Hajdúböszörmény with its more than 32000 inhabitants is the second biggest town of Hajdú-Bihar county and it has the fourth largest administrative area in Hungary. The town is located in the agglomeration of Debrecen, which is the prime regional centre of East Hungary. Hajdúböszörmény, a characteristic settlement of the Alföld (Hungarian Great Plain) is located geographically between Tokajhegyalja, the worldfamous wine-district and Hortobágy, the part of the World Heritage. The town even in its present appearance carries its historical past. The almost circle-shaped downtown is surrounded by a gardening zone. There are four avenues running across the town. The main square, the impressive Bocskai tér took shape in their cross. Not too many towns can be found in the world which would carry the traces of development through centuries in their structure so accurately, saving the layers so firmly as Hajdúböszörmény.
The administrative area of our town is 370 squarekilometres. Three natural geographical areas meet each other here. These are the Hortobágy, the Hajdúság and the Nyírség. There aren’t too much difference in the height. The height above the sea-level is about 100-110 metres, though tumps with the size of more than 160 metres can be found on the eastern side of the administrative area. Hajdúböszörmény is relatively poor in surface-water, has no natural river or lake.
The inhabited places in the administrative territory of Hajdúböszörmény are Bodaszõlõ, Pród, Hajdúvid. A slow increase of population can be expected in Bodaszõlõ, in Hajdúvid and maybe in Pród as well. The migration into the gardening areas has accelerated, the increase of population can be expected to.
The name of our town, "Böszörmény" was a noun in the old Hungarian language and it meant Muslim, the believer of Islam. Böszörmény was the center of the Nyírség Muslims. The village was destroyed during the Mongol Invasion. It was repeopled in the 12th and 13th centuries and became a part of the Debrecen domain between 1290 and 1322. The town became market-town in 1325. It received the "oppidium" title in 1410, under the reign of King Zsigmond.
As the part of the Debrecen domain it passed into the property of György Brankovics, then the Hunyadis and later, at the beginning of the 16th century the Báthori family. The development of the town was blocked after 1552, when the Turkish Empire occupied Hungary. The famous structure of the settlement practically took shape by the 15th century. Later the hajdús (heyducks) took it over and applied to the newer requirements of the military town.
The prefix "Hajdú" in the name of Hajdúböszörmény relates to a herdsman ethnical group, that evolved in the last decades of the 15th century according to the large-scale stockfarming and trading. Beside the shepherding these people were experts in handling of weapons as well. At the end of the 15th century their position became critical because of the law on cow-export. The hajdús were in danger existentially and didn't want to fall back into serf-position, so they organized their irregular troops. At the beginning they were only shepherds, but they gradually became herdsmen-soldiers and from the second half of the 16th century the name hajdú definitely meant a soldier profession.
They played their most important historical role in the war of independence by the side of István Bocskai. Their participation in this fight determined not only the outcome of the revolt but the future of the hajdús as well. After winning the fight at Álmosd Bocskai settled down the hajdús and with his Charta he raised them into the nobility on the 12nd of December 1605. Beside the ennoblement he donated lands like Kálló, Nánás, Dorog, Varjas, Hadház, Vámospércs, Sima, Vid, but Böszörmény.
Because the hajdús were in permanent fight with the austrian imperial army, Gábor Báthori, the Prince of Transylvania settled them from Kálló to Böszörmény with his new Charta on the 13th of September 1609. When the hajdús moved in Böszörmény, the social and economic life of the town changed radically. The town got out of the feudal dependence, but in return for the priviliges its inhabitants had to serve as soldiers. At the end of the 17th century, when their privileges were in danger, the hajdútowns became allies. They established the Hajdú District, and Böszörmény became the residence of the district. With the decrease of the military importance a change in the lifestyle took place in the town. The former soldier-hajdúfarmers developed into peasant-citizens.
With the commanding of Gábor Sillye, the Commissioner of the Hajdú District the descendants of the hajdús played a great role in the fights of the revolution in 1848-49. After the Hungarian-Austrian Settlement of 1867 the Hajdú District was expanded in territory and thus formed into Hajdú County in 1876, and Debrecen became the center of it. Because of the low level capitalist development in the industry and trade the economic structure of the town remained agrarian in the second half of the 19th century. The society of Hajdúböszörmény stratified further. Capitalist citizens and industrial workers appeared beside the prosperous peasantcitizens, smallholders and landless people.
The two world wars caused huge casualties and big damages in the buildings of the town. After the 2nd world war the co-operation in the agriculture, and then the settling of industry in the 1960-70s transformed the structure and the aspect of the society of Hajdúböszörmény.
The famous town-structure of Hajdúböszörmény is originated in the far past. It is the most beautiful example of the two-inner-sited, also named sty-gardened or gardened settlement-type, which is a product of the unique lifestyle on the Hungarian Great Plain (Alföld).
