THE GERMAN ETHNICITY IN THE CULTURAL TOURISM MARKET OF HUNGARY/SOUTH TRANSDANUBIA

 

Klaudia Szeidl1, Antal Aubert2

1University of Pécs Faculty of Sciences Doctoral School of Earth Sciences, klau05@gamma.ttk.pte.hu

2University of Pécs Faculty of Sciences Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences Department of Tourism, aubert@ttk.pte.hu

 

DOI: 10.33538/TVT.1904.ksz1-2.4

 

Abstract

Due to the changes in the tourism market in the latter years a part of society is not seeking for experiences that can be repeated annually but they favour those tourism attractions which provide real experiences for the visitor. As a consequence of the change of the tourist motivation such a development direction has been started which pays peculiar attention to the discovery and utilisation of local values. The cultural peculiarity of the tourism destinations is greatly depending on the value system of the local dwellers. In this respect South Transdanubia as a tourism region is in a lucky position since on the eastern part of the region we can find the greatest area of the country populated by Germans where the most important values of the Swabian culture subsisted until now. Within the framework of the study the region’s cultural attraction supply elements connected to the German ethnicity will be analysed and evaluated. The investigation is focusing on the analysis of Swabian attractions related to the two groups of heritage tourism, which belongs to the scope of cultural tourism, the intangible cultural heritage and the built cultural heritage. Within the intangible cultural heritage belonging to the category of animated culture the ethnic festivals came into prominence, while within the built cultural heritage belonging to the inanimate culture the research was organised around the country houses.

Keywords: cultural tourism, German ethnicity, heritage tourism, ethnic festivals, country house network

 

Introduction

In the latter decades the tourism market became a coherent, complex system during which the demand and supply side transformed for several times. Based on the present touristic demand trends one can say that a certain proportion of tourists possess a different motivation than the accustomed, the tourism attractions providing real experiences come into prominence. As a result today cultural tourism is getting an increasing role within tourism which can be mentioned as the primary scene for taking care of traditions.

Besides the natural values Hungary possesses numerous cultural historical memories out of which one should highlight the rich built and intangible heritage related to traditional folk lifestyle. The folk customs can constitute primary attractions in festive occasions. Getting to know or living through the traditions of certain ethnic groups can be especially attracting for the visitors seeking for such experiences. In Hungary numerous tradition preserving festival is organised with international scope out of which folk dance and folk music play a central role. In terms of cultural tourism the greatest advantage of the South Transdanubian Region is that it possesses a wide and complex supply due to which it can satisfy the needs of the visitors with cultural motivations. During the decades the region covering Baranya, Tolna and Somogy counties, or as the ethnography researchers mention it the SchwäbischeTürkei, became the centre for Germans living in Hungary (SZEIDL 2018b). The German speaking population living here preserved its traditions and major folk customs which, besides preserving the traditions, became tourism attractions as well, also assisting to the cultural and social variegation of the region and at the same time of Hungary. During the latter years numerous such attractions appeared in the tourism supply of the region which are related to the lifestyle and traditions of the German ethnic group or possibly with the Swabian cuisine.

 

1. The concept and subjectsof cultural tourism

Cultural tourism is one of the most complex segments of tourism, its supply is based on the familiarization of the cultural differences of the divergent cultures. In order to analyse the components of cultural tourism in detail we have to clarify what do we understand under the concept of cultural tourism. The word can be originated back to the Latin “colore” verb for which it was understood as cultivation and tillage, but as time passed by it was used more and more in the intellectual sense (JONES 2009). The analysis of the different conceptual definitions is not the objective of the research, so on the whole we can state that a part of the researchers consider E. B. TYLOR’s definition from 1871 as the most adequate according to which culture is “Culture… is that complex whole which includes knowledge, beliefs, arts, morals, law, customs, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by [a human] as a member of society” (TYLOR 1871). With the determination of culture in an extensive sense there is a chance to the connection with other disciplines, although its definition is still concrete and exact (CSAPÓ – MATESZ 2007).

