Hajós and surroundings
History of Hajós
The town of Hajós is situated on the Great Hungarian Plain, in the southern region of Bács-Kiskun county, 20 km south-east from Kalocsa, 30 km north-east from Baja. Its population was about 3400 people in 2005. Hajós belonged to the archdiocese of Kalocsa for centuries. How the town got its name, are three different stories circulating. According to one, there used to be a watercourse running through the present-day ground of the town that made fishing and shipping possible. The other one originates in the shipping of Swabian settlers on the Danube. The third one supposes that the land of Hajós used to belong to a certain Hajósy family, which family had lived here before the Turkish occupation. There are numerous written documents supporting this version. After the expulsion of the Turks, Hajós was resettled by German families in the 1720ies. Although most of the population of Hajós was deployed after World War II, many of them returned. It is safe to say that today Hajós is a bilingual settlement. According to the data of the 2001 census, the largest minority in town are the Germans, they make 27,5% of the population. The town treasures its Swabian culture, not only with characteristic Swabian buildings, but by organizing the Swabian ball, ethnicity days, and different commemorations every year. Also the German Ethnic Youth Brass Orchestra and Traditional Swabian Folk Dance Group stand for preserving Swabian traditions. In July every year the Day of Traditional Costume and Dance of Hajós is organized, where performers walk along the main street wearing traditional Swabian clothing, eventually ending the event with a feast lasting till dawn. Of course Hajós is proud not only of the Swabian roots, but of its wine culture that has the same age as the town.
Hajós is famous for its cellar village, which is the largest in Central Europe and has about 1300 cellars. The press-houses and the bottom located cellars, scooped in loess, are connected through the winding streets of the Cellar Village. This is the largest adjacent cellar village in its own kind. characteristics wines of the region are Cabernet sauvignon, Cabernet franc, Kékfrankos, Zweigelt, Kadarka, Chardonnay, Olaszrizling, Szürkebarát, and Cserszegi fűszeres, but a lot of other types can be found here. Since the 1980ies many cellars were converted into lodging houses, or were newly built. The feast of the town is connected to wine, that is the Saint Urban’s Day Wine Festival held on the last weekend of May every year, which attracts thousands of guests. The Kádármester (Master cooper) Showroom of the Bálint Borház is outstanding in the region, the making of barrels is really worth watching. The open cellar days are held at the cellar village in the spring and winter time for years now, when more than 40 cellars await guests. Not only wines can be tasted and cellars can be visited during the open cellar days, but the master craftsmen of Hajós present their merchandise at the appointed cellars. From roasted chestnuts to fried sausages and kürtöskalács (Transylvanian chimney cake), all kinds of delicacies can be found on the streets.
Baroque Castle of Hajós
One of the most beautiful eye marks of Hajós is the compelling, four towered Baroque Castle of Hajós. The former hunting manor of the archbishop was built in 1739 on the order of the archbishop of Kalocsa. Its four, neat corner towers were erected in 1767. Later it was converted into an orphanage by Archbishop Haynald Lajos, which became a state foster home in 1954. In 2010 through subventions from the EU and the county municipality the castle was renovated to restore its former glory. Its sheltered treasures are the full-body portraits of Maria Theresa and her husband, and her parents respectively, which all were made by a Dutch master.
The House of Wine and Arts
One of the pearls of the city Hajós is the House of Wine and Arts, which is hidden in the Dózsa street. The resident artists are not only local excellence, but also international artists, who contribute to the House’s exhibitions. One of the many outstanding figures is Matteo Massagrande Italian painter, whose works and frescoes can be seen in the House of Wine and Arts. The house itself has a unique atmosphere thanks to its lively and exciting creations, which captivate every culture lover.
Szent Imre Roman Catholic Church
The Saint Imre Roman Catholic Church was built in 1728 in Baroque style, with side-aisles added in 1879. There is a 1 meter tall wooden sculpture of Virgin Mary on the main shrine, which was brought from the old country by the settlers. The sculpture, called miraculous because of the healings predicated to it, originates from the 16th century. The Roman Catholic parish was built at the beginning of the 18th century in Late Baroque style.
The Cellar Village is located 3 km from the center of Hajós and can also be reached on a separate road for bicycles. The visitors can wander along the 1300 cellars, and can experience not only the fine wines but also the famous hospitality of the people of Hajós. Along the year the village attracts tourists with several events. It is worth to visit the village not only on St.Urban’s and open cellar days, but at the special pumpkin themed new wine tasting at Halloween, since the cellar village is lit up with hundreds of jack-o-lanterns, that gives an authentic Halloween feeling to the winding wine roads.
Between the town of Hajós and the Cellar Village there is a 1-1,5 km long bicycle road supplemented with benches, which can be an ideal resting spot for any hiker. Hajós and Érsekhalma is connected through a 6 km long pleasant bicycle road that runs along the main road 54 among hummocky slopes and wine fields. Above of all that, there is a more than 8 km long bicycle road between Kecel and Soltvadkert, which is perfect for everyone longing for a bicycle ride.
Pilgrim’s way, hiking trail
The Hungarian Pilgrim’s Way Association and the Hungarian Pilgrim’s Way Municipality Association were founded to create a network-like, constantly functioning Hungarian Pilgrim’s way similar to El Camino in Spain. The Hungarian Pilgrim’s Way was opened on 31st March 2011, awaiting pilgrims from Esztergom to Márigyüd. The continuously developing way was awarded with the Károly Kós award in 2013. Anyone can walk on the Hungarian Pilgrim’s Way any time, for an arbitrary distance. Walking along the way takes 16 days. It is not required to walk the entire distance at one go, the whole length of the way is 431 km, with diversions 600km. The middle part of the way, more than 200km is in Bács-Kiskun County.
Swabian traditional house, village museum
A traditional Swabian house can be found on the main road when moving towards the cellar village from the center of Hajós. The German ethnic traditional house was renewed in 2003 in a spacious house presumably built in 1905. It has wide portal and a separate traditional summer kitchen, and also a front room that used to be the living room, a front kitchen, a back room, that functioned as the clean room, back kitchen and the stables for horses and cows. The present traditional house was built by a wealthy family from Hajós, since back then only people with a lot of earnings could afford such a big house.