The material from the
Copper and the Bronze Age was preserved by Bálint Kuzsinszky
for the succeeding generations. Sickles, Saw-blades, arms
and jewels were found at Kiliti and in Szigeti baulk. In
Vadkacsás baulk of Széplak 110 urn graves were discovered.
At the Iron Age -at
around 350 B.C.- came Celtic people to this area and it was
under their rule that the use of iron got wide-spread.
Traces of a Celtic settlement and silver coins were found on
the eastern edge of Szigeti baulk, close to the Jewish
cemetery. (Dr. Károly Sági archeologist, Keszthely).
A new chapter started
with the Roman occupation in the history of Trans-Danubia.
In order to defend the southern military roads, establishing
the Province of Pannonia, towns and roads became vitally
Roman conquest got to
the surroundings of our present town of Siófok in the 1st
century A.D. and this is the region where the road from
Sopianae (Pécs) lead across Tricciana (Ságvár) to Arrabona (Gyor).
According to the notes made by Sectus Aurelius Victor in the
turn of the 3rd-4th century Emperor Galerius had a dike
built and made some forests cleared in order to drain the
moor-land of "Lacus Pelso" -it is the Latin name for
Balaton- in 292 A.D. He named the whole region after his
One can read in the
deed of endowment of Tihany dated 1055, after the Hungarian
conquest, i.e. in the first Hungarian sporadic literary
remains of the language, the following sentence:
..."Rivulus namque, qui dicitur Fok fluens"....
It means: "The small brook called Fok also springs from the
lake mentioned above and is located where people can go
across an ancient bridge and a ford, too...."
That is to say Fok is
not mentioned as a village in the original deed of endowment
despite the fact that the word "river" refers to the village.
(Dr. László Erdélyi: Questionable deeds of the Abbey of
Tihany, HAS, 1909.)
Sources of reference
from the 11th-14th centuries mention seven settlements in
the surroundings of our present town of Siófok, along Fok,
or as it is called today Sió: Holovogy, Losta, Töreki,
Kiliti, Fok, Igám and Jód. As to these last two settlements,
only their names have remained in the name of some baulks or
Based on these
descriptions, one can assume that two settlements might be
the same: Holovogy estate close to the ford in the ancient
times and the village of Fok was settled on the same
location later on. The village of Losta was settled on one
of the isles of Siófok, along the brook Fok in the Age of
The name of the
village Fok appears among the tax-paying settlements first
in 1137, while the compound word of Siófok has been known
After the devastations
caused by the Mongols Fok was reconstructed and a parish was
also established there. Its church was consecrated to Peter
and Paul. Until the Turkish conquest it was the district
seat of the archdeacon.
In 1541 the Turkish
invadors kept moving forward and after having seized
Szigetvár they reached Lake Balaton. In 1552 Veszprém was
also occupied and Fok along with its surroundings got also
taken up. Siófok was turned into a naval port and a
fortification was erected here. Besides the commandant of
town two "aghas of the navy" were also resided here. The
Turkish fortification was established near the present
hospital on the "Hill of Granarium". (According to unwritten
tradition, not approved by archeology.)
The country-side was
liberated from the Turkish yoke in 1688. Fok got into the
possession of the collegiate church who installed settlers
there and in 1693 had a wooden church built for the
During Rákóczi's fight
for freedom Bottyán the Blind's famous Sió-line stretched
here and the final headstone was the fortification of
Siófok. The fortification was constructed on the location of
the fromer Turkish fortification, according to the French
staff engineer, De la Reviere's project.
In 1705 Ferenc Rákóczi
II donated the village of Fok a seal serving today as a
basis for the present coat of arm.
In 1709, after
Bottyán's death the "labanc" armies (nickname of
pro-Austrian soldiers during the 18th century Hungarian wars
of independence) managed to capture the settlement.
In 1717, in a contract
concluded with the collegiate church of Veszprém, the
inhabitants of Fok managed to get the lease-holder status.
The parish church of
Baroque style consacrated to the Immaculate Conception of
the Blessed Virgin was erected in 1736.
In the course of the
18th century before the blotting paper came into general use,
the fine sand of the shore at Siófok had been used as
writing-sand. Piling up fine quicksand was the occupation of
young girls and wives of Siófok.
The settlement started
to develop as of the years of the 1800s. The
Transylvania-Adria speed mail coach reached Siófok as of
1810. (Note: since 1867 an independent post-office
administration and since 1946 a state post-office has been
operating at Siófok).
