The history of Igal

Igal is the most significant settlement of Outer-Somogy. It’s outstanding role dates back to the Middle-Ages.

The  town’s  name  was  first  mentioned  in  1193  in  the  document  issued  to  the  Knights  of  Janos  (Johannites).  This  is  the  first  historical  proof  that  the  region  was  already  populated  much  earlier.  A  document  dating  back  to   1211  names  it as  a  village.  In  1272  the  palatine  donated  the  settlement  to  the  nunns  of  Rabbit  Island.
Two  hundred  years  later  the  settlement  was  mentioned  as  a  country – town.  During  the  Middle-Ages  the  town  was  under  the  protectorate  of  the  landlord,  not  fully  independent.  King  Matthias  donated  a  „letter  of  privileges”  to  Igal  and  a  permission  to  hold  four  nationwide  market  a  year.  During  the  Turkish  war  a  fortification  was  built around  the  town    (1632-1633).

In  1687  palatine  Eszterhazy    mentiones  in  his  records  that  the  town  was  taken  back  from  the  Turks.  The  Turkish  occupation  left  it’s  traces  on  the  town:  the  population  decreased  significantly  and  the  development  stagnated.  It  was  the  time  when  Igal  received  the  distinguished  name  of  „Haiduk  town”  commemorating  the  fact  that  the  town’s  men  participated  in  the  war  of  liberation.  The  flag  holding  armoured  arm  in  the  coat  of  Igal  also  refers  to  the  „haiduks”.  After  the  Turkish  occupation  the  domain  was    donated  to the  Batthany  family  but  later    when  the  family  fell  from  grace  it  was  confiscated  by  the  Hapsburgs.  Later  the  domain  was  donated  to  the  Berger  family  and  to  the  Veszprem   Episcopate.

During  the  freedom  fight  of  Princ  Rakoczi,  general  Vak  Bottyan  fought  a  bloody  battle  at  the  vicinity  of  Igal.  The  battle    ended  with  the  victory  of  the  labanc  (the  Hapsburgs)  and  hundreds  of  fallen  kuruc  (Hungarian  freedom  fighters)  remained  on  the  battle  field.  During  this  battle  many  town’s  people  became  a  victim  also,  the  town  suffered  severe  damage  and  the  church  which  was  built  in  1331  burned  to  the  ground.

The  fallen  people  (soldiers  and  civialians)  were  buried  in  a  common  grave  over  which  the  town  built  a  hill  and  named  it  a  Calvary  (  still  part  of   the  town).

After  the  freedom  fight  of  1848-49  the  town  developed  rapidly  until  1856  when  a  cholera  epidemic  broke  out  which  decimated  the  population.  Later  the  demography  improved  and  the  population  grew  substantially.  At  the  turning  of  the  century  dozens  of  people  (the  poorer  segment  of  the  population)  emigrated  to  the  New  World  (America)  and  supported  the  families  who  remained  behind.  During  the  two  world  wars    the  small  industry  and  commerce   improved  substantially  and  the  livestock  market attracted  people  from  all  over  of  the  country.

In  1948  the  MAORT  (Hungarian –American  Oil  Company)  was  drilling  for  oil  at  the  site  of  the  present  spa.  Instead  of  oil  a  81  degree  Celsius  hot  water  was  gushing  out  of  the  hundreds  of  meter  depth.  The  well  was  sealed  but  in  the  sixties  the  first  pool  was  built  (by  manual  labor  of  the  volunteer  towns  people).  The  spa  positively  effected  the  improvement  of  Igal  since  the  excellent  water  attracted  people  from  all  over  of  the  country.  More  than  hundred  thousand  people  visiting  the  spa  yearly  either  for  enjoyment  or  for  the  excellent  healing  properties  of  the  water.  The  tourism  also  improved,  hotels  and  restaurants  were  established  at  the  vicinity  of  the  spa  which also  providing  jobs  for  the  population.  Around  the  spa  numerous  beautiful  villas  were  built,  many  of  them  owned  by  Germans  who  favor the  region  for  the  gorgeous   scenery   and  certainly  for  the  quality  of  the  water.   Igal  became  an attraction  for thousands  of  people  who  return  regularly  or  prefer  to  have  their  homes  here  permanently.

End  of  this  summer   a  new  addition  will  be  built  at  the  spa  which  will provide  even  more  attractive  facilities.  The  ultimate  goal  is  to  build  a  hotel  within  the premises  of  the  spa  and  create  an  up  to  date   health  center  utilizing  the  healing  properties  of  the  water  which  is  very  high  in  Iodine  (also  Bromide  and  other  important  elements).

7275 Igal, Szent István utca 107. • +36 82/573-029 •