Even nowadays this kind of settlement can be considered as modern. The dwelling-house and the scene of the agricultural activity were separated in space because of military-defensive and agricultural reasons. These kinds of settlements were divided in three parts. The fortified church stood in the geometrical centre of the town and it was surrounded by the densely built up inner town. This centre was also surrounded by agricultural gardens. Each house in the centre had a garden, which served as scene of the agricultural activity. The horses and the kettles were kept in the garden, the agricultural products as well, and the agricultural work was also done here.
The Hajdú valiants, settled here in 1609, inherited the bases of this settlement structure, but they made practical alterations on it because of defensive reasons. They fortified the inner town with moat and palisade and they took great care of maintaining them. They also fortified the four gates located on the roads leading out of the town. The hajdúfarm was built on the trinity of the inner site, the garden and the parcels in the outskirts. Inside this trinity the possessing of the inner site had a great importance in legal aspect.
When the military importance of the Hajdúság ceased in the 18th century and the country was liberated from the Turkish reign, the structure of the settlement was modified. By the side of the moat, between the inner town and the gardens, as the moat was being gradually banked up a new area took form with its narrow sites. The line of the former moat is indicated nowadays by the inner ring-road. The garden-area began to get populated as well. As the population grew, gradually more houses were built in each garden. Lanes made it possible to open them in architectural sense, to make them accessible. A part of these lanes were converted in streets, but a good part of them remained the petrified witness of the earlier alterations in the settlement structure.
The granges in the outer areas gradually took the function of the gardens over in the 19th century. This way the granges could fit organically in the structure of the town. Most of the grange-buildings belonged to a house in the town.
In the second half of the 19th century the expansion of the residential area reached the edge of the former garden-area and by dividing new sites beyond it. A new element of the town-structure appeared, the "new division" and at the same time the outer ring-road took form as well. Hereby the traditional structure of the town reached the utmost limits of the possibilities hidden in it.
The vineyards fitting directly to the town provided the opportunities for the further expansion. The two lucerne-fields and the oat-field near the town, that were parcelled out in the first half of the 19th century, played the same part. These gardens can't be mixed up with the sty-gardens as regards their functions, though they have also been converted into residential area these days. The allotment of the parcels here indicates that originally the area had a basicly different function.
There were several confessions living together in Hajdúböszörmény through centuries. The first documents are about the Roman Catholics. The papal tithe-memorandum of 1332-37 lists our town among the larger settlements, it had a parson and a church.
Because of the expansion of protestantism the catholic church was forced back. There was even a period when there was no catholic parsonage in the Hajdú-towns. Later the roman catholic church got strong again. The church on the Újvárosi street was built in 1863. The olders of the inhabitants still use the expression "russian side" which meant those streets where the greek catholics lived in majority. In Hajdúböszörmény there are a lot of greek catholics in comparison with the number of the population. They built several churches, which shows the strength and the greatness of their confession. The two-towered church was built in 1893, though it remained just in parts because it had to be pulled down in 1983. The new building was consecrated in 1988.
Our town is a characteristically calvinist settlement. At the last official count of population, when the religious affiliation was asked as well, 25.000 inhabitants declared themselves reformed. The community had a priest even before settling the hajdús. The town and the Protestant Grammar School gave a lot of talents to the Hungarian church history (Dezso~ Baltazár - bishop of our region, Imre Bertalan - bishop of the Hungarians living in America, Kálmán Göndöcz - bishop in Canada, Mihály Bucsay - church historian). The church on the Bocskai square got its shape in 1882 and the other one on the Kálvin square was consecrated in 1899.
The first documents about the local jews originated from the beginning of the 19th century. The synagogue on the Kassa street was built in 1863. There were 653 victims of the Holocaust in Hajdúböszörmény. The first note about the baptist confession is from 1887. Their bethel was built in 1895. The Baptist Asylum was built in 1910. There are several smaller churches working in our town like the Seventh Day Adventist Church, the Belief Congregation, the Jehova's Wittnesses.
The environs of our town are geographically located at the Tiszai Alföld where more smaller areas come together. Several outskirts of the town belong to the Nyírség and the Hortobágy. The Hajdúság is a region extending in length in the direction of North-South and its area is 1500 squarekilometres. It adjoins the Nyírség in the East, the plain of the Hortobágy in the West and the Kõrös region in the South. The highest parts of the Hajdúság lay South-South East from our town (their height above the sea is 140-166 metres). The surface gradually descendes from here in the direction of North and South. Its lowest parts lay in South-West, their height above the sea is 80-86 metres. There were two surface-forming components participating in shaping the ground. These were the aggradation work of the Arch-Tisza and the wind.
There are more natural areas and nature preserves of local importance in our town and in its outer areas. The western corner of the outer area in the direction of Újszentmargita is a part of the Hortobágy National Park (Bagota puszta). The forests in the East are considered as the continuation of the Debrecen Nagyerdõ. It has many parts like town forest, inner forest, Peresi forest etc. The number of the parts reflecting the original natural state unfortunately has decreased because of the industrylike silviculture. They were replaced with forests containing alien species (white acacia and red oak were dragged in), with poplars planted in neat rows and with black pine unfamiliar to the region. The exceptions are the old oak forest on some hectares and the three nature preserves of the forest.