Békés County

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Békés County

Békés megye
Körös near Mezőberény
Szarvas Arboretum
Andrássy Street, Békéscsaba
Descending, from top: Körös river near Mezőberény, Arboretum of Szarvas, and Downtown of Békéscsaba
Flag of Békés County
Flag
Coat of arms of Békés County
Coat of arms
Békés County within Hungary
Békés County within Hungary
Country Hungary
RegionSouthern Great Plain
County seatBékéscsaba
Districts
Government
 • President of the General AssemblyMihály Zalai (Fidesz-KDNP)
Area
 • Total5,629.71 km2 (2,173.64 sq mi)
Area rank7th in Hungary
Population
 (2015)
 • Total351,148[1]
 • Rank11th in Hungary
Postal code
55xx – 59xx
Area code(s)(+36) 66, 68
ISO 3166 codeHU-BE
Websitewww.bekesmegye.hu

Békés (Hungarian: Békés megye, pronounced [ˈbeːkeːʃ], Romanian: Județul Bichiș), 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.

Etymology[edit]

In Slovak, it is known as Békešská župa and in Romanian as Județul Bichiș.

After Hungarians conquered the area, Békés and its surroundings were the property of the Csolt clan. Békés (the name means "peaceful") was originally the name of the castle which gave its name to the comitatus, and, like many castles, was possibly named after its first steward.

Geography[edit]

This county has a total area of 5,630 km2 (2,174 sq mi) – 6.05% of Hungary.

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

Neighbours[edit]

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 the 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.

Demographics[edit]

Religion in Békés County (2011 census)

  Catholic Church (19.3%)
  Calvinism (12.9%)
  Lutheranism (7.7%)
  Orthodoxy (1.0%)
  Other religions (1.9%)
  Non-religious (31.4%)
  Atheists (1.2%)
  Undeclared (24.4%)

In 2015, it had a population of 351,148 and the population density was 62/km².
More than 60% of the population lives in towns.

Year County population[2] Change
1949 471,561 n/a
1960 Decrease 467,861 -0.78%
1970 Decrease 438,971 -6.17%
1980 Decrease 436,910 -0.47%
1990 Decrease 411,887 -5.73%
2001 Decrease 397,791 -3.42%
2011 Decrease 359,948 -9.51%

Ethnicity[edit]

Besides the Hungarian majority, the main minorities are the Roma (approx. 9,500), Slovak (7,500), Romanian (5,000), German (2,500) and Serb (500).

Total population (2011 census): 359,948
Ethnic groups (2011 census):[3] Identified themselves: 325,597 persons:

Approx. 53,000 persons in Békés County did not declare their ethnic group at the 2011 census.

Religion[edit]

Religious adherence in the county according to 2011 census:[4]

Regional structure[edit]

District of Békés County
No. English and
Hungarian names
Area
(km²)
Population
(2011)
Density
(pop./km²)
Seat No. of
municipalities
1 Békéscsaba District
Békéscsabai járás
636.16 83,541 131 Békéscsaba 9
2 Békés District
Békési járás
525.24 37,409 71 Békés (town) 7
3 Gyomaendrőd District
Gyomaendrődi járás
686.21 23,943 35 Gyomaendrőd 5
4 Gyula District
Gyulai járás
413.22 41,627 101 Gyula 4
5 Mezőkovácsháza District
Mezőkovácsházai járás
881.49 40,550 46 Mezőkovácsháza 18
6 Orosháza District
Orosházi járás
717.18 51,482 72 Orosháza 8
7 Sarkad District
Sarkadi járás
570.97 22,908 40 Sarkad 11
8 Szarvas District
Szarvasi járás
485.06 28,779 59 Szarvas 6
9 Szeghalom District
Szeghalmi járás
714.19 29,709 42 Szeghalom 7
Békés County 5,629.71 359,948 64 Békéscsaba 75

Politics[edit]

The Békés County Council, elected at the 2019 local government elections, is made up of 17 counselors[5], with the following party composition:

Party Seats Current County Assembly
  Fidesz-KDNP 10                    
  Jobbik 2                    
  Democratic Coalition 2                    
  Momentum Movement 1                    
  Hungarian Socialist Party 1                    
  Our Homeland Movement 1                    

Presidents of the General Assembly[edit]

List of Presidents, from 1990[6]
Mihály Zalai (Fidesz-KDNP) 2014–

Municipalities[edit]

Békéscsaba

Békés County has 1 urban county, 21 towns, 8 large villages and 45 villages.

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 as well. 70% of the population lives in cities and towns, while 17% are in the county seat. A large village network is characteristic 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

(ordered by population, as of 2011 census)

Towns
Villages

Red pog.svg municipalities are large villages.

Gallery[edit]

Notable people[edit]

Natives of the county include:

International relations[edit]

Békés County has a partnership relationship with:

References[edit]

  1. ^ nepesseg.com, population data of Hungarian settlements
  2. ^ népesség.com, "Békés megye népessége 1870-2015"
  3. ^ 1.1.6. A népesség anyanyelv, nemzetiség és nemek szerint – Frissítve: 2013.04.17.; Hungarian Central Statistical Office (in Hungarian)
  4. ^ 2011. ÉVI NÉPSZÁMLÁLÁS, 3. Területi adatok, 3.4 Békés megye, (in Hungarian) [1] Archived 2016-12-20 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Megyei közgyűlés tagjai 2019-2024 (Békés megye)". valasztas.hu. Retrieved 2019-10-29.
  6. ^ Önkormányzati választások eredményei (in Hungarian)

External links[edit]

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