In the extensive sense cultural tourism is such a tourism product where the central element is the attraction satisfying the most extensively understood intellectual needs of the tourist. Based on this definition almost all type of leisure and recreational travels can be classified into the concept of cultural tourism (MICHALKÓ 2004). But in the narrower sense cultural tourism is such a tourism product in where the tourist is travelling decidedly because of cultural motivation and the services representing the supply side of the product satisfy the needs of the tourist motivated by culture. So based on the two approaches cultural tourism is such a tourism product where the motivation of the tourist, representing the demand, is the cognition of new cultures, taking part in cultural events and visiting cultural attractions and the attraction as the central element of the supply is the unique culture of the visited destination (JÓNÁS-BERKI – RÁTZ 2012). Furthermore we can consider cultural tourism as a kind of overall category so we can count heritage-, ethnic- and village tourism as well since these segments primarily rely on their cultural features. Heritage tourism can also be considered as a complex category since all the memories of mankind can be counted here either having global or local significance. Based on this heritage can be a historical, archaeological, architectural, religious or art historical memory (CSAPÓ – MATESZ 2007). Concerning the appearance forms of the cultural heritages the categories drafted by the UNESCO in 1972 are tangible heritage covering built and natural heritage and the intellectual, intangible heritage (KELLY 2009). We have to mention ethnic tourism as a part of cultural tourism which, based on the affiliation of the participants, can be divided into two types. The main motivation of the “homesickness tourism” is to visit the homeland. In the case of the Germans in Hungary it is a more and more frequent phenomenon that the Swabians who got abroad due to the political measures of the last century, or their descendants, buy properties in the old settlement and so, although for just a short time, but they will be reconnected to the cultural life of the settlement and furthermore slightly decrease the shrinking of the – for the most part micro – settlement (e.g. Feked, Kisújbánya, Liptód). The interpretation of the other category is much simpler since in this case the main motivation is getting to know the culture of another ethnic group. Of course it can appear not only in the forms of intercontinental travels but we can also talk about ethnic tourism within a country or a region such as in the case of tourism generated in the Swabian villages or by the ŠokacandBunjevac people in Mohács in Baranya. Besides this within cultural tourism we can mention village tourism as a distinct element which role was gradually valorised due to the experienced urbanisation processes. The motivation of the participants is provided by the need to escape from the everyday stress and noises since the environment of the village more or less offers quiet, calmness and rural recreation (CSAPÓ – MATESZ 2007). The familiarization of the traditions, folk customs, gastronomy within the framework of village tourism became the brand of certain destinations. Due to this those century long ethnic values can be sustained which can provide real experiences to visitors coming from different regions, mainly from cities. Getting to know folk art and folklore became an ever increasing demand worldwide (PUCZKÓ – RÁTZ 2005).

 

2. Intangible cultural heritage: ethnic festivals

Based on the 2006 XXXVIII act the intangible cultural heritage is such custom, imagery, form of expression, knowledge and skill – and their coherent instruments, objects, artwork and cultural scene –which are acknowledged by communities, groups and in some cases individualsas part of their cultural heritage. This intangible cultural heritage demised from generation to generation – which the communities and groups constantly reproduce as an answer for their relation with the environment and nature and their history – provides the feeling of identity and continuity advancing in this manner the respect for the living cultural variegation and human creativity. According to the convention the intangible cultural heritage manifests itself in the following areas: aural traditions and forms of expression, performing arts, social traditions, rituals and festive events, knowledge and practices related to nature and the universe and the traditional handcraft (CSONKA – TAKÁCS 2010).

The attendance and resuscitation of the intangible heritage of the ethnic groups serves the basis for the festival supply in the region. Because, besides entertainment, festivals as cultural events have an important role in the attendance, preservation and transmission of the different traditions and heritage values. Festivals level the attention of the visitors on one or more local values generating tourism demand by this. The festivals as we know it were really art feasts and taking into consideration their topic they covered one genre each. With the passing of the decades the concept of festival as an art event has been diluted mainly due to the changes of the consumer trends (KUNDI 2014). The certain cultural festivals and events can mean a tourism attraction per se but in the high competitive situation in tourism there is a growing need for such events and programs which concentrate on a certain special area of cultural life. The festivals based on the traditions preserved by the ethnic groups belong to the concept of animated culture (RÁTZ 2011). These events are frequently effectuated with tourism purposes but they have a crucial role in the strengthening of the local community, since the characteristic customs are demonstrated by the member of the ethnic group creating the cultural experience for the visitors with that (MACCANNELL 1976).

