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Generációk jövője az Alföldön

The brick architecture of Hódmezővásárhely

Hódmezővásárhely’s vast outdoor area harbours extremely good quality clay, which can be used to make good quality bricks. Brick was therefore used for major construction projects from the very beginning, and our earliest – partially preserved – monument, the medieval church of the former village of Csomorkány, was made entirely of brick. The oldest building still standing in the town, the Reformed Old Church, was also made of brick, but it was plastered over.

In fact, brick buildings with plaster were common in all parts of the country, but in Hódmezővásárhely, in the second half of the 19th century and the early 20th century, buildings without plaster, with a brick façade, became very popular. Although it is true that buildings with brick façades were also built in several settlements in Hungary from the mid-19th century, in Hódmezővásárhely a significant number of peasant and civil houses were also built with brick façades, and quite a few public buildings were also clad with brick, not to mention factory buildings. And the flood protection wall is a nationally unique structure that exemplifies the amazing strength of the local brickworks.

However, what makes the brick architecture of Hódmezővásárhely really special is the large number and high quality of the houses, which also define the townscape. This is what distinguishes the brick houses of Hódmezővásárhely from other lowland towns: they are not just isolated, stand alone and are not just a curiosity, but are consistently arranged side by side, forming islands of many sizes, and these islands practically cover the whole town. In addition to the large number, the quality of these houses must also be emphasised, because they are very beautiful. Of course, the more wealthy owners have been able to build really eye-catching, multi-coloured facades, but the inventiveness and creativity can also be seen in the smaller houses. Sometimes the whole façade of these small houses is ornate, as if they were trying to keep up with the big houses, although most of the small houses are more puritanical. The love of brick is also evident in the houses whose owners could not afford to clad their houses in brick. On these houses, often with rendered façades and often built of adobe, the gables are decorated with brick or brick strips and the windows are often surrounded by brick frames. The variety of motifs in brick and brick bands shows most vividly that the people of Fairtrade really loved brick and took brick building and decoration to a very high level.

Because of the many and beautiful residential buildings, I think that the brick architecture of Hódmezővásárhely should be treated as a special cultural asset and included in both the local and the national heritage register.