The 19th century was
an important period in the regulation of water-ways. In 1810
Joseph, the palatine of Hungary appointed Joseph Beszédes to
accomplish the works of regulating the water-ways of Sárvíz.
The works of Sió Water-system completed between 1810-1825 on
the southern shore of Lake Balaton are as follows:
1. The mill of Fok was
pulled down (It burnt down in 1812 and it was not restored
2. Sió bed was cleaned out.
3. The mills were adjusted.
4. the water-level of Lake Balaton fell one metre thus
51.000 acres of dry land were gained.
5. By regulating Sió brook 6.000 acres of dry land were
The epidemy of cholera
hit the settlement in 1831.
In 1842 the
Association for the Regulation of the Balaton Water was
established which buyed and pulled down the mill and dam of
Kiliti, being the biggest obstacles to water regulation. By
the falling water level another 6.000 acres were gained.
In the life of the
settlement an important change was brought by the foundation
of the Steamboating Incorporation of Balaton under the life
presidence of Earl Széchenyi in compliance with the rules of
association made by Lajos Kossuth in 1846. The
paddle-steamer named Kisfaludy was launched on water on
September 21. Ádám Clark and József Beszédes took part at
the ceremony among others.
In the 1850s the area
of Siófok having belonged to Somogy County, got annexed to
Veszprém. The border was split by Sió brook.
In 1858 started the
construction of the railway between Buda and Nagykanizsa
which was opened to the public in 1861.
The railway embankment
having started in 1858 also contributed to the stabilization
of the southern shore as filling up the banks of the railway
formed a real dam against the spring inundations. The
construction of the Southern railway started with an
extremely low water-level. It was thought that a bank of 88
cm high would offer safety against inundation. The higher
water levels in the years to come damaged the banks several
times: this is the way how the "Southern Railway Sociatey"
got a leading part in regulating the lake.
On June 16, 1862,
János Michel director on behalf of the railway offered to
accomplish the regulation works with his own engineers in
compliance with the projects of the Draining Association at
the meeting on Füred presided by Earl Zichy jr., government
commissioner. The chancellary gave instructions even in the
same year to construct Sió-Dike that was opened on October
25, 1863. The plans of the construction were provided by
George Türk, engineer of Kéthely. The main goal with the
dike was to lower the water level by at least one metre as
compared to the minimum level of December, 1862. (104.096 m
A.F. It is the "0" point of Siófok water measure even today.)
The dike was in
operation with larger and smaller reparations by 1891 when
the Board of Agriculture made a new, iron dike constructed
instead of the old, decayed wooden dike in 1893.
At Siófok the railway
station got finished in 1863 and by 1864 the harbour
defended by breakwaters was also completed. The year of 1863
is considered to be the year of birth of Siófok as a holiday
The year of 1865 is a
remarkable anniversary in the history of Siófok as the
settlement of not more than 200 houses and 1500 inhabitants
was permitted to make country market thus it got the rank of
In 1866 was published
the first announcement titled "Siófok, Bathing Resort of
Balaton" in Zala-Somogy Gazette. Ignác Végh leaseholder
concluded an agreement with the collegiate church of
Veszprém on a 12-year rent of bathing-place which was
extended for another 12 years.
titled "Hungarian Sea" was constructed in 1878 according to
the plans of Neuschlass constructing company, in the Swiss
style. The bathing-house had a richly ornamented facade, a
parlour for 100 persons, 80 bathing-boxes, a storied
belvedere and large windows opening to the water.
The collegiate church
of Veszprém started dividing the "estates of ebbing" into
lots. That is how the present holiday resort started
developing. It marks the fascinating and inspiring beauty of
the landscape that the majority of the first villa-owners
were painters, like Mór Than, Pál Vágó, Tivadar
Feledi-Flesch (Mihály Zichy's son-in-low), Arthur Tölgyessy.
In 1888 it was Gábor
Baross who granted a state loan to the reorganization of the
Steamboating Incorporation of Balaton. Steamboat Kelén was
launched on water in 1889 and renamed Baross in 1891. Helka
and the new Kelén got finished also that year.
The concern called
Siófok, Resort on Balaton established in April, 1891, bought
up the bathing licence from the collegiate church as well as
a 60-acre moorland necessary for constructing buildings and
parks. The soggy and shrubby land was backfilled with earth.