In the varied tourism supply of the South Transdanubian Region the festivals related to the intangible cultural heritage constitutes a broadening group where one of the special elements are the cultural events based on the tradition and folk customs of the German ethnicity. In the German speaking settlements of the analysed area there are countless such events organised from the carnival to the Advent period where certain Swabian traditions, peculiar meals or the preservation of the identity are in focus (SZEIDL 2018a). During the survey the events were sampled based on earlier elaborated criteria. Among the criteria we listed the frequency of the organisation of the event, the uniqueness of the attraction and the scope of attraction of the festival. During the survey it can be stated that the majority of the ethnic festivals with regional or greater scope of attraction can be classified into wine and gastronomy, folk art and tradition keeping festivals with more complex program offer (Figure 1.).

 

Figure 1: The grouping of the analysed festivals based on their thematics

GastronomyWine
Gőzgombóc (Steam noodle)Festival – Geresdlak

Stifolder(special German thick salami) Festival – Feked

Emmaus járás(Emmausz walking) – Bóly

Pincenapok (Cellar days) – Györköny

MagyarországiNémetekBorversenye(Wine Contest of the Germans of Hungary) –Mecseknádasd

OrszágosSillerfesztivál(National Siller Festival) –Paks

Profession Tradition keeping
OrszágosKékfestőFesztivál(National Bluepainting Festival) – Nagynyárád

Múzeumnapok (Museum days)–Geresdlak

Sváblakodalmas(Swabian nuptial) – Véménd, Nagynyárád

Sommerfest(Summer Festival) –Bonyhád

Ed.: SZEIDL (2019)

 

One of the key attractions of the touristic supply of the SchwäbischeTürkei is the wine and the related services which is due to the developed grape culture and wine producing of the German language settlements with excellent geographical conditions. In the scope of the guests besides wine tasting which is complemented with culinary delights, wine festivals are more and more popular. Out of the classic wine festivals the Emmausz-járás (walking) is outstanding evoking the more than 100 year old Easter Monday folk traditions of the German speaking dwellers of Bóly. The event augmenting the fame of the settlement was put on the list of the National Collection of Hungarian Values in 2011 (SZEIDL 2018a).

Thanks to the varied Swabian cuisine the ethnic program offer of the region was enriched with numerous gastronomy festivals. In the centre of these events we can find the familiarization and introduction of a certain Swabian meal speciality (AUBERT et al. 2016). The most prestigious German ethnic gastronomy festival of the region and also the country is the National Steam Noodle Festival (OrszágosGőzgombócFesztivál) which was organised for the 11th time in Geresdlak. In the scope of the individuals with German origins and especially among the Swabian population of Baranya steam noodle, originated from the former homeland, is still very popular, so the series of events based on the Hefenknödel, the “local Swabian magic” experienced a continuously growing amount of visitors in the latter years (HORVÁTH et al. 2016). The success of the interlocking of tradition and innovation is also proved by the fact that the traditional festival was listed in 2011 in the Collection of Values in Baranya (kincsesbaranya.hu 2017) and also in 2012 it obtained the Traditions – Tastes – Regions brand.

The greatest folk art festival of the region is connected to one of the ancient professions, the blue painting. Saluting the workmanship of JánosSárdi blue painter master the National Bluepainting Festival (OrszágosKékfestőFesztivál) is annually organised from 1999 onwards in Nagynyárád which at the same time became the brand of the settlement. The tradition of bluepainting was listed in 2018 to the “Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” due to which the Intangible Heritage list of Hungary was further extended.

The events based on ethnic values possess numerous positive aspects both concerning the organising settlement and also the region’s competitiveness in tourism, although there are countless such disadvantages and threats whose enhancement would implicate serious risks (Figure 2.).

