Speech by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán at the opening ceremony for the renewed and expanded “Hagymatikum”

24 March 2024, Makó

Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Citizens of Makó.

Today is Palm Sunday. It is fitting that we are gathered here in Makó. After all, when Hungarians think of Makó, the second thing that comes to mind - after onions - is Jerusalem. Sadly, Jerusalem could not be further from Makó today - because Makó has peace, tranquillity and security. We sincerely hope and wish that there will also be peace, tranquillity and security in Jerusalem; and we wish the same for Transcarpathia and Ukraine, which are much closer to us.

Dear Citizens of Makó,

According to perhaps the most beautiful beatitude, those who make peace will be called the Sons of God. And we wish Europe many such sons. I think we will need them. And in addition to peace, we wish something else: many nation-builders for Hungary and the town of Makó. This brings us to Imre Makovecz, whose name is the third thing - after onions and Jerusalem - that we think of when we walk through the streets of Makó,.

Dear Citizens of Makó,

Knowing who designed which famous Hungarian buildings forms part of Hungarians’ basic education. The Museum of Applied Arts was designed by Ödön Lechner, the Parliament Building by Imre Steindl, Saint Stephen’s Basilica by Miklós Ybl, and the list goes on. And appearing among the giants there is Imre Makovecz. But, strangely enough, somehow we don’t know or learn that he built his buildings, but simply recognise his buildings. You only have to look at them: they are unmistakable. Unlike the other architectural giants, his art is not an example of an architectural style, but is a style in itself. In Imre Makovecz’s case, the style is really the man himself. My work has taken me to many places in the world, but I have only seen one similar example of an architect himself being a distinct, unclassifiable style. His name was Gaudí. And what Barcelona is for Gaudí, Makó is for Imre Makovecz.

Dear Citizens of Makó,

Here I must also mention another name: Mayor Péter Buzás. I hope he is here somewhere among us. God bless you and good day, Mayor! In Hungarian public life it is not customary to speak highly of a politician from the other side. I do not think that is a good thing. If we did, it might turn out that we are not on different sides, and it might even turn out that there are no sides - because ultimately there are only Hungarians. Péter Buzás commissioned Imre Makovecz at a time when he received almost no commissions from anywhere in Hungary. Makó was a rare exception, although not the only exception. For by the time doors were opened again for Imre Makovecz with the victory of the national side, the time of grace during which the Lord God kept him among us in the flesh soon came to an end. Those who previously made it impossible for him to work are now parroting that there is no point in building the buildings for which he left plans. Let us tell them that Imre Makovecz is still alive today. Here is the proof. We have just finished the Hagymatikum that he envisioned. So what Imre Makovecz and Péter Buzás planted, the conservative city administration has continued to nurture and care for, while the Government has watered it, with the help of Minister and Government Commissioner János Lázár. And the Lord God allowed it to grow. Continuity, dear people of Makó, is also true of Imre Makovecz’s art: that which he started is now being continued by a good number of his students - here in Makó, too.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Makó now boasts not only the most Makovecz buildings, but also the largest. After onions, Jerusalem and Makovecz, we have now come to the fourth reason for Makó now being one of Hungary’s most famous towns. It is home to the most beautiful thermal baths in our country, and probably in the world. My heartfelt congratulations to you all!

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Imre Makovecz loved the people who lived here. He felt the same way as he did when he travelled through Transylvania, where a series of his churches were built in the 2000s. He was famous for saying something which I have kept in mind: the further he went from Budapest, the closer he felt to his homeland. We understand him, and we too are attracted to towns, villages and communities that believe in their own greatness. They know where they have come from and where they are going. They believe that neither the earth beneath them nor the sky above them is empty. History has pushed Makó from the middle of the country to its edge. The biggest mistake is to resign oneself to this peripheral position. We are not resigned to it. Because, believe me, anyone who feels on the edge of something will never be successful. Success will only come to those people and those communities who believe that the place where they live is the centre of the world, and therefore the most important place in the world. Dear Citizens of Makó, I am convinced that this is also how we should think of our country. We have experienced what it is like when the world is badly arranged, and Hungary is on the margins: having to live at the eastern end of the Western world; and, under communism, having to survive on the western edge of the Eastern bloc. We want Makó today to be neither far from Brussels, nor from Beijing, nor from Jerusalem, but to attract as many people as possible from all over the world. Because Makó, Imre Makovecz and the Hagymatikum deserve to be visited and marvelled at by people from all over the world.

Dear Citizens of Makó, Ladies and Gentlemen,

After all this, I would like to thank everyone who contributed to construction of this new part of the spa complex. Makó is stronger again, and we have repaid some of the debt we owe to Imre Makovecz. And to you, Dear People of Makó, my wish is that you will continue to beautify and strengthen your city with this love. On Palm Sunday, it is fitting to remind ourselves to live and work each day in a way that will make the Lord God pleased with us.

God above us all, Hungary before all else! Go Hungary, go, Hungarians!