The head of the concern, Henrik Glatz (1884-1905) was the
founder of Franklin Literature and Press Incorporation.
Some major hotels were
constructed at that time: Sió and Hullám and later the
Central Hotel. The new resort was opened with a gala
ceremony on July 18, 1893. It was on that occasion that the
Minister of Inner Affairs gave permission to use the name of
"spa". Part of this soothing atmosphere was the theatre life
of Siófok starting in 1875 that attracted great
personalities of the time.
The hyppodrome was
constructed in 1900 with its grand-stands for 1500 people
and the targets of the Balaton cross-swimming race were also
set here. The swimming and tennis concours held each year
also added to the richness of the summer events at Siófok.
Due to its busy resort life, Siófok became a popular spa for
artists, actors and the upper-middle class of Budapest
(Karinthy, Krúdy, Latabár).
At the end of the
World War II the settlement was badly damaged. The
front-line lasting here for two months destroyed or damaged
a number of buildings, villas, hotels, family houses, the
ship-yard. By destroying the road and railway bridge it made
the reconstruction works extremely difficult. After 1948 the
settlement started to develop in another direction.
Siófok became the
centre for holidays organized by companies and trade unions.
Its reconstructed summer houses, hotels and the new
canalization, sewage system the new water works have made
the site the biggest and most important resort receiving
crowds of people every summer.
Since 1950 the
settlement has been belonging to Somogy County and has
become a seat of district rank.
It was in 1955 when
the cult of Imre Kálmán started. the Tourism Office placed a
memorial tablet on the house of the district's great
Tourism started to
develop in 1958 since when foreigners have been returning.
In 1962 started the construction of the hotel line and by
the mid-sixties the pride of "Silver Coast", the Hotel for
International Journalists was completed too. Services
meeting with the demands of the site have also been
On December 29, 1968,
Ferenc Jankó, president of the town committee took over the
deed of town rank set forth in the decision No. 20/1968 NET
by the Presidential Council.
The 400-bed hospital
was inaugurated. The education started developing.
The 70s were the years
of rapid development. The construction of the infrastructure
of town was almost finished. The Cultural Centre and the
library was opened to the public in 1976. At the beginning
of the 80s the town started to build up its international
relationships and to improve its connections with fraternal
In 1988 the local
paper "Siófok News" was established.
New bridges were built across Sió for the traffic. In 1989
Sió TV started to transmit its programmes. This institute is
the first local television with open transmission.
The "Society for
Preserving and Decorating the Town of Siófok" was given the
Water Tower, symbol of town for three years on the
ground-floor of which an exhibition has been installed.
As a result of the
local elections in 1990, an 18-member board of
representatives governed the town. The Mayor was Árpád
Molnár and the Notary was Dr. Tamás Pongor.
The town keeps
developing. BALATEL has settled a long-lasting problem of
the inhabitants and visitors by setting up a new telephone
In 1994 as a result of
the second local elections a 17-member board of directors
started to rule the town. The Mayor is Dr. Árpád Balázs.
From 1995 to 1997 the Notary was Dr. Ildikó M. Horváth.
Owing to the
management profiting well from the endowments of the site,
today it is one of the towns the operation of which is not
threatened, on the contrary, it shows steady development.
The school network has
been enlarged. Besides the basic requirements, education is
also supported: in addition to the 8 kinder-gardens, 4
elementary schools, 3 secondary schools and the music school
in 1996 the local faculty of tourism economy of the College
János Kodolányi was launched here.
Today Siófok is one of
the most important tourist centre, as it is said: "Siófok is
the capital of Lake Balaton." It has been made capital by
its public transport of high level and its shallow shore
offering safe bathing to holiday-makers. Besides the mild
water of the lake visitors coming here may enjoy the
organized programmes and the Hungarian hospitality as well.
The town itself is an
open-air exhibition with its sculptures and monuments on
public squares. (Among others one of the greatest Hungarian
contemporary sculptor, Imre Varga who was born at Siófok,
exhibited his sculpture of Imre Kálmán, titled "Vanishing
In addition to the
historic buildings,some modern churches offer an exciting
sight by their queer architecture. Due to the development in
recent years the town has become a site of flowers and parks.
An outstanding park in town is the Millenium Park in front
of the railway station.
The town 106 kms far
from Budapest can be easily reached by rail, road or air
from every direction.