 

The ethnic festival significantly contribute to the awareness and the strengthening of the sense of identity of the local German ethnicity and the settlement providing the location and also it can be interpreted as a kind of meeting point in the scope of the Germans. Furthermore the events provide a chance to introduce and sell The ethnic festival significantly contribute to the awareness and the strengthening of the sense of identity of the local German ethnicity and the settlement providing the location and also it can be interpreted as a kind of meeting point in the scope of the Germans. Furthermore the events provide a chance to introduce and sell the local products. The events greatly contribute to the establishment of international contacts since most of all the delegations and culture group of the organising settlement’s twin settlement are present which further strengthens the cooperation with the mother country. The festivals are most of organised for one day so the visitors only rarely spend a guest night on the certain settlement due to which they strengthen the invisible tourism. Most of the festivals can be visited for free so their demand data can only hardly be followed by statistical methods. The increase of the uniform marketing activity and the strengthening of the management would lead to the increase of the scope of attraction of the event and the increase and broadening of the visitors, which would further strengthen the awareness of the certain destinations. The other main threat of the ethnic festivals is the dissolving financial sources, the exhaustion of the present tender sources, since most of the events are organised from the successfully obtained tender sources. The termination of these opportunities would cause robust changes in the festival supply of the region’s German ethnicity.

 

3. Built cultural heritage: country house network

One of cultural tourism’s “non-renewable (cultural) resources” is the traditional folk architecture, since in correspondence with the social-economic changes and due to the radical changes in lifestyle such creation would never be born againin the villages. The country house network has been established in order to inhibit the complete passing out of mind of the values of the past, due to which the young generation can come to know the lifestyle of the Swabians in an authentic environment and can have a look at the formerly used everyday tools and décor objects. The country houses appearing in the 1970s in Hungary as the new players of cultural life show the traditional culture of the local ethnic groups of the settlement with the locally preserved and collected objects in a folk architectural environment. The country houses play a significant role in the preservation and interpretation of the Swabian traditions.

According to the Hungarian Law of Cultural Education the country house is such a public interest museum exhibition place which is authorized with the permission of the minister to exhibit the cultural goods, architectural sites and buildings and groups of buildings with all their accessories and equipment (1997 CXL. act 48.§(3) chapter). Further on country houses are such open air ethnographic collections which together with the locally collected and preserved objects exhibits the given settlement’s or landscape’s traditional tangible culture, the decors within the buildings which are important in terms of folk architecture (perhaps qualified as folk monument building), sometimes workhouses, farm buildings or simpler industrial establishments (BERECZKI 2009). The aim of the exhibition place is to demonstrate the folk culture of the local community, to preserve and exhibit the tangible and intangible values of the given community for the local young generation and for the tourists arriving to the settlement (FÜZES 1997:311). The idea of establishing a country house was elaborated in the second half of the 19th century at the time of the strengthening of the village life style, intangible traditions, folk art and national identity. However as a catalyser for the establishment of the country house network we should concern the order of the Ministerial Council in 1974 where it guaranteed 30 million forints state support for the state ownership or renewal of local preserved folk monuments and their development to country houses, village museums, memorial houses or open air museums (BERECZKI 2009). With the cooperation of professional organisations and the Ministerial Council dozens of country houses were established in the country especially in the Great Plains area and the South Trandanubian Region. Between 1974 and 1984 nearly 200 country houses opened their gates (BERECZKI 2014). In the establishment of the country houses the local population playa a crucial role, since the majority of the collections are composed from voluntary dedications, inheritances or the donations of the local population. Since at that time country houses did not fulfil any other functions in the cultural life of the settlements than being a museum the local interest necessarily decreased and in many cases the annual number of visitors did not even reach 100 persons (BERECZKI 2009). In the time of the turn of the millennium new tendencies appeared related to the country houses. As a consequence of the strengthening of the local identity more and more places noticed their cultural values and the keepers of their past. Besides the theoretical support for the local governments due to the application opportunities financial sources were associated as well. The country house is a kind of symbol of the ethnic culture in the settlement. The institutions are popular among the visitors who love the tradition-based cultural programmes, the special ethnic food and all this is an authentic environment (KÁLLAI 2010:96). Based on the database of the German Country Houses National Professional and Information Centre until 2017 altogether 124 German ethnic country houses are functioning in the country. Depending from the characteristics and the size of the collection we can differentiate country houses, country rooms, local history collections and relic collections (Figure 3.).

