The history of the settlement

The settlement was already inhabited at the time of the occupation. However, the first written data only comes from 1398. At that time, the people living here were engaged in hemp production. Kígyós, which used to belong to Zaránd county and was called Kégyós before 1566, was annexed to the peaceful county in 1512 thanks to the Ajtóssyaks. When the Turks occupied the nearby castles, the inhabitants fled each time, the settlement was almost completely depopulated. The new landlord, Baron Harruckern, populated the former Kígyós and its surroundings with Hungarian, Slovak and German settlers. The XVIII. At the end of the 19th century, after the death of the Harruckern family in the male branch, the Wenckheims married into the dynasty, thus inheriting the Gyula and Békés rata, which also included the village of Kígyós Puszta and Doboz, from which they controlled the entire estate. The name of the Ókigyós Major is linked to this family. An important landmark of Szabadkígyós is the Wenckheim Castle and Park, the construction of which was started by Count Frigyes Wenckheim (1842-1912) and Krisztina Wenckheim (1849-1924). The castle was built from 1875 to 1879 in the German Neo-Renaissance style based on the plans of Miklós Ybl. However, the name of the famous architect of the time is not only associated with the design and construction of the castle building, but also the granary in the major and the crypt of the Wenckheim family praise his architectural genius. The interior of the granary building has four storage levels, its slab structure and supporting columns are made of wood, and the crypt has a Greek cross layout, the central square receives light from above, through the roof, while the side wings are designed to accommodate coffins.

After 1924, only József Wenckheim remained in the castle with his two sons, Dénes Szigfrid and Krisztián, but they also left the estate in 1944, fleeing the war abroad. The boys’ mother, Countess Denise, also lived in the castle. In the spring of 1945, the Békéscsaba Higher Agricultural School was relocated to the Wenckheim Castle, on the instructions of András Szobek, the Békés County Chief Sheriff, around which a teaching farm and machine station were established.

The renovation of the castle building was recently completed. The building and its surroundings are a very important cultural asset. Szabadkígyós, or Ókígyós major, administratively belonged to Újkígyós. January 1, 1950 is a significant date in the history of the village. It was then that the former Ókígyós took on the name Szabadkýgyós.