UNESCO és Világörökségi helyszínek Magyarországon logó

State Stud-Farm Estate of Mezőhegyes

The Imperial and Royal Stud-Farm Institute of Mezőhegyes was founded in 1784 by Joseph II, following the proposition of József Csekonics to replenish the diminished quantity of horses seen as the result of the monarchy’s wars and improve the quality of the stock. The most necessary buildings were completed within six months on the 18 127 hectare wasteland pasture for grazing horse breeding, starting with 194 stallions and 405 mares. Such traditional horse breeds originated from this farm as the Nonius, the Furioso-North Star and the Gidran.

Horse-breeding was not the sole purpose of the farm, it also served to establish and maintain breeding standards for other livestock species. The priority investment allowed for the simultaneous building of the whole structure of the stud-farm, the main components of which are the central establishment with its regular composition of buildings surrounded by gardens, a series of manors with smaller groups of buildings standing outside the central area, and the network of straight radial roads lined with trees connecting them to the center. The contemporary methods of land cultivation, the pastures, forest patches and fields today remain largely within their boundaries as established in the 18-19th century.

After the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, the estate became the property of the Hungarian treasury. The management of the farm and the herd was separated in 1872. The central stud yard and the outer stables were established within the estate. By the turn of the century, Mezőhegyes could boast with one of the largest and most modern agricultural complexes of Europe. Horse breeding and all of its supplementary branches were present in the large-scale farm. The estate had its own telephone, telegraph and narrow-gauge railway networks, as well as several industrial plants (hemp factory, sugar factory, woodworking and animal protein processing plant, mill, butchery, and distilleries for manufacturing alcohol). The estate also had its own churches, kindergartens, schools, hospital, pharmacy, and elderly care home. The development of the Mezőhegyes stud-farm was steady until World War II, during which the estate suffered serious losses. On January 1st, 1945, farming had to be restarted from an unprecedented low. The breeding of animals resumed in 1950, but the farm was only completely revived in the 1960s. The changes made during the 20th century affecting the estate structure can be seen most prominently in constructions catering to the quantitative needs of socialist large-scale economy, and the urbanization of the central area of the stud-farm.

Between 1785 and 1914, the stud-farm not only had a significant impact on Hungarian horse breeding – including military and race horses –, but also on contemporary landscaping and modern agricultural architecture. Thus, the architectural quality of the stud-farm estate is of outstanding value, a superior example of the Empire and the Historicism architectural styles applied in the design of the group of traditional agricultural buildings. The majority of the buildings to be presented on the site proposed for the World Heritage List were completed between 1785 and 1810, during the initial period of the foundation. Still intact today, the entire central building complex was built then: the building of the commander of the stables (1790), the southern barracks (around 1790), the central granary (1808), the dry mill (1788), the horse-herdsmen’s tavern (around 1806), the southern great triumphal arch (around 1790), the double officer’s quarters (around 1806), the northern great triumphal arch (around 1790), the northern representative barracks (1790), the central stable (1807), the covered riding hall (around 1810), and the horse-herdsmen’s quarters (1785).

The development of the estate also caused the growth of the manors connected with straight radial roads to the central area, where horse stables and granaries were built in a uniform style, but with unusual proportions. The site proposed for the World Heritage List includes not only the center of the estate, but some of the important buildings of the surrounding manors as well, so that beside the peculiarity of each individual building, the structure and the operation of the former stud-farm could also be showcased. Of the oat silo towers, a building type once characteristic to the wastelands and erected around 1830, only 7 are still standing today.