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  Coltau

  The life of Teleki

  Teleki in the political life

  The literary activity of  Teleki

  Petofi's visit in Coltau
  The wedding of Petofi
  The honeymoon

  The history of the castle

  The festivity of Coltau

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Coltau

  The life of Teleki

  Teleki in the political life

  The literary activity of  Teleki

  Petofi's visit in Coltau
  The wedding of Petofi
  The honeymoon

  The history of the castle

  The festivity of Coltau

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Coltau

The first mention of Coltau is the convent of Leles, in 1405. At this time it belonged to the estate of family Dragfy. In 1549 belonged to the Chioar domain. The distinct politician, Mihaly Teleki, the chancellor of Transylvania, buys the territory of Coltau by donatio, together with other localities, so becoming the Lord of the territory. The locality appears as the property of Teleki family.           

The first mention of Coltău in the convent of Leles (1405).                   

In connection with the origin of the name, the opinions are divided. Some think, that the origin of the word comes from Kalota (rocky ascension), others deduce from the name with Slavonic origin Koltov. The third supposition, builds the deduction on the family name Kolta.

            The castle from Coltau, which is on the northern part of the commune, was built between 1740-1760, in baroque style. Being built in a form of regular square, it doesn’t look like the contemporary castles. It is hard to find, why it has been built in this form, in fortress style. Once it has had also this function. In 1848, in an urgent situation, here found refuge count Teleki together with his rioter mates.

            In the park of the castle, which once was large, there are some rare trees, (cypress, ash-tree) old of some hundred of years, which are evoking the atmosphere of the past.

            The dwellers of Coltau are estimated to be about 1300 – if we neglect the gypsies established on the west side of the village – the majority being reformed Hungarians (1028 persons).

            From the terrace of the castle, being built ulterior, there is a special panorama toward east to the proximate mountains. The landscape is particular even nowadays, so as count Teleki, the lord of the castle has written:

            “Out of my garden there is a wonderful sight, so that on the continental territory is hard to find similar. The house built on an ascension with valley: in the front toward north there is a great green field and some oaks, the territory being winding by the Lapus river, being visible in its course from the ascension, as Petőfi told about the winding Somes “as a frosted lightning”. In the back of the river, the downward hills, with prunes, above with a plateau with vast oak forests. In good weather one can see the white towers from 18 settlements, and the gardens of villages planted with trees, as if it would be in the middle of the forest, the sound of the bells can be heard at us in the valley, and sometimes even the bell from Baia Mare can be heard here. In the background in an amphitheatric curvature there are the Carpathian chains” (Sandor Teleki: Sandor Petofi in Coltau).

         

The life of Teleki

 

         In the literary history we know him as the friend of Petofi, Jokai and Victor Hugo, in the history as the colonel of Bem and Garibaldi, in the music as the traveling companion of Liszt. Jokai summarized the life of the count like this: “…he has been living, distracting, and fighting together with all the educated and barbarian nations of the continent, he has tolerated the glory and searched the trouble, has gone through canon fire and through great storms safely, was good friend with Victor Hugo, with the two Dumas, with Liszt, Petofi, and other authors, musicians, painters and famous sculptors of our century, has helped Garibaldi to conquer countries and other men, to build castles in the air, he spoke with kings and emperors about the destiny of Hungary, and carried away with wanderers and poets for the liberty, walked through the whole Europe, to discover what beautiful panorama is there from the hill of Coltau…”

Sandor Teleki was born in Cluj at 27 January 1821, in a noble family. His father was Janos Teleki, his mother Erzsebet Mikes, his sister Rose. The first years of his childhood he spent at Sărmaşus.  His studies he made at Cluj, in 1835-36, his pedagogue being Mihaly Tancsics. After finishing the secondary school, he continued his studies at famous Universities of Europe. His roguish spirit suffered with difficulties the monotony of amphitheaters, he made changing, and the period 1841-1845 he spent with trips. At this time begun his friendship with Liszt, with whom he traveled through the whole Europe. In 1845 his parents, with the intention to establish in a place, handled the estate in Coltau to Sandor Teleki, so became the young count of 25 years, the owner of a castle. But Sandor Teleki wasn’t born to live the life of provincial landlords. The old castle in short time was filled with life, friends, war mates and artists from the country and from the territory of Europe. One from these was Frank Liszt. At the autumn of the year 1846, when Liszt came for the first time in Transylvania, in a concert tour, at the invitation of Teleki made a visit in Coltau, where he spent a few days, as the guest of Teleki.

