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Hungarian Pavilion - Expo Turin 1911

Hungarian Pavilion at the Exhibition Expo Turin 1911

The Hungarian pavilion is the most original building of the Exhibition; this would be enough, even if we disregard its aesthetic value, to draw all our attention to it. Built as a result of a competition between the country's best architects, it will be a novelty for the Hungarians themselves; they will find in it the architectural elements of Hungary of a thousand years ago, patiently exhumed from history and from museums to form a new modern style.

At first sight, the pointed, pyramidal tower looks like a large tent with a pointed roof, rather than a palace.
The impression is correct, for the architects, Mr. Emile Tory and Mr. Maurice Pogâny, really wanted to reproduce in their building a picture of the old Hungarian nomadic life.

Its contours, with large, strongly curved lines, evoke memories of the East. They are reminiscent of India and Persia; it is like an echo of distant centuries in an original and absolutely Hungarian picture.

The legendary Tatra Mountains, reproduced in the three hills of the Hungarian coat of arms, are symbolised here by three tents, the highest of which represents the royal tent. This is the tent of Atila, king of the Huns; in fact, on the façade, a bas-relief carved on large green sandstone slabs depicts the Wedding of Attila, while the other one which is opposite has as its subject the coronation of Saint Stephen, king of Hungary.

The entrance, covered by a copper helmet-shaped dome, guarded on the right and left by the ancient Hungarian warrior gods, is of a strange and powerful effect; it wonderfully conveys the mystical character of the great Eastern portals that have survived in Hungary.

From the entrance one passes into the central hall or festival gallery, built in the form of a cathedral nave, where a veiled light rains down from the high coloured stained glass windows of more than 60 small windows. These windows are the work of the painter Max Rôth. In the centre, a beautiful group representing Arts and Industries, by Maroti, already admired in Venice; opposite, the two busts of Franz Joseph, King of Hungary, and of Victor-Emmanuel III, works of the sculptor Edouard Telcs. The arches that run around the room are decorated in a varied and intense blue, made of primitive Hungarian elements: warrior ornaments, fabrics, embroideries, jewels, found in ancient tombs and reproduced here with an exquisite aesthetic sense and a rare patience. Artistic furniture adorns the living room, bronzes, carpets, tents, paintings with Hungarian subjects. The effect is bizarre and the artist has achieved his goal: he transports us to the heart of historical Hungary.

Beyond the two royal busts, passing between two streams of water, where the stream, falling from the skylights into basins of black enamelled plates and strewn with gold arabesques, produces a pleasant coolness, we arrive at the salon where the exhibition of the city of Budapest is located.

Budapest. - The capital of Hungary is made up of three different cities: O-Buda (Old Buda) dates back to Roman times. In 192 paintings and various albums exhibited here, we can note the development of the city since 1872, when the three cities of O-Buda, Buda and Pest, which were at first separate and often rivals, were united into one large commercial and industrial centre. Budapest has a million inhabitants; it is one of the great capitals of Europe and has resolutely faced the difficult problems of the modern city.

Vocational and industrial schools, workers' houses, a people's hotel, a people's house, a people's library - these are institutions which attest to the interest of the city in the solution of the most burning social questions. The widening of the streets of old Pest to give air and light to the old quarters, the municipalization of gas, the municipal oven, the municipal printing works, the large butcher shops for the poor classes, the central cooperative dairy, the Kâposztmegyer aqueduct, all of this makes Budapest one of the cities that the Municipal Commissions of the whole world prefer to visit and study.

Budapest is not only a large commercial market, but also, as many of us are unaware, a first-class spa resort, thanks to the salty thermal waters of Buda, St. Margaret's Island and the neighbouring settlements. In a few years, using its rugged location, Budapest will also be the city of gardens and flowers, a sort of Florence on the Danube, with cottage districts about to spring up on the northern slope of Mount Gerard.

The paintings of the city include the Mathias Church, a reproduction of a masterpiece from the time of Mathias Corvin; the five great bridges over the Danube; the paintings of the ruins of Acquincum, the Roman city; the prints of the Buda and Pest of the Middle Ages.

Industrial Hungary. - Leaving the Budapest Exhibition, let us walk through the two corridors of the central Hungarian pavilion reserved for industry.
Hungary, an eminently agricultural country, has devoted itself to industry for several decades. This phenomenon, identical to the one we are witnessing in Italy, has produced the best results for the country. The railway network, in order to cope with economic development, has increased from 2285 km. in 1867 to 20,262 in January 1910. Foreign trade has risen from 1690 million in 1885 to 3477 million in 1910. In the latter figure, imports are slightly higher than exports: 1798 against 1679 million crowns. Italy accounted for 50 million in purchases and 17 million in sales.

