The city is located in Csongrád County, near the Romanian border.
The centre of the town is represented by Szechenyi (Secheny) Square where three main roads meet: the one that comes from Szeged, Arad (Romania) and Hodmezovasarhely. In ancient times, men wearing elegant black clothes used to gather in this square and while they were drinking nonalcoholic drinks, they were discussing both about country matters and personal problems. Long time ago, this was the location where important political meetings took place, but besides these, there were also markets held three times a week for the local agricultural producers and five times a year for the craftsmen.
Nowadays, here can be also found the ”Korona” (The Crown) Restaurant (Syechenyi Square no.10), the most attractive eclectic building of Mako town. This building was constructed in 1855 as an inn according to the architect Ferdinand Koczka’s plans. The inn has gone through many stages of development along the 200 years of existence. In 1905 the inn was rebuilt and it was improved with a hotel. Nowadays the restaurant houses not only festive events (on the ground floor in the restaurant part), bur literary meetings as well (on the first floor in the conference hall) . There, on the corner of the restaurant rises Mihaly Fatyol’s Statue, the gipsy prime- violonist of the restaurant band. He played together with the band from 1945 to1979.
In the square in front of the restaurant stands the Heroes’ Memorial, which was erected in the memory of the heroes of Mako who died in the First World War. The memorial, which represents a brave man supporting a wounded soldier, is the creation of sculptor Janos Pasztor, a citizen of Hodmezovasarhely, and it was inaugurated on 29th September 1929.
In the south-west part of Korona Restaurant an onion-flower fountain can be seen. You are allowed to park your car there and the stroll can begin.
It’s worth visiting the Town Hall (Szechenyi Square no.22) that originally was the seat of Csanad (Chenad) county. This monumental building was constructed in 1780 in clasical style according to József Verdics’plans and in 1839 was rebuilt this time according to Antal Giba’s plans. The building has been housing many events along the years and since 1879 it has been the residence of many important people from Mako beginning with Cornelia Hollosy and finishing with József Lonovics, the prefect of the town. After entering the building the first thing that you encounter is the Town Hall’s Gallery, where all kind of exhibitions are organized.
There is Lajos Kossuth’s Statue in the front park, made of sculptor Ede Kallos originally from Hodmezovasarhely and inaugurated on 24th September 1905. This statue was able to be erected from Mako people’s donations due to their esteem and respect for this honorable man.
Opposite the Town Hall, on the corner can be seen the most attractive historical building of Mako that was the old Savings Bank of the town.
If you walk forward near the Town Hall on Megyehaz Street, you can reach to “Attila József” Museum (Megyehaz Street no.4) (tel.62/213-540). The monotonicity of the façade is broken by the sculptural work of Imre Varga and the funeral wooden columns receive a new interpretation here. This masterpiece draws attention not only on the ethnographic features of the museum, but also symbolizes the importance of man’s agricultural work: the hard work of an onion producer, setting off for a daily work, represented by the wheel of a wheelbarrow, the daily work-by driving rod of a water mill, harvesting-by the vessel for collecting grapes, the end of the hard day-by setting sun and rising moon. The memorial columns underline the time passing. One column has the following inscription carved in it: LIFE IS SHORT. In 2008 a new permanent exhibition, called ”Difficult Centuries”, was opened for the public on the top floor. Here you can discover the history of Mako beginning with repopulation in 1699 and finishing with the fall off the communist policy in 1989. You can also see here an original model of Ford-T car model, created by József Galamb.
In the yard of the museum you can admire a traditional ancient house from this part of the country with all its original equipments, the forger’s and cartwrighter’s workshops, all kind of tools characteristic for provincial towns of the early 20th century, a barn and other ancient machineries for harvesting dating back to that century.
The Espersit House is near the museum (Kazinczy street no.6) which is a place for literary exhibitions organized by the museum. This house, built in 1898 in eclectic style, received the name of Mako’s well-known lawyers Janos Espersit. The exhibition presents the circle of friends supporting Attila József and adhering to views related to the events of 1848, Gyula Juhasz’s and Ferenc Mora’s ties with Mako and also the beginning of Attila József’s career as a poet.
