Várpalota (before 1870 only Palota, in some works: V. Palota) is a town in Veszprém county, Várpalota district. Várpalota is located in Transdanubia, on the eastern edge of Veszprém county. In terms of population, it is the fourth most populated settlement in the county. It is located 90 kilometers from Budapest, halfway between two county capitals, Székesfehérvár and Veszprém, at the foot of the Bakony, barely 30 kilometers from Lake Balaton.
Evidence of the presence of the Romans is the stone
dam erected by them - next to the main road No. 8 in the direction
of Öskü - and in the direction of Székesfehérvár, on the border of
Inota, by the two restored mound graves. The stone monuments can be
seen in the stone storehouse of the castle.
The most remarkable monument of the Middle Ages is the medieval castle in the center of the town, built in the 14th century and then rebuilt several times over the centuries. In Turkish times, the Palace was an important royal border fortress, its most famous defender, György Thury, is also mentioned by Miklós Zrínyi in his work Island Peril. The Gothic-style Inota Catholic Church was also built in the Middle Ages.
Description of the settlement at the end of the 18th century:
Palace: Hungarian Field-City in Veszprém County, landed Lords Count Zichy Lords, adorned with ‘whose old castle and new kies castle’ s candle. The Castle of Hajdani, which Miklós Újlaky had begun to build, suffered from various vicissitudes, performed by 'like' Historians. In addition to these notable buildings, this ‘City’ is also adorned with a beautiful stone-built Holy Church by the earthly Lords, whose location and building provide another ornament to this city. Its inhabitants are Catholics, Reformed, Evangelicals, as well as Jews, it lies on the Country Road below Bőrhegy, 2 1/2 mile to Veszprém, 2 mile to Fejérvár, in a rather cheerful place, it has a post office, its border is divided into two sections, and , nevertheless produces both autumn and spring crops, and in particular the fact that pure wheat with a stronger pasta does not grow in the whole County than here, its forest is rich in game, its vineyards produce good wine, it also has two cobs. Being a peculiar source of warm water in winter, it drives two incessantly rotating mills with its flow. Here is also the ‘famous Lake Kikiri, the source of which is considered to be bottomless, and which rotates many mills with a continuous flow; its water was, in the old days, maintained by a dam carved out of large carved stones, it provided a very large fishy and birdish Lake; but already being drained today, only the ‘flow of wealth is yet, and the‘ bush ’has turned into meadows. From here, the ‘famous Muddy’s’ also takes on its own origins.
(András Vályi: Description of the Hungarian Country, 1796–1799)
In the 18th century, the settlement developed into a thriving market town. This is evidenced by the Baroque churches in the city center and the renovated Zichy Chapel in the lower town cemetery. To the west of the city's main square, behind the Catholic church, the Zichy Castle was built according to the plans of Miklós Ybl, which was later rebuilt in the Classicist style.
The town’s significant Jewish population erected a classicist-style synagogue in the city center in the 1840s. The city had a significant craft industry in the 18th century. A 18-19. In the 16th century, the market town of Palota was famous for its limestones, honeymooners, vargaas and tutu makers. In the 19th century, in addition to the Jews, there were several Greek and Armenian merchants in the city.
At the end of the 19th century, the city began to develop significantly. Here, coal mining is worth mentioning, because the settlement of just a few thousand people was not very important in terms of agriculture, and the industrial body still employed a small layer. Mining at Várpalota began in 1876, at least this is considered the date of commencement of coal production, whereas more serious extraction began in 1886.
The first half of the 20th century
With the advent of coal mining in the early 20th century, significant industrial development began.
However, the population of Várpalota has been steadily declining since its peak in 1836 until 1920 (4964 inhabitants). This was generally not true for Hungarian settlements, because the Treaty of Trianon mostly had a detrimental effect on the country, but the fate of Várpalota was fortunate during and after the war for several reasons:
- the front did not pass through its territory,
- as the country has lost its carbon bases (Caraș-Severin Basin, etc.), palace coal has become more valuable,
- the country also lost its chemical plants, several of which were built in the area (Pétfürdő, Balatonfűzfő, Peremarton.)
In 1903, there was a significant change in the production direction of early mining. Coal mining fell from the hands of Vladimir Zichy to Henrik Witzleben, a relative of the Prussian emperor. But this only affected the upper lordship in addition to the tenure prevailing at the time, the lower lordship falling into the hands of the Wolf brothers. The inferiority was purchased in 1908 by Count Witzleben. The count brought a new spirit to the coal mining of the palace, brought German miners as well, and made mining more professional and profitable. Evidence of this is, among other things, the German (es) adjectives found in the vocabulary of the miners who learned their craft during these years. These words later mostly fall out of the vocabulary of young people and use Hungarian terms in the following times.
