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The city of Tatabanya is located in Hungary, 55 km west of Budapest,next to motorway M1 and the international railway line between Budapest and Vienna.
Tatabánya was founded in 1947 by the unification of four settlements: Alsógalla, Bánhida, Felsőgalla and Tatabánya.
In the 16th century the region was occupied by Turkey. After liberation from Turkey in late 17th century, the decreased population size was compensated with German and Slovak settlers.
In 1785, there were 2566 people living in the three villages of Alsógalla, Bánhida and Felsőgalla.
A fundamental change of the three settlements and their neighborhood was brought about by the appearance of coalmining at the end of the 19th century. It has totally changed the previous life and image of the settlements. Development of mining brought forth appearance of a separate settlement of Tatabánya in 1902. The economic boom brought about changes in population, life-style, buildings and cultural life of the city.
When the workers’ colonies were formed, the former settlements were almost joined. Their unification was justified by both economic and administrative reasons. The nationalization of mines accelerated that process. By 1947, when Tatabánya became a city after the unification of four villages, it was already an outstanding Hungarian center of mining and heavy industry.
However, by the middle of the 20th century coal reserves of the old Tatabánya coalfield were exhausted and the mines were closed. Moreover, establishment of market economy called for structural changes in the local economy. The local government answered those challenges by conceptual city-development policy, planned economic development and an active involvement of the citizens. It resulted in rejuvenation of the local economy. Several companies and factories settled in Tatabánya, thousands of jobs were created, and now Tatabánya is referred to as one of the most dynamically developing cities in Hungary.
After political change in 1989 a new political and economic environment was established. Closure of mines and collapse of heavy industry caused severe difficulties in Tatabánya. Therefore, the aim of the economic development policy of the city was to establish a firm and diverse economic structure. That policy was first of all based on the settlement of labor-intensive production so that the unemployment rate would be reduced significantly. As a result of successful and continuous structural changes there are new technologies presented in the city by now along with research and development sectors. The local government also paid great attention to the housing, sports and recreational facilities in order to develop Tatabánya as a city which offers both workplaces and a good standard of living.
During the 20th century the city and its pre-settlements created many cultural values. The oldest cultural institution, the Népház (Public Building), has been housing a theatre, a cinema and several cultural groups since its inauguration (1917). The Jászai Mari Theatre has been operating in this building since 1991. The building has just been renovated. There are several community centers to accommodate local communities; the biggest of them is the Public Community Centre (Közművelődés Háza), which was inaugurated in the 80’s.
Apart from cultural institutions there are several sport facilities in Tatabánya (swimming pool, ice-skating rink, sports hall, camping site etc.). All these institutions provide cultural, sports and recreational opportunities for the citizens of Tatabánya.
Various exhibitions of the Gallery of Contemporary Artists play a significant role in the development of visual culture. Amongst others the annual “In Memoriam” series and exhibitions of the emigrated artists of the city have to be emphasized. The system of the big city festivals has been developed recently.
Places of interest
Tatabánya is a young city. Therefore, it has only a few old buildings to show to its visitors.
The Roman Catholic Church in Alsógalla and the Roman Catholic Church of Felsőgalla are typical monuments of the late baroque age. The Roman Catholic Vicarage of Bánhida is another example of a baroque style in architecture. It was constructed upon the former temple of the 18th century.
One of the most significant sights of Tatabánya is the Turul Monument. It represents a legendary bird Turul and is situated on the peak of the hill over the city. The Turul Bird was also incorporated into the new coat of arms of Tatabánya as the symbol of the city after political changes.
Besides that, the unique monuments of 110 years of mining attract tourists’ attention.
Areas of cooperation between twin-cities
The agreement on economical, trade and cultural cooperation between the cities of Izhevsk (the Udmurt Republic, the Russian Federation) and Tatabanya (the Republic of Hungary) was signed on December 10, 1992.
The principal areas of cooperation:
- Annual exchange of schoolchildren groups during summer vacation;
- Cooperation between the Izhevsk State Technical University and the Tatabanya school of economy;
- Exchange of experiences in local self-government;
- Exchange of the universities’ students and professors;
- Conducting joint conferences;
- Exchange of experiences between representatives of the cities’ businesses.
The additional areas of the cooperation:
- Exchange of creative teams;
- Exchange of sports delegations;
- Organization of photo exhibitions.