 

Teleki in the political life 

           

The political atmosphere of the years 1840, was favorable for the roguish temper of Teleki. With the proximity of the events of 1848, it was definitely felt, that it was the time for social changing in Europe. In 1846-1847, at the age of 25, Teleki presented himself with success, at the election of the deputies.

            At a speech in Romanian language, he managed to get first the nobles of the Chioar territory for his opponent, liberal ideas.

            Knowing the political concepts of Teleki, we can easily understand, how could he get in a so close friendship with Petofi, otherwise it would be hard to understand, why was Teleki the single aristocrat, whom Petofi accepted as friend.

            The events of revolution of 1848-1849, found Teleki as the captain of the Chioar. He had the occasion to prove his organizing talents as the colonel of Bem, where he fought the hard fights of the revolution. After the revolution he was captivated, and became prisoner in the fortress of Arad. The sentence of death he could escape only having luck and fled, because in his absence the Austrian military High Court condemned him to death, an symbolically even executed him. After this he lived in exile for 18 years. First he went to Paris, but later he was pressed to escape to the isle of Jersey, and Guemesey. Here were gathered many French, Hungarian and Italian exiles around Victor Hugo, and edited together the news-paper of world democracy the L Homme.

            Meanwhile in London he met a wealthy girl, who spoke also Hungarian, Anna Bickersteth, and in 1856 he married with her. This marriage wasn’t lasting, after a year, they divorced peacefully. After an emigration of 18 years, he could return to Coltau. he arrived with his second wife, the French lady, Litez de Tivervald Matild. Out from this marriage they had 4 children (Sandor, Laszlo, Janos and Blanka).

            After returning, Teleki could greet the guests arrived in his castle, among them Klara Leovey and Mor Jokai.

The literary activity of Teleki

 

         

           After the emigration, Sandor Teleki withdrew from the political life, and dedicated himself mainly to the writing. The main form was memoir, in which he has eternized the events of the revolution and emigration. Without this, he wrote reportages, novels, anecdotes, and open letters. He didn’t become novel author, but who knows his writings, is convicted, that these writings are really biographical novels. He summarized his life in six volumes. His writings were popular among his readers.

            Teleki lived his last ten years in Baia Mare, letting the castle to his youngest son Janos Teleki. In the last years he wasn’t busy with politics, but he did never deny his democratic concepts.

            For his public and literary works the Petofi Company, and the Kisfaludy Company elected him among his members. A year prior to his death he became honor citizen of Baia Mare.

     He died in 18 May 1892. Before his death, his will was to be buried in Coltau under the preferred cornel of Petofi. His will was fulfilled, but later in 1936 – after that the descendants sold the castle and the park, and the mortal remains were on strange territory – the grave was transferred into the cemetery of Coltau. At the burial in 1892 was a cloudy day of May, at this occasion participated the deputies of political life, former colleagues of war, and the population of Coltau and Catalina. Sandor Teleki is worth to celebrate with respect, he have had a special career from the natal house from Cluj until the cemetery of Coltau.

The graveyard of Teleki, in the

cemetery of Coltau.

 

 

   

The house of Teleki built in 1880

Descendants - Laszlo Teleki strănepot, Janos Teleki grandchild, Istvan Banffy, Pal Teleki - at the graveyard of great ancestor at 16-th may, 1992.

 

Petofi's visit in Coltau

 

Sandor Teleki met Petofi at 8 September 1846 in Carei, at a ball. Then he invited Petofi in Coltau.

            At the middle of year 1846 Petofi came to Baia Mare, to visit the artist Zsigmond Torokfalvi Papp, who announced Teleki about his arrival, who later brought Petofi in Coltau.           

Petofi was very pleased with the surroundings; he rode a horse, walked with the carriage, and made trips to the most beautiful places of the region.

            At this visit he met a gipsy girl named Aniko Pila, who visited Petofi now and then, at the night. In poems he doesn’t mention about her, because his heart belonged already to Julia Szendrey. How much liked Petofi in Coltau, proves, that already at his first visit he did eternize his impressions, the region and his friends in poems. In 1847 he visited more times Coltau.

 

 

The wedding of Petofi and Julia            

Petofi lived more than six months away from Julia, until at 16 May 1847, when he went to Ardud and proposed marriage. The answer of the girl was at once positive, but her father agreed only after a waiting of 3 months. At 5 August 1847 Petofi engaged Julia, and the wedding took place at 8 September 1847.

            In 1847 at the beginning of month September Petofi came to Teleki with the wish, that the count to lend the castle for a time, because he wants to spend the honey moon here. Teleki fulfilled his wish readily, and for this period he sent away everybody – expect the cook – and even he went to Cluj to his parents.

