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Short history of Szolnok city

At the confluence of the Tisza and Zagyva rivers the flood-free high ground was inhabited from the beginning of neolithic period. The Conquering Hungarians have recognized the local, transportation facility, the strategic importance of crossing place on the Tisza river.It is well evidenced by the explored cemeteries from conquest period in this region.

Among the artefacts the gilded silver sabretache plate from szolnok-strázsahalmi grave is one of the most beautiful pieces of goldsmith’s art from conquest period. This sabretache plate refers to genus heads home.

The name of Szolnok becomes known around 1030 when Stephen King made it the center of the newly organized bailiff. The bailiff castle was built on the protected high ground surrounded by Tisza and Zagyva rivers. The name of the castle was given by Zounok land agent and he also became the county’s denominator. Zounok land agent was martyred protecting Gellért bishop in 1046 in Buda on Kelen hill, on the present Gellért hill.

Szolnok county has included initially surroundings of Szolnok, settlements on the both banks of the Tisza river- Szanda, Varsány, Várkony, etc- but later Szolnok county was extended to parts of Transylvania and salt mines in southern region. The position of the Transylvanian voivode was also often represented by the land agent .

The town was first officially mentioned in 1075, in Garamszentbenedek Abbey’s charter. A monastery was founded by King Géza I in Garamszentbenedek and lands were donated along the Tisza river to maintain them.Ten settlements’ names were mentioned.

Before the Mongol invasion of Hungary Szolnok already was very important ecclesiastical centre.The town was destroyed and depopulated in 1241 . It was repopulated under King Béla IV. Census were made between 1323-37 in Szolnok and other local parishes by papal tax collectors. These account books show the amount paid by the vicars.

In 1380 King Louis the Great had the borderline of Szolnok measured „ our royal estate known as Zolnok”. King Sigismund of Luxemburg in 1422 issued a charter and supplied it with his larger stamp. In an effort to develop the town, he freed Szolnok from certain taxes.

Significance of Szolnok increased particularly in the middle of 15th century The old castle of Szolnok was rebuilt in 1550-51 due to threat of Turkish danger and the city was also surrounded by a wall and moat. In the reinforced castle Lőrinc Nyári captain of the castle was able to arrest Turkish army outnumbered twenty fold. The castle was occupied by the Turks.

In 1552 Szolnok became seat of Sandzak and Turkish military but during their rule the city’s image has not changed greatly. In 1562 Güzeldzse Rüsztem the Pasha of Buda minted pile bridge at Tisza river-apart from a temporary destruction- it is Hungary’s oldest bridge.The remains of the bridge can be seen by the law water level of the Tisza. In 1685 Szolnok was liberated from Ottoman occupation.which lasted 133 years.Szolnok was strategically very important at the time of Rákóczi War of Independence, so the castle was reinforced.

In the development of the city a new stage was the railway.From September 1 1847 Szolnok was connected to Pest by railway.It was the second railway line in the country.

From January 1849 Szolnok is the key city at the Tisza river in the Hungarian Revolution of 1848-49 : the city was occupied several times by Austrian troops . On 5 March in the Battle of Szolnok the Austrians were defeated by the Hungarian soldiers in order to create opportunities to success of spring military campaign series.

A railway bridge was built at the Tisza river in 1857 so the railway traffic started to Debrecen, Nagyvárad, in 1858 to Arad, Temesvár. Szolnok has become an important railway centre.

In 1876 Szolnok became the county seat, so this fact also increased its administrative, cultural role. Around the turn of the century the food and milling industry has emerged. The city trade, banks, shops and the new constructions have transformed the characteristic city center and the high traffic Szapáry street.Since the War of Independence has shaped a painting life in the former earthwork. In 1902 an artistic colony was established with 12 ateliers.The beauties of the Great Plain were known throughout Europe by artists of this colony.

The First World War stopped the spectacular development. On 1 May 1919 started the Romanian attack and it made Szolnok a front city.The Red and White Terror both took their victims.

After the Trianon tragedy- partly owing to Governor Horthy personal bonding- the city was rapidly recovering .A spectacular development has started on economic and cultural fields.

The Second World War caused serious damage and suffering.Nearly 800 Jews from Szolnok were murdered in Auschwitz.Szolnok were destroyed by Anglo-American bombers in 12 air raids.In Oktober 1944 here went through the front line again: on 4 November the city was invaded by Soviets-with a population of less than 4000 which stayed here.

And the city revived again. The ruins cleared away and Szolnok has become the center of heavy industry in the circumstances of the emerging communist dictatorship.In 1949 37 thousand, in 1960 nearly 49 thousand people lived here.

In 1956 the occupying Sovjet Army started from here their operation called” Whirldwind”in order to defeat the War of Independence.The city leaders responsible for urban management saved the residents from destruction.

After 1957 significant industrial and infrastructural improvements were implemented. By the city’s 900-year anniversary in 1975 Szolnok became a modern city centre.To 1980 the population grew steadily but the large-scale immigration made the community uprooted.

The development of the city in the past two decades has not stopped-despite the economic crisis.The role of Szolnok as a bridge city has expanded further. In 1992 a Tisza bridge was built on the main road number 4. Tiszaliget is integrally turned into the city by the Tiszavirág Bridge.However it is inevitable to build a new urban road bridge within the foreseeable future.

Source and further information: Wikipédia

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