Foodstuffs: flour, alcohol, sugar, beer, were the most important products of Hungarian industry, with a total of 1,117 million crowns in 1906. Italy bought a considerable quantity of sugar and flour. Budapest's beer is mainly sold in the Orient.

Next comes metallurgy, the iron and metal industry, and mechanical engineering with a total value of 500 million crowns per year. Electrical engineering is also very developed, producing 16 million crowns per year. Italy buys machines and electrical appliances from Hungary.

Among the main industries are wood, charcoal, raw wood, half-finished wood, shelves, furniture, beautiful furniture in a simple and harmonious style, bentwood furniture; the leather industry, which has been renowned for a long time; the fabric industry, which, thanks to the support of the Government, rose from 52 million crowns in 1898 to 150 million in 1910.

Italy, which, in addition to the above-mentioned goods, also imports charcoal, processed wood and furniture, is also a client of Hungary for paper pulp. Hungary enjoys a privileged position in this branch of trade, thanks to the abundance of its forests, which supply more than 300,000 cubic metres of resinous plants.

The Royal Hungarian Trade Museum, founded in 1887, is a very practical governmental institution for promoting foreign trade. Thanks to its many correspondents-agents spread all over the world (there are 8 in Italy), the Museum gives free information to Hungarian traders looking for new outlets for their products and to foreigners wishing to enter into business relations with Hungary.

Industrial education is given in Hungary in 501 apprentice schools to 80,000 children who intend to take up an industrial career, and in 74 vocational schools to more than 10,000 pupils. For the protection of workers there is a National Workers' Insurance Fund with 865,280 members who, in 1909, paid out about 22 million crowns.

The Hungarian government, by the law of 1907, ensures preference in public supplies to national industry and grants large subsidies to encourage the creation of new industries in the country.

Agricultural Hungary. - The industry pavilion, by means of a terrace which, with a beautiful view of the Po and the hill, offers the distraction of the gypsy music of a Hungarian ice-cream parlour, communicates with the pavilion of the Hungarian agricultural exhibition. On the façade, a mystical Redeemer, surrounded by the sheep of his flock, introduces us to the exhibition.

Although Hungary is no longer the breadbasket of the world due to competition from America, it is still an eminently agricultural country and will only gradually become an industrial country.

Of the 32,491,813 hectares of Hungarian territory, more than 13 million (42%) are cultivated as fields, 9 million (28%) as woods, 4 million (12%) as pastures, 3 million (10%) as meadows; there are not even 2 million (5%) of barren land.

Cereals occupy more than 3/4 (78%) of the cultivated fields. Livestock breeding, horses, horned cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry are the second major concern of Hungarian agriculture. The horned cattle breeders are gradually replacing the white Hungarian breed, which was only used for draught and slaughter, with western breeds with abundant milk. The export of eggs reached 30 million crowns per year.

Hungarian farmers have felt the benefits of cooperation, which provides small producers with low-interest loans, direct sales of their products, and the direct acquisition of tools and raw materials needed for cultivation. 1/Association générale des Crédits mutuels, created only in 1888, already has 579,079 members in 2,206 communes. The Hungarian Farmers' Cooperative Union, which deals with the sale of products and the purchase of tools for its members, has a share capital of 862,600 crowns. The Hangya (Ant) Consumption and Sales Cooperative Union has 1000 branches, 150,000 members and a turnover of 35 million. There are 558 social dairies.

For agricultural education, special courses have been established in primary schools; there are also 21 practical schools and 5 agronomy academies.

The National Agricultural Association is the official body of farmers.

Hungary has a third exhibition in the meadow opposite the main exhibition: it is the Woodland and Forestry Exhibition, organised by Engineer Pfeiffer, Chief Inspector. It is an original exhibition, where the main woods that Hungary exports in such large quantities are presented in the state in which they are put on the market. A windmill, made entirely of beech, has two pairs of paddles as paddles; this is also a speciality of Hungarian exports. Four antennae of beech, oak, fir and pine show us Hungary's trees at the height they are at twenty years old. In the central pavilion, we see robust oak trunks of the exact length - 18 metres - used in the construction of railway wagons. The exhibition of Hungarian woods and forests occupies about 400 square metres.

The total exhibition of Hungary occupies about 8000 square metres. The works were all carried out under the supervision of the engineer and architect Jules Tôrôck; the commercial delegation was entrusted to Dr. Nândor Vajkai, correspondent of the Royal and Commercial Museum in Genoa.

The presidents of the Hungarian Executive Commission are Mr. Nicolas Zsolnay, an alderman, a great industrialist, and Mr. François Chorin, member of the Chamber of Magnates. Professor Alfred Krolopp, deputy curator, and Dr. Jules Kovacs, alderman, director of the Royal Commercial Museum in Budapest, also collaborated in the exhibition.

©Guide Officiel de l'Exposition Internationale de Turin 1911