Mari Manor, Bățanii Mici

  • National heritage number:
  • CV-II-m-A-13136
  • address:
  • Bățanii Mici
  • dated to:
  • 1906
  • ownership:
  • private property

Elek Benedek decided to repurchase the lands his parents sold for his education. Finally, on the twelve acres of land, which he got back from piece to piece, begun the construction of a dreamed manor (in 1896). The house was designed by a relative of his wife, the architect Richárd Poldesz, in a way as to offer accommodation for the family, grandchildren, friends and guests.

The foundation of the house was dug not far from the village's church, along the “Macskás” river. The construction work was led by a master named “Raffay”, besides whom worked the locals, and a lot of help in the construction was also given by the residents of the surrounding villages. Elek Benedek was very touched by this scene, when the chariots loaded with granite stone turned into the courtyard one after the other. The village Bățanii Mari was also very proud that the famous writer had come home to build a house. The village gave the wood for burning the tiles and the bricks, and the construction of the roof was also "carried" out by the people of the village.


The house was built for two years and was covered in 1898. Compared to his residence in Pest, this building became a real manor with eight rooms and a porch built in late-Classicist style. It is true that only two rooms were heated in the winter, but in the summer there were times when thirty were gathered around the fourteen-meter dining-room table . The big house was meant for his children and even grandchildren. At that time, Elek Benedek already had five children, the sixth on his way, and his parents still lived. He wanted all his kinds to have their own room, even after having their own family. On the facade of the house, in the triangle above the columned porch, the name of his wife, Mari, is still standing in gold letters, because she was his loving, all-caring being, and without her support and economic ingenuity this house would never have been built.
When the house was completed, the estate began to be developed, in the orchard they planted hundreds of apple trees, then pine trees seedlings were planted and farm buildings were made. Among the pine trees of the road leading to the house, Elek planted apple trees, let rejoice the ones passing here. In one half of the upper part of the garden were pine trees and in the other were deciduous trees. In the huge garden surrounding the house, was created an atmosphere as in a fairy tale, where the wood parts, parks and promenades were introduced by short verses. From 1929, after the death of the old Elek, the manor of Bățanii Mari was left empty for years and the family visited the estate of Bățanii Mici only in the summer. In the absence of relatives, the villagers and distant relatives took care of the values and, apart from a few minor burglaries, by the end of the Second World War, luckily all preserved its original form. The change took place in the spring of 1944. The daughter of Elek Benedek, Flóra, who taught writing and gymnastics in a girl's school in Budapest, retired and moved home from Budapest into the family manor in Bățanii Mari. At the end of the 1940s, the county communist leadership council pondered about on what list he should put Miss Flora (as the villagers called her) with the 12 hectares of estate and the Benedek manor. The men of the Romanian Communist Party arrived by car and told Flóra that she was listed as kulak and has to move out, because they want to turn the multi-bedroom house into a children's home. (There was a moment when the idea of forming a co-operative headquarter was raised) Fortunately, however, thanks to Flora's good-nature, original identity and good relationships, all such matters were forgotten in a short time. The large garden was nationalized, but the elderly ”miss” Flóra could keep the great house with the collection of fabulous books, paintings, newspapers, and the park, where she could quietly receive not only the descendants of Benedek Elek coming from Pest but also the visitors of father Elek's house. In a short time, the Benedek Manor of Bățanii Mari became a real pilgrimage place. Miss Flóra urged and organized the care of the memory of father Elek and played a prominent role in placing a commemorative plaque on the house, in 1959, in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Benedek Elek. Today, the building functiones as the Elek Benedek Memorial House.

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