 

Figure 3: The spatial distribution of the German country houses in Hungary

Source:Based on the database of the Német Tájházak Országos Szakmai és Információs Központ (German Country Houses National Professional and Information Centre) ed. SZEIDL – AUBERT (2018)

On Figure 3 we can see spatial allocation of the museums exhibiting the ethnic values of the Germans living in Hungary whose spatial concentration is oriented to the major centres of the ethnic group. The number one core area for the Germans is the South Trandanubian Region. In light of this most of the exhibitions can be found in Baranya County the densely populated domestic Germans, where altogether 37 settlements’ cultural life is enriched by the country house. The county can be proud of numerous such exhibitions which play a highlighted role not only in the region but in the country as well. Such are for instance the ethnic collections of Mecseknádasd, Óbánya, GeresdlakandFeked. Out of the 14 institutions of Tolna County the Swabian room established in the Völgységi Museum in Bonyhád plays a highlighted role and also the country house in Nagymányok remunerated with the “Country House of the Year” award.

The impacts of the present day social-economic changes made the repositioning of the country houses inevitable. Starting from the principles of the museum marketing in order the country houses should be working as a community civilian space, there is a need for such attitude which basically puts the visitors’ needs and their alteration into focus (SZEIDL – AUBERT 2018). As the result of the survey the country house utilisation model has been compiled designing the possible elements of function change, the scope of the extended role and the network of the country house (Figure 4.).

Figure 4: The German country house utilisation model

Ed.: SZEIDL (2019)

 

In the latter years the supply of the country houses already exceeded the regular museum role since due to the expansion of the functions it also appears as civilian community space in the life of the settlements. The country houses as independent tourism attractions primarily possess basic museology functions which are supplemented with museum pedagogy based on permanent collections of local tangible records and the collections of accidental periodical exhibitions. Further on the education service functions were established due to its thematic program supply. Due to a museum pedagogical program supply adequately compiled, elaborated and set to age groups, the country house can become the target of school excursions and other professional trips resulting in the significant increase of the number of visitors. The new kind of utilisation of the event space as the location of the country house both touches the roles of touristic and civilian community space. The tradition preserving events organised in an authentic environment one the one hand can strengthen the tourism potential of the country houses and on the other hand, besides the satisfaction of the cultural needs of the local population, it contributes to the preservation of the identity for the members of the ethnic group. The collection of documents protected in the country houses can serve as a starting base for historians and ethnographers and also professional meetings, general assemblies are frequently held there, so the scientific sphere appears in the expansion of functions of the institution as well.

 

Conclusions

The work of the German ethnic group, who are living in the analysed region, in terms of tradition preservation and strengthening the identity is outstanding, which is manifested both in the areas of culture and economy, that is how they are the active organisers and participants of the tourism attractions. The ethnic festivals enriching the intangible cultural heritage possess significant tourism potential, which is confirmed by both the increase of the number of visitors and several professional acknowledgements as well. We can detect a change of paradigm in the functions of the country houses which are based on the activity of local communities, since for an institution sustainable for the long run it became indispensable to introduce such services which, besides the familiarization of the tangible and intangible culture, is oriented to the international trends and to the needs of the local community. Besides the classic museum role the services coming into prominence further strengthen the tourism functions of the country houses. In recent times the number of attractions based on the Swabian culture is growing, and as a consequence of this its future position will supposedly be strengthened since with the alteration of the needs of the tourists the need to explore, understand and preserve traditions will increase and further on the spread of the traditional lifestyle will come into prominence. Nevertheless it is important to mention that the festivals enriched with innovative elements and the visitors of the country houses possessing a repositioned supply will only strengthen the group of the invisible tourists which will set back the further demand based investigations of ethnic tourism.

 

Acknowledgement

This publication/research has been supported by the European Union and Hungary and co-financed by the European Social Fund through the project EFOP-3.6.2-16-2017-00017, titled “Sustainable, intelligent and inclusive regional and city models”.

 

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