Living in Ajka

LOCSMÁNDI Gábor

Ajka is one of the 11 cities in Hungary that started to grow in the 1950s as „children of industry”, most of which suffered an economic and social decline after the de-industrialisation trends in the late 1980s and after the political changes in 1990. It really counts as a new city that has grown from a small mining village with only of 6 thousand inhabitants before the Second War to a city above 30 thousand. As it has been the case in other new industrial cities (as Tatabánya, Salgótarján) state-socialistic policies promoted also Ajka, as a “workers city”, to develop into a central place in its area.

Ajka és a Somló-hegy

Ajka és a Somló-hegy

Recently Ajka is the centre of an area officially called as “small region” in the more prosperous Veszprém county, part of the Central Trans-Danubian Region of Hungary situated North to the Balaton lake and close to the wilderness of the Bakony mountains. The city provides services to 38, in most cases rural, communities with about 60 thousand inhabitants. Thus the everyday life in Ajka, including the character of services provided by its town centre, is determined not only by the city’s industrial past and present but also by the life-styles and capacities of the daily commuters from the surrounding villages.

Urban literature comparing fates of the socialistic industrial cities after the changes in Hungary, nevertheless, shows that Ajka was able to pass through the transitional period in a more smooth way.

/complete writing can be read in issue No.17./

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