Now we must return in the centre of Mako. Going in the opposite direction, we discover the bust of the journalist József Pulitzer, the work of the sculptor Jeno Kiss. József Pulitzer was born in 1847.When he was 17 years old, he left for U.S.A. where he succeeded in building up his own journalistic empire. The famous Pulitzer Prize, received by the world’s best journalists, was named after him. The Town Hall together with the National Hungarian Journalists Union decided to offer a smaller type of this prize to the young journalists.
The bust of Tamas Navay was made by the sculptor Andras Lapis. Tamas Navay (1815-1879) was the deputy of Csanad (Chenad) County in the parliament in the reformation period of Hungary, then sub-prefect and since 2nd May 1848 he became a prefect.
The Statue of Lajos Dobsa is the creation of the sculptor Gyongy Lantos, originally from Csongrad (Chiongrad). Lajos Dobsa (1824-1902) was a dramatist, publicist and newspaper editor in Mako and also the deputy of the town in the parliament.
Joszef Galamb, who was born in 1881 in Mako, also has statue here. After receiving his engineer degree, he left to U.S.A. and he became engineer in the famous car factory Ford. He played a very important role in planning of Ford-T car model, well-known around the world.
The east part of the town finishes with the old Town Hall (Szechenyi Square no.6), that was built in romantic style between 1854-1859, according to architect Ferdinand Koczka’s plans who was originally from Szolnok.
The building is separated from the old Mansion of the town by a narrow street (Szechenyi Square no.8) . This one was built in neo-baroque style in1927 and it’s the most representative mansion of the town. Around this building, under the ledge you can see Europe’s second largest swallow colony.
Behind the mansion, in Makovecz Square you can find “Hagymatikum” Spa Centre, the first fountain of which was dug in 1956 with 91 degree Celsius water temperature. According to National Institution of Public Health, the water of the spa is an alkaline, carbohydrated water and it contains a lot of organic substances, salt and fluorine. In 1988 this thermal water was classified medical water by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. Ever since then the old swimming pool has developed increasingly and has become an important spa centre in this part of Hungary, offering high quality services. Nowadays “Hagymatikum” Spa Centre has been reconstructed according to Imre Makovecz’s plans, the famous Hungarian architect, partisan of organic architecture, rewarded with Kossuth Prize. The water of “Hagymatikum” Spa Centre can be successfully applied in the treatment of patients with joints and rheumatic problems.
From the town centre we head towards Csanad (Chenad)Vezer Square, named after the old county. Saint Gellert’s legend says that Gods have commanded to Saint Stephen (Szent Istvan), the brave army leader, that the area must be called Csanad (Chenad). The monumental Statue of King Saint Stephen riding the horse is Jeno Kiss’ and Lajos Gyorfi’s masterpiece.
Walking further on we get to “Attila József” Highschool, built in 1895. Attila József himself has studied here for three years and also Gyula Juhasz, poem writer, has taught in this institution.
An outstanding “memorial plaque” was built in the asphalt of the sidewalk near the high school in the memory of the poet Attila József, precisely the cover of his first volume of poems “The Beggar of Beauty” cast in ore.
The Memorial of the Second World War is located in front of the high school. The soldier leaning on a Cross rises in honor of the soldiers and citizens of Mako who lost their lives in this war, with their names displayed on an arched wall. The Monument of 1956 was established behind this memorial.
There is the Bishop’s residence and chapel next to the high school which was constructed at Bishop Laszlo Koszeghy’s initiative in 1826 in classical style.
On the other side of the high school you can notice another interesting building, the Sport Centre, built according to the famous Imre Makovecz’s plans (the architect of the Spa Centre).
Walking further on you reach the Bus Station of the town, another Imre Makovecz’s masterpiece, constructed in the same fantastic organic style.
The Orthodox Synagogue (tel.06.30/389-0613) is situated on the street opposite to the high school.
Here ends your walk in the centre of Mako, so you should return to the place we started, Korona (Crown) Restaurant.
Your journey through the town centre, through Posta (Post) street and Hunyadi Street brings you to the ancient town district of Mako, or Szentlorinc as it used to be known, where people of Calvinist religion lived. Posta (Post) street was opened in1924. Four years later the Post-Office, with its decorated pediment, was built in Neo-Baroque style.