Under Witzleben, workers' earnings improved. As the wells in the
lower town became depleted at this time, it introduces the water of
the Windward Spring into the town. In 1904 he built a brick factory
and a lime kiln, which in 1909 he installed for generator firing. In
1907, he founded the Várpalotai Ipartelepek R.T., but the majority
of the shares remain in his hands. In order to make better use of
the extracted coal, he established a briquette factory in 1914. His
investments consumed large sums of money, but his actions led to the
development of more modern, capitalist mining in the Palace.
Witzleben sold his shares in 1919, the customers were the Vienna Deposition Bank, the Hungarian National Bank, and the City and Municipal Development RT, which created the Union Mining and Industrial RT, which benefited from the electrification of the castle palace, which began in 1915, because part of the low-value 2,200-calorie lignite was tied up by the Power Plant as a regular consumer.
After 1920, there was a temporary shortage of coal in the country, so for the first time in its history, palace coal could be sold outside the city limits due to demand. The direct consequence of this is that in 1923 the Esztergom-Szászvári R.T., and then its successor, the Salgótarján Coal Mine R.T. also became involved in mining. But in 1926, as a result of the world economic crisis, demand for coal fell again. The Bánhida power plant also switched to the use of better quality coal, so the palace coal market was almost exclusively limited to residential consumption. In this R.T. its leaders helped by acquiring the Füzfő factory and its associate, the Nitrochemical Industrial Plants, for the market. Due to this, the volume of coal mining in crisis more than doubled by 1929 (129,000 tons) compared to 1928 (129,000 tons).
However, the increase in production did not stop, in fact! In 1930 it was already 163,060 tons, and in 1932 251,000 tons of coal was extracted. Of course, this was greatly contributed to by the fact that in 1929 the coal classifier came into operation, and Fleissner's hydration equipment for dewatering raw coal began production; the water content is approx. It decreased from 46% to 18-20% and the caloric value increased from 2000-2200 to 4000-4200. Thus, hydrated coal has already become competitive in the fuel market. In order to expand the market, the combustion equipment of quite a few Transdanubian mills was replaced by intake gas engines suitable for the use of hydrated coal in the palace.
The beginnings of the chemical industry
The Péti Nitrogénművek has been operating since 1931–1932. Lignite from Várpalota played a major role in its installation, providing energy for energy-intensive chemical processes. The plant and the hydration plant were connected by a cableway, and from then on Nitrogénművek became the main, safest consumer of coal. The next big boost came from the government's 1938 program in Győr, which indirectly increased the demand for electricity within the country. (The Győr program was, in fact, a state-initiated program that launched a state of war and benefited most industries.)
Coal mining continued to flourish in the boom, which peaked in 1942 (710,000 tons), but as the front approached, the Axis powers lost their luck, coal production also declined, and 1944 was the last year when production was still pre-war markets.
A II. destruction of world war
In the Second World War, the front passed through the entire territory of Hungary, including Várpalota. The devastation was enormous, with several serious causes. Fearing the last source of oil, the wells of Zala, the Germans concentrated a strong army in the area and launched a counterattack, which became known as the Battle of Lake Balaton. So the front not only crossed, but also raged here in the area for six weeks. This in itself had serious consequences, but perhaps no less weight was given to the Péti chemical plant, which at that time still produced motor propellants, and the plant also had an oil refinery, which the Germans wanted to protect at all costs for the reasons mentioned above.
In 1945, the Second World War ended on March 21 in Várpalota. Unfortunately, the city was unlucky: 3/4 of the city’s buildings became prey to the war. The same applies to the then two largest plants of the city, the mining plants of Salgótarján Kőszénbánya RT in Várpalota, as well as the nitrogen fertilizer factory (as well as the oil refinery facilities) located in the Pétfürdő district.
The second half of the 20th century
The first activity of the post-war reconstruction was the tidying
up of the three industrial facilities described above, the start of
production. The then state leadership decided to build a coal-based
thermal power plant in the Inota district based on the lignite
assets of the Várpalota mine, and then to build an aluminum smelter
in the immediate vicinity of the power plant based on the Hungarian
bauxite treasure. This industrial vertical also produced a very
significant production value at the national level, already in the
1950s. Subsequent industrial developments played a major role in the
expansion and modernization of existing factories.
