Balassagyarmat is the town of Balážske Ďarmoty (Slovak: Jahrmarkt) is the second most populous town in Nógrád County, the seat of the Balassagyarmat District and a border crossing to Slovakia on the left bank of the Ipoly River.

Due to the favorable location of Balassagyarmat, its area was already inhabited during the Copper Age. During the conquest, the Gyarmat tribe, which gave the name of the later settlement, settled here, its first known written mention dates from 1244. During the Turkish occupation, the castle was demolished and the city was depopulated. After several unsuccessful attempts, the settlement was rebuilt in 1690. The industry and trade of Balassagyarmat flourished in the 18th century, thanks to which the county seat was moved to the town in 1770. After the First World War, the demarcation line drawn on the outskirts of the city was crossed by the Czechoslovak Legion in 1919, and then on January 15 it occupied Balassagyarmat. Despite the ban of Mihály Károlyi and the Hungarian soldiers stationed in the area, the occupying forces were expelled armed on January 29. For the heroic deeds of the citizens, the city was awarded the title of “Civitas Fortissima” (The Bravest City) and January 29 became the city’s public holiday. During the 1950 county settlement, Salgótarján was appointed as the new seat of Nógrád county instead of Balassagyarmat, and the county council was actually relocated in 1952.

In the 20th century, the villages of Újkóvár, Patvarc and Ipolyszög were annexed to Balassagyarmat, but Patvarc became an independent village again in 1992 and Ipolyszög in 2006.

The suffix of the name of the town refers to the settlement of the tribe of the conquering Hungarians called Gyarmat, and the prefix was obtained from its most important owners, the Balassa family in the 15th century.


Location and geography
Balassagyarmat is located in northern Hungary, in the north-western part of Nógrád county, along the Slovak-Hungarian state border, in the terraced valley basin of the Ipoly, in the small part of the Middle Ipoly Valley, on the left bank of the river. The right coastal part of the city is now the Slovenské Ďarmoty in Slovakia. In terms of ethnography and ethnography, the town is located in one of the most privileged places of the Palóc dialect, preserving many monuments of Palóc culture. Geographically, the Balassagyarmat area consists of a chain of young, filled depressions, bounded on the south by the Terényi Hills and on the southeast by the Szécsényi Hills. Oligocene clay marl was deposited on the bedrock, which mainly consists of carbon crystalline slate, and is covered by brown soil, the dominant soil type around Balassagyarmat. The hydrography of the area is dominated by the Ipoly, and the significant stagnant water of the valley floor is the Nyírjes Lakes, which stretch over 8.5 hectares next to the town. The Égerláp nature reserve is located at the western entrance of the city.

The main data characterizing its moderately cool and dry climate are summarized in the table below.

The oldest known archaeological finds in the Balassagyarmat area date back to the Middle Copper Age (Baden culture). In Roman times (1st-4th centuries), the Quaids settled here and established a trade route along the Ipoly. The suffix of the name refers to the settlement of the tribe of the conquering Hungarians called Gyarmat, and it got its prefix from its most important owners, the Balassa family in the 15th century. He colonized the Ipoly river crossing. His castle developed from a watchtower established after the Tartar invasion. Its first known written mention dates from 1244. It was granted the right of Mezőváros in 1437.

He was occupied by the Turks from 1552 to 1593. At the beginning of the Fifteen Years' War, in the autumn of 1593, the Turkish guard escaped from the colony and set fire to the castle. The Turks were finally expelled from the area in 1648 by the rescue army of Ádám Forgách, the chief captain of Érsekújvár. From 1652 Ferenc Balassa and Imre became the chief captains of the castle. It was occupied again in 1663 or perhaps in 1665 by the Turks, who also blew it up this time. The settlement thus lost its significance. During the struggles for conquest, the area became depopulated. The resettlement of the population did not begin until the second half of the 17th century. The remains of the castle wall built at that time can be seen in Bástya Street.

After the expulsion of the Turks, due to its favorable geographical location, it was rapidly populated: it lay at the junction of a commercial road connecting the mining towns of Upper Hungary with the settlements of the Great Plain. As a result, a large number of trade groups, e.g. Serbs, Jews, Germans settled here. Their memory is preserved in the still existing Serbian church and the Jewish cemetery. Márk Rózsavölgyi, the great figure of verbunko music, his “csárdás father”, whose name is preserved by the local art school, came from the Jews here.

After 1683, the county of Nógrád did not have a permanent seat, the county assemblies took place alternately in Szécsény, Losonc or Gács. In 1790, the seat of Nógrád county was moved by the general assembly to Balassagyarmat, to the vacated barracks, which became narrow after a while, so in 1832 the county ordered its reconstruction. The new county hall, which still stands today, was inaugurated on October 19, 1835. Balassagyarmat was a significant commercial hub throughout the Reformation, so its population swelled to 7,529 by the end of the Reformation. The county prison was built in 1845, which is the oldest prison still operating in Hungary. Sándor Petőfi turned twice during his highland trips in Balassagyarmat. Imre Madách was a county clerk between 1842 and 1848, and Jenő Komjąhy taught here.

At the time of the 1848 revolution, the body of the revolutionary administration, the city council, was established very early, on March 25, 1848. The recruitment of national patrol teams also began on this day.