The “Hagymahaz” (Onion House) Cultural House, which was designed by Imre Makovecz, stands on the left. The auditorium contains 390 seats inside and in the open-air with a possibility of 3000 seats, a double usage stage (inside and outside), a podium hall, a café and offices. Just as in the Hungarian folk stories, the sky is supported by a massive tree; here the ceiling of the hall is also supported by a branching wooden column. It appears as a church of the Christian cultural community and the spirituality of the ancient Calvinist church of Mako appears again restored to life by its white walls, the tower and the four bastions. The bust of Antal Pager, unveiled in the hall in 1999, was created by Imre Suranyi.
Strolling along Hunyadi Street you reach to the ancient Calvinist Church, built in 1774. Since the resettlement of the town, this area was the centre of the Calvinist district of the town. From 1790 to 1927 the church was surrounded by a brick wall with bastions at its four corners.
In 1820, a school was built, in classical style, near the church (Kalvin street no.7) that remained a monument and in 1927-a Calvinist Boys School, nowadays known as the Kalvin Square School.
If you walk along the Kalvin Street towards national road 43, you reach Szeged Street. There is the Onion Monument with a slim flagpole on a beautiful lawn in the middle of the traffic circle. This monument was made by Ferenc Suto and it’s the place where on national and town holidays, the country flag, the European and town flags fly in the wind.
If you go back towards the centre of the town, you pass by the old Calvinist Girls School, today known as “Bela Bartok” Musical Elementary School. There is Imre Varga’s statue of Bela Bartok in front of the school. The original variant of this statue was inaugurated in Paris.
Back to Korona (Crown) Restaurant, you must take the car to continue the visit of the town.
From Szeged street, if you go on Arpad street you reach Bujak district where Catholics used to live. Here is also King Saint Stephen’s Square (Szent Istvan ter) with the Catholic Church that has the same name (tel.06.62/211/116).The church was constructed in baroque style and it was sanctified in 1772. The main picture above the altar, dating back to the year 1854, represents King Saint Stephen offering the crown to Virgin Mary and it is Emler Beneventura’s masterpiece (Australian painter). The oldest statue of Mako, representing Virgin Mary, stands in the churchyard.
In the north, the square ends with the old Catholic Boys School, constructed in neo-baroque style. This school exists even today and it’s called Szent Istvan (Saint Stephen) Catholic School and High School.
Apaffi Street takes you to Kalvaria Street where you find the Catholic cemetery. The monument chapel from the cemetery was built in classical style in honor of Szent Anna (Saint Ann). If you turn left after going out, you reach the ancient holy place of the town called “Kalvaria Domb” (Kalvaria Hill). Kalvaria Chapel is also situated on this hill. It was constructed in baroque style and it’s an ancient sacred place where Catholic people used to come and pray during Turkish invasions.
The first development of the town took place in the second half of the 13th century when a member of the Csanad (Chenad) family was the landlord of the territory where Mako lies today. In that period a lot of small villages came closer to this area. In the 14th-15th century Mako came to life after the fusion of these small, populated areas and the newly formed location went through many development stages. In the 15th century Mako became the trade centre of agricultural products in this part of Hungary.
In the year 1552 Mako was burned down by the Tatar armies, but the town would rise from its own ashes in short time.
The second destruction of the town took place in the year 1596 when, the leader of the Tatar people from Temesvar together with his army, set fire to the town and destroyed the church, the parish house, the town hall, the archives, including the seal of the town.
If we think of all the negative experiences of this town, we must mention the most tragic one that happened in1686 when the Tatar-Turkish armies from Szeged areas devastated everything behind them. They burned down the entire town without any compassion and they banished the local defenceless people.
In the year 1695 a French cartographer wrote about Mako that it doesn’t exist anymore, it’s unpopulated and there could be seen only a few shepherd’s campfires in the dark.
The forming operation of nowadays’ Mako has started in the year 1699.
Since 18th century the characteristic onion of Mako has been established, with its unique flavor, long shelf life, bone-white flesh, red-bronze skin and high solid content, it has become a popular product.