HISTORY TALKS...

Scribbles from Nové Zámky

IN THIS very old picture of Nové Zámky from 1902, we can see the protocol at that time for writing on postcards. The whole back-side was for writing the address and nothing else could go there. In the tiny white space on the lower front-side, the postcard sender had to compose and write everything. With the limited space, people tried to find various solutions, as can be seen on this postcard.

IN THIS very old picture of Nové Zámky from 1902, we can see the protocol at that time for writing on postcards. The whole back-side was for writing the address and nothing else could go there. In the tiny white space on the lower front-side, the postcard sender had to compose and write everything. With the limited space, people tried to find various solutions, as can be seen on this postcard.

Nové Zámky is a town with two different histories. The first glorious one started in 1581 when a top-notch, modern fortress to protect from Ottoman forces was literally built on a green field. After the Ottoman wars ended, the fortress was dismantled and Nové Zámky continued on but initially, of course, as a typical 'field town', only acquiring marked signs of being a more important town in the mid 19th century.

A listing of all the town’s houses from 1867 provides an idea of the town. Of 991 houses, only 26 achieved the “highest standard” and 499 houses were classified at a lower level, which meant they had roofs of cane and chimneys made of willow branches. There was no sewage system available; the first time it was even considered was in 1892 – when the smell and huge puddles in the streets began to embarrass the town councillors. But the problem was solved just theoretically and it took several more decades before a functioning sewer system was built. It was also important for Nové Zámky to pave its streets. As there were enormous cattle markets in the town, period documents mention permanent whirls of dust hovering above the streets. Thus, the town had a difficult route in its quest to become a real town but, after all, every town and city had had to undergo a similar long and tortuous path.


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