            At 8 September 1847 Petofi and Julia married in the chapel of the fortress of Ardud. After the wedding they traveled with the carriage to Coltau, but because a wheel break they couldn’t arrive. They had to spend the first night at Baia Mare in the “Golden Eagle” inn.

 

The honeymoon in Coltau 

The last and at the same time the longest staying of Petofi together with his wife in Coltau, was between 9 September and 20 October 1847. These were the six more beautiful weeks in his life, and he gave to Hungarian lira some particular poems.

            The bedroom where the Petofi couple stayed, is in the north-vestic side of the Castle, from here is the most beautiful panorama toward the hills of Maramures. Most of the time they spent in this bedroom, or under the cornel tree in the Park, where from there’s a beautiful panorama as well. Daily they made a walk to the spring “Vaida”, where they went to listen the song of the water, that flows thick, as the arm.

       During the honey moon they became the godfather and godmother of  a girl named Katalin Sebesteny. The honey moon passed quickly. In 20 October 1847 they went away.

     After a few months, in a time full with events, Petofi was recruited beside general Bem. Then nobody thought, that he never will see again the witnesses of his fulfilled happiness, the castle, the cornel tree, the hills covered with snow, and that he has but six months to live.

        Petofi died in the battle, at 31 July 1849. He wrote 33 poems in Coltau.

Julia, the wife of Petofi

 

The bed on which the Petofi couple slept.

 

The document attesting that the Petőfi couple became the godparents of Katalin Sebestyen.

The history of the castle

 

In 1936 count Janos Teleki sold his estate, and moved from Coltau, together with his family. After the world war II. the castle was indwelled by  refugees, who leaved but after a few years. After this the castle is used as the seat of agricultural cooperative. In 1948 at the storey of the castle was the cultural house, the ground floor even today functions as kindergarten, and a class of the school.

            In 9 January 1960 some enthusiastic men, in the front with Gabor Palko, arranged the north-western room of the castle as a commemorative room. At first, were but a small black cupboard, a bed, and some photo reproductions without frame, from Arad. In the near 50 years past, the commemorative room developed, and now occupies the whole storey. Substantial changing happened in the years 70, when Mihai Sebestyen, the former driver of the count, was named the supervisor of the Museum. He found an enthusiastic help in the person of teacher Rozalia Varga. The furnishings of the Museum were renewed; the bed was completed with popular bedspread, and from year to year the exposed materials were enriched. The walls were filled with photos and reproductions of Petofi and Julia, and in the windows were laid the copies of the manuscripts of Petofi. At this time was created the bust of Petofi by Istvan Varvedo.

From the middle of years 90 has been made a general transformation, and modernization. Each room has its own specific aspect: the north-eastern room is tied to the honey moon, the big room to literary arts, the Teleki room evokes the glorious soldiers from 1848, the Jokai room brings to mind the post revolutionary times, the voyage of the famous author in Coltau, and in the south-eastern room in 2005 was opened the Blanka Teleki room.

            The park of the castle, which before the events of 1989 was leaved to its fate, was supposed to significant transformations. In a summer storm in 1997 the cornel tree found in the north-eastern corner of the park, was collapsed, and now its seedling watches the stone table, where were written the most beautiful poems.

            In the middle of the park found place the art of the sculptor from Szolnok, Gabor Beno Pogany, which represents the Petofi pair. Let us stop here for a moment. It hasn’t been raised on a high pedestal, and this is good also as a symbol. It signifies, that the greatest poet of the Hungarians even today lives among us.

The festivity of Coltau

 

On first Sunday of September is the festivity of  Coltau, at this weekend celebrates the region and the guests from far the honey moon spent here by Petofi and Julia. The festivity starts with the crowning of the statue, recitation of poems, after which follows the program on open air.

            For the first time it was kept the festivity in 1939. The citizens of Coltau, Baia Mare, and the Hungarians from the region understood the symbolic signification of the event, and came in mass to the place, which signified the land of happiness for the poet of liberty and love. This way Coltau became the place of meeting and tradition, it is organized each year on the first Sunday of September. In 1984 the communist government – realizing, what symbolic significance has the festivity – interdicted it, but in 1990 became possible again, to celebrate the spirit of Petofi. The citizens of the village are proud that they’re living in a locality, which gave inspiration to some literary creations of world-wide significance.

 

Thanks to Mr. SANDOR KLACSMANYI, who offered and placed at disposal the precious information about the history of Coltau, yet before the issue of the book, for which he has collected!

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Updated: 15.02.2010