The dualist Balassagyarmat progressed in urbanization, but since the market town status was abolished by the village law of 1871 (also abolished as a title from 1886), the settlement did not undertake to provide the necessary conditions for the orderly council city and the extra tax, so it became a large village, and Until 1923, it worked that way.

During the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, the foundations of the current structure of the settlement were formed: new settlement-like constructions (Otthontelep, Tisztviselő- és Vasutas-settlements) were established next to the public buildings (county and district court, county hall, etc.) erected on the main street (today: Rákóczi fejedelem útja . The Mária Valéria Public Hospital in Nógrád County was built at that time (today Dr. Albert Kenessey Hospital). Architect Gyula Wälder, a later university professor, played a major role in shaping the image of Balassagyarmat. The beach was designed by Alfred Hajós. The city gallery and the building of the State Police and Gendarmerie Palace were designed by Dezső Magos (Munk), a native of the city.


At the end of the age of dualism, Balassagyarmat, as the county seat, was primarily an administrative center, a city of merchants and officials. Kálmán Mikszáth was a county clerk here between 1871 and 1873.

The settlement played an important role during the First World War and the subsequent revolutions. Soldiers from Balassagyarmat and the surrounding area, enlisted in the 16th Infantry Regiment, ended up primarily on the Russian front, especially many of them who fought in what is now Poland. The statue of the 16th Army in the Heroes' Square commemorates them.

On January 29, 1919, the occupying Czech garrison was pushed back to the other side of Ipoly by gunmen consisting of brave volunteers (railwaymen, soldiers, prison guards, industrial workers), which the local common language calls Czech exile. The event is commemorated by the Memorial Act, which gave the city the honorary title of Civitas Fortissima (Bravest City), and in November 2009 the local-born Gábor Matúz made a film about it. Under the influence of the atrocities committed by the Reds during the Soviet Republic, Técay Cécile, then living in Balassagyarmat, wrote some chapters of Bujdosó's book.

Balassagyarmat became a border town with the Treaty of Trianon. Its old Ipoly bridge was blown up, its stumps can still be seen today, and a new bridge has been built ever since. Due to the change in the flow of the river, the 1999 LXXX. The Slovak-Hungarian interstate agreement on borders had to be amended by TV, as the state border stretches in the middle of the riverbed.

Until 1923, the rank of the settlement was a large village, a town with a council organized between 1923 and 1929, and then a county town between 1929 and 1950.

Between the two world wars, Zoltán Tildy spent his childhood in the city, and Lőrinc Szabó lived here for a while at 10 Templom utca. In 1926, the village of Újkóvár, formed from the border part of Kóvár left in Hungary, was annexed here.

In February 1945, a Land Allocation Committee was formed, which distributed land to more than 11,000 families.

In 1950, it took over the role of the county seat in Salgótarján, although the county council was established in Balassagyarmat and operated here temporarily until 1952, when the operating conditions were created at the new seat. The need to relocate the county seat was already addressed in the administrative geographical literature between the two world wars, and was included in several reform proposals, supported by detailed calculations. During the 1950 county settlement, most of the villages of the former Hont county in Hungary were annexed from Nógrád to Pest county, together with some settlements around Vác, while the county's southeastern border with Heves county moved from the Zagyva river valley to the Mátra mountains. rather, its population shift shifted eastward. Some county bodies later remained in their old place, with the county court and prosecutor's office still operating here. Balassagyarmat - together with the city of Gyula - is one of the 2 Hungarian cities where city and county level courts are located, although it is not the county seat.

Between 1950 and 1954, Balassagyarmat was a city directly subordinated to the district council, then until 1971 it was a city with district rights, and since then it has been a city. Although it has lost its former administrative importance, its cultural power remains high, provided by the large number and capacity of educational institutions operating in the city relative to the population.

In 1973, a hostage drama that shook the whole country took place here, during which two young men, András Pintye and László, tried to take the residents of one of the girls' colleges (the former institute of the English Misses) hostage and try to get abroad (see: Balassagyarmat hostage drama).

From 1973, Patvarc and Ipolyszög belonged to Balassagyarmat, but the former became an independent village in 1992, and the latter in 2006 again. The city has been the center of the Balassagyarmat micro-region since 1994, and is also a member of the Ipoly Euroregion.

In September 2009, the local representative body - in response to László Sólyom's atrocities on the Komárom bridge - declared the Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, who was passing through the city, undesirable. It was a scandal in the domestic press that Fico subsequently drove through the city, accompanied by guards with submachine guns. Pursuant to the Slovak-Hungarian interstate agreement signed on 31 January 2011, the Slovak-Hungarian gas pipeline crosses the state border at Balassagyarmat.

In August 2012, Jobbik organized a protest against a hostel in the city. Also from 2012, Balassagyarmat became the district center of the Balassagyarmat district. In 2013, after several successful tenders, Balassagyarmat won more than 1.1 billion forints for the rehabilitation of the city, during which the Old Town Square and the main square were renewed.

For the centenary of the 1919 uprising, the municipality organized a jubilee anniversary year, which lasted until June 4, 2020, the anniversary of the Treaty of Trianon.