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A History

15 April, 2006

Indulólap | History (English) | Térkép | Fényképalbum | Ballaiak | Kapcsolatfelvétel | Dumapad

Szilágyballa, a history

Szilágyballa: Past and Present


The first written source to the village dates back to 1341 and refers to it under the name of Barla. Allegedly Barla is an allusion to ‘barlang’ (i.e. cave), where inhabitants used to retreat from waves of Tatar invasions. Excavations however revealed that the area was populated already in the Bronze Era, and some artifacts are even dated back to the Neolithic Era. The Szilágy-prefix was assigned when the train station was built in 1913, referring to the county.

Around 1450 the village was property of the Várad (Oradea) bishop, who participated on the side of Hunyadi in the battle of Belgrade, and fell hostage to the Turks. Afterwards the village was owned mostly by the Bánffy family until the early 20th century.

The population started to grow beyond the low hundreds in the 19th century when paved road and the railway arrived. Presently there are some 1600 souls in the village, with:

~1450 Hungarian

~ 200 Gypsy (Roma)

~ 20 Romanian ethnicity,

Religions: ~1250 Reformat (protestant), 290 Baptized and ~ 100 Greek Orthodox (mainly from the Gypsy community). The reformation wave must have hit the village in 1556, due to the influential work of Szegedi Lajos, a reformant priest from Kraszna (Crasna). The baptized church has been formed in 1904. Few Jews did live in the village (as in most villages in the area), which were deported during the Nazi occupation in WWII. Those surviving did not return to live in the village.

After the Trianon treaty, the communal center has been moved to the - population-wise smaller – Bocsa.


Local education has its roots in church-owned educational institutions, with written records are of 1852. The present school has been built in 1970, mainly by local effort. The old school building is used as nursery school. Classes are held mainly in Hungarian, except for the Roma community, for which one aggregate class of the first elementary grades is maintained. Afterwards pupils travel to the neighboring Bocsa to study in Romanian.

Balla is considered an important vine-region for the Szilágy area. While wine cellars next to the vineyards do not have a tradition (as in other vine-cultivating locations, like Sarmaság and Szilágysámson) the soil is allegedly more acidic which produces a more mature and full tasting vine vs its local competition. The local vine production is excercised by individuals on small scale, and has observed both a small renaissance - due to the organization of a vine contest, and prizes won by local producers on domestic competitions - as well as a setback due to recent falsification scandals by producers who capitalized on the recent recognition of the local wine.

While the local population has seen a steady growth during the communist era, presently we experience an exodus of the youth towards mainly Hungary. A significant part of the working population earns a living in Hungary and abroad. Excepting the Gipsy community, the population recently is in decline.

Very recently the village has met some notable developments, when after many years of lobbying and tireless work of enthusiast volunteers, and IMF grant, and not least the contributions of the inhabitants made it possible to pave the streets with a thin layer of asphalt, and consecutively the fix phone coverage has arrived. A water-duct network has also been deployed, but this one is not yet commissioned, pending the deployment of a sewage system.

Entrepreneurship is lackluster in Balla, with most the youth gone to Hungary. Recent signs are shoving some revitalization of the entrepreneurial spirit.

Present leaders of the community are:

DEMJÉN Katalin, vice-mayor

BÓNÉ Vilmos, school director

BOROS Árpád, Reformat priest

KIRÁLY Tibor, Baptized priest




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