Industrial production between the sixties and eighties
From the end of the 1960s, oil refining ceased and was replaced by experimental “semi-plants” that played a significant role in the technical development of the country, such as NAKI (High Pressure Experimental Institute), MÁFKI (Hungarian Petroleum Research Institute), etc. In the early 1970s, the large-scale expansion of Nitrogénművek met the fertilizer needs of growing Hungarian agriculture. Coal production was increased by opening new mines and by playing a pioneering role in the country in this field by automating and mechanizing underground coal production. In addition to the mines, adult plants, whose products were used from China to England, played a significant role in automation and mine shield production. At the Inota thermal power plant, a so-called a peak power plant, which quickly replaced the lost energy in the event of a breakdown in the national electricity system, and also played a significant role in the safe operation of the Paks nuclear power plant. During the operation of the thermal power plant, the increased protection of the environment also came to the fore from the 1980s, which is why the boilers were equipped with dust filter filters. In addition to the metallurgical activity, the Inota Aluminum Smelter produced semi-finished aluminum products in its newly built plants. It is necessary to mention that the National Geological Research and Drilling Company was established in Várpalota to meet the needs of Hungarian coal mining, which operated on three continents during its development. In the shadow of large companies, several cooperatives and companies that help to serve these activities with special products also operated successfully. The economic position of these companies serving and assisting each other was shaken by the late 1980s due to the weakening market position of coal mining.
The crisis of the city after the change of regime
The heyday of the city’s economy gradually ended from 1989. The development of the city stagnated or regressed after the change of regime in the 1990s.
The foundation of the superimposed industrial structure, the gradual decline of the coal mine, abandoned deep cultivation on October 1, 1992; one or two smaller, near-surface coal lenses were still mined to meet the needs of the thermal power plant. For the region, this meant that, along with the service companies, about four and a half thousand jobs were lost in and around the city. Some of the mine's service plants (control technology, shield manufacturing, construction, transportation, etc.) were still able to provide jobs for their employees, but the lack of capital forced the owners to be liquidated by the end of 2004.
Among the plants of the Inota district, the fate of the Thermal Power Plant was sealed by the closure of the Várpalota mine. It was operated for a while with coal from other mines (Balinka, Ajka), then the owner closed the power plant in 2001. The peak power plant part did not meet the conditions prescribed in the Western European electricity standard, and therefore it was withdrawn from standby and production when the Liter peak power plant was completed. It currently operates as a power distributor only.
The aluminum smelter in Inota became privately owned and is the headquarters of one of the major public limited companies in the country under the name Magyar Alumínium RT. Aluminum metallurgy is expected to cease despite improvements. Anticipating these processes, RT's management has set up a large industrial park next to the smelter with several plants. These plants operate in a profile related to aluminum processing, such as alloy disc production, aircraft parts, and so on. The site will continue to produce semi-finished and finished products after the completion of the aluminum smelting in Inota.
Not only the strong redevelopment of mining, which characterizes
Várpalota, also sentenced the National Geological Survey to cease.
During this four- to five-year process, it ceased to co-exist with
the industrial estate of the palace district. Hundreds of job losses
have been reported in the district due to the destruction and
cessation of related activities such as bus passenger transport,
rail coal transport, restaurants, laundries, etc. To this day, an
industrial park has been established in the palace district, which
has reacted to the changing economic climate with a decade of delay.
The chemical plants of the Pétfürdő district also suffered from the economic effects of the change of regime. The Péti Nitrogénművek was liquidated by the state owner, but the factory was first sold to quasi-private owners and then to actual private owners. After a significant reduction in headcount, production first stagnated and then began to develop with the entry of a new private owner. At present, the factory is implementing an investment worth approximately HUF 18 billion. Once the investments are completed, the fertilizer plant will be one of the two most modern in Europe. The experimental institutes were set up in the early 1990s by Nitroil R.T. merged under their name, their profiles cleaned up. The joint-stock company is incorporated under the auspices of Hunstman R.T. bought it.
Greater progress has been made in the city alone at the communal level. With the support of the Empire of Japan, the so-called a Japanese program that sought to eliminate the harmful effects of industrial developments for the benefit of the population. By the end of 1998, healthy drinking water, complete sewerage, and complete heating of buildings with either gas or district heating were available on all inland plots in the city of Várpalota.
The unit of the city of Várpalota disintegrated on October 1, 1997, the part of Pétfürdő that lost the least economically during the change of regime, became independent, called Pétfürdő.