structure are clearly visible on the magaspart (literally 'high shore', the area above the cliff). The town is commonly referred to by locals simply as 'Földvár.'

History[edit]

In around the 4th century AD, the area was settled by Celts, who constructed the large Iron Age hill fort that gives Balatonföldvár its name, the remains of which are still visible today.

The region around Lake Balaton was occupied in around 180 AD by the Romans and was situated on a military road from Aquincum (part of present day Budapest) to the Italian peninsula. This road was considered an important road of the Roman province of Pannonia. Pannonia incorporates the area occupied by modern day Hungary west of the Danube.

The earliest recorded use of the name 'Földvár' was in documents from the 11th century. The word appears again in written form in 1358.

In the 14th and 15th centuries, the area of today's Balatonföldvár consisted mostly of pasture land. In terms of jurisdiction, it was attached to the settlement of Kőröshegy, located about three kilometers south of the lake.

The entire region surrounding Kőröshegy was purchased by Archbishop György Széchényi in 1677.

The town was referred to as 'Földvárpuszta' on maps between the 17th–19th centuries that recorded the land belonging to the Széchényi Family.

The Széchényi family doctor, Professor Frigyes Korányi, first proposed creating a bathing resort in the area of Földvár. Adopting this suggestion, Earl Imre Széchényi had the land divided into sections in 1894. The construction was organized by István Spur, the engineer of the Széchényi estate, and József Schilán, the gardener.

The Földvár bathing resort was officially opened in 1896, and received its present name, Balatonföldvár, that same year. Over 40 large villas were constructed for the wealthy and influential members of society, including the aristocracy, military officers, and politicians.

Hungary's loss of the Adriatic Shore following the First World War caused a rekindling of interest in the bathing resorts around Lake Balaton such as Balatonföldvár. As a result, development of the town continued between the First and Second World Wars. During this time, number of renowned Hungarians enjoyed the facilities offered by the town. These included Gizi Bajor, Kálmán Kandó, László Németh, Jenő and Szidi Rákosi, Jenő Kvassay, Lőrinc Szabó, and György Ránki.

Following the Second World War, further development took place in Balatonföldvár. The town was deemed a 'township with independent administration' in 1949. Larger scale development took place along the areas bordering the lake. Hotels, corporate and private resorts, flats, restaurants and shops were built. An open air stage was erected, as well as a cultural centre and an open air cinema. In keeping with the philosophy of the time, Hotel Festival, a concrete hotel comprising two eight-storey blocks was constructed in 1976.

In 1985, Balatonföldvár became a township, and later in 1992 it became a town. Balatonföldvár later became the centre of the Somogy region.

The oldest known building in Balatonföldvár was said to be the Földvári Csárda (the 'Földvár Inn'). This inn was said to have existed from about the middle of the 18th century to the late 19th century. The old Földvár Inn was eventually demolished and a new one was built in its place. The Holovits family rented the building, enlarged it, and eventually established a modern restaurant and a small hotel.

The design and management of the Balatonföldvár gardens was later adopted by the horticulturalist Ilona Jordanits. Her efforts helped Balatonföldvár win a European Competition for 'Towns and Villages in Bloom' in 1994 and the 'Entente Floral Europe' in 1995.

The Iron Age Hill Fort[edit]

The large Celtic Iron Age Hill Fort after which Balatonföldvár was named was in use until around the 4th century BCE. The mounds and ditches of the fort are mostly well preserved, and are clearly visible on the high shore of the town.

The fort forms an isosceles triangular structure viewed from the air, with two of the sides significantly longer than the third. The cliff between the high shore and the low shore parallel to and above Kemping Utca ('Camping Street') formed a natural defensive wall and was one of the long sides to the fort. The other long side to the fort consists of huge man made mounds and ditches, running for several hundred meters from the National Flag (1936) (corner of Kelta Stny and Kilátó Köz) roughly West to East as far as a point across the other side of the main Budapest road to where the Kínai Üzlet ('Chinese Shop') now stands. The mounds and ditches are particularly clearly visible at the higher end of Petőfi Sándor Utca next to the Chapel (1897) on Kelta Sétány (literally 'Celtic Walk', named after the fort). The third, shorter, side, runs from the location of the current Kínai Üzlet to the cliff, approximately at the lower end of Petőfi Sándor Utca. Unfortunately, the lower end of the fort has not been well preserved, and many of the mounds and ditches that were visible and recorded on maps as late as the late 19th century have been destroyed though the construction of buildings. It seems that the preservation of the cultural history has not been a priority of the local municipality.

