About the city
Kapolcs is a small village of a few hundred inhabitants in the Káli Basin Landscape Protection Area in the Eger Valley, surrounded on all sides by springs and forests. It lies to the north of Lake Balaton, 149 kilometers from Budapest, 15 kilometers from Tapolca, and 30 kilometers from Veszprém.
Archeological findings suggest that Kapolcs may have been inhabited in prehistoric times, since traces of prehistoric peoples were found in the area at the beginning of the twentieth century. Prehistoric peoples were not the only ones who made their homes in this area, however. In the middle of the last century, the aedicula of a Roman tomb was found, and the Via Magna, the great military road which connected Buda to the Adriatic Sea, also passed through this area.
The city is named after the historical figure Kapolcs, a Cuman leader who in 1091 invaded Transylvania and then the region known as Bihar. However, László I and his army stopped the Cumans, and Kapolcs was slain. In accordance with the custom of the time, some of those who had survived and been allowed to settle in the area named their settlement after their former leader.
Over the course of its history, Kapolcs has acquired a reputation for its skilled potters, tanners, beer brewers, button-makers, cobblers, filter-makers, and sewers. The most important sector, however, was the milling industry. In the twelfth and the thirteenth centuries, the inhabitants of the area began to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the Eger stream. Most of the mills were named after their owner or a member of his family, but sometimes a mill would be named after some particular feature. With the waves of nationalization which came after the communist takeover of the country, however, the mills were either closed or left to die slowly. In time, the stream dried up. Today, with the help of the Kapolcs Cultural and Nature Conservation Association, the stream has been saved, and in 2000, work was completed on the reconstruction of the Szaller Mill, which has become something of a symbol in the area.
Kapolcs has made a name for itself with its popular festival, the Valley of Arts, which is famous across the country. The festival was launched in Kapolcs in 1989, and it has now been held in several towns. It takes place, essentially, in Kapolcs, Vigántpetend, and Taliándörögd. The festival is held every year in late July and early August. The program includes theater performances, classical, folk, and world music concerts, literary evenings and afternoons, exhibitions, and craft demonstrations.