Petőfi Sándor Utca[edit]

Several notable buildings are situated on Petőfi Sándor Utca, which was previously known as Imre Street. Number 1 Petőfi Sándor Utca was formerly the mansion of Jenő Rákosi, and an established meeting point for poets and writers for many years. The wooden Székely Gate next door was given to Balatonföldvár by one of its twin towns Zetelaka in 1995. Number 9 Petőfi Sándor Utca is 'Kulpintyó', the former residence of Zsigmond Széchényi, a famous writer and hunter who was also a member of the famous Széchényi family. Number 11 Petőfi Sándor Utca was the residence of Gizi Bajor, a notable actress and member of the National Theatre. An avenue in the town and the community centre (1994) were named after her. Number 13 Petőfi Sándor Utca (1896) is one of the most notable buildings in town, given that it belonged to Professor Friges Korányi, doctor to the Széchényi family, whose idea it was to develop the area of Balatonföldvár as a bathing resort. This building is built in a Neo-Roman style.

Balatonföldvár Harbor[edit]

The Hévíz Ship in the harbour
Harbor and Galamb sziget (Pigeon Island)
The Harbor entrance
Kwassay Walkway
Bridge to Galamb Sziget with pigeon sties

The port was opened in 1905 and is still one of the largest harbours around Lake Balaton. Two curved piers provide a protected harbor for yachts, boats and ships. The material dredged in order to create the harbour was used to build an artificial island. This artificial island is called Galamb Sziget ('Pigeon Island'). The name is derived from the decorative dovecotes mounted on pillars on the small bridge used to cross from the mainland to the island. The island has a number of poplar trees and footpaths and is home to the local sailing club.

The western pier is accessible via a 102 m long reinforced concrete bridge, Hungary's only footbridge with multiple supports, and a listed industrial monument.

After the Communist takeover of Hungary (1948), the area of the Galamb Sziget, the hotel close by and the eastern pier were made inaccessible to the general public. This area was reserved for Communist Party members who came there for the summer holidays. Because of the high security, the area acquired a special air of mystique.

After the regime change in the early 1990s, the authorities opened up this area to the public. However, the eastern pier is not currently accessible to the public.

Balatonföldvár Promenade[edit]

Badacsony Mountain

Balatonföldvár was beautified with an impressive promenade bordered by a double row of plane trees along the western part of the town. The view of the north shore is breathtaking. Standing on the western pier, one can see a number of conical hills on the other side, and the flat, table like mountain of Badacsony, a famous wine producing area. The hills of the Tihany peninsula appear much closer. The lower slopes of these dark treed hills are covered with the purple haze of flowering lavender fields during the summer season.

Railway Station[edit]

Balatonföldvár Station from the train
Covered platform at the Station

Balatonföldvár station is on the mainline between Budapest and Nagykanizsa. It is also situated on the main railway line to Zagreb, making it easily connected to a variety of international destinations. The station building was built in 1928. In the pre-war days it was an imposing building, well proportioned and symmetrical, painted in yellow and kept immaculately clean.

Present[edit]

Balatonföldvár is a major tourist destination, not only for Hungarians, but also for tourists from other European countries. There are close to eighty hotels and privately rented apartments available for the visitor. The town's infrastructure is modern, with water treatment and sewerage plant, cable TV, wireless service, good roads, walking paths, parks, medical service, restaurants, pharmacy and shops. Cultural life is prolific, with music recitals being offered in the Roman Catholic Church, open air theatre and other venues. The town is often used as a venue for conferences.

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Geography[edit]

Climate[edit]

The Harbor in winter

The closest city to Balatonföldvár is Siófok which has weather records and averages on Weatherbase

Climate data for Siofok
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 2
(35)
3
(38)
9
(48)
14
(57)
20
(68)
23
(73)
25
(77)
24
(76)
21
(69)
14
(58)
7
(44)
3
(38)
13.8
(56.8)
Average low °C (°F) −2
(28)
−2
(29)
3
(37)
7
(45)
12
(54)
16
(60)
17
(63)
17
(62)
13
(56)
8
(46)
3
(37)
−1
(31)
7.6
(45.7)
Precipitation mm (inches) 41
(1.6)
33
(1.3)
36
(1.4)
38
(1.5)
58
(2.3)
61
(2.4)
33
(1.3)
58
(2.3)
43
(1.7)
33
(1.3)
48
(1.9)
46
(1.8)
528
(20.8)
Source: Weatherbase[1]

Notable people[edit]

Town Twinning[edit]

Balatonfölvár written in rovásírás
Town Country Flag Year
Gaienhofen Germany 1991
Steckborn Switzerland 1991
Saint-Georges-de-Didonne France  ?
Kühbach Germany  ?
Ylöjärvi Finland  ?
Zetelaka Romania  ?

Földvárs' Cooperation (2000)[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Weatherbase: Historical Weather for Siofok, Hungary". Weatherbase. 2011.  Retrieved on 24 November 2011.
  • Berkesné Hegedűs Márta – Balatonföldvár Településtörténeti irások, visszaemlékezések. ISBN 978-963-06-2131-1.

External links[edit]