Bikal lies in the North of Baranya county, among slopes at the foot of the Mecsek Hills.
The history of Bikal
Its history goes back to almost seven hundred years; it was first mentioned in the early 1300s under the name ‘Villa Bykol’. The name of the village means ‘the bottom of a beech forest’. We have not much medieval sources containing data about the population of the village.
In the 1540s, Bikal, too, became part of the Ottoman Empire, during which its population decreased significantly, what is more, it became completely deserted in the course of the wars of liberation. The holders of the territory, which was re-granted by the emperor, had the village populated with Croatian and German colonists. Probably it had a church also earlier, but the catholic church, which is used also today, was consecrated in 1797 to Saint Anne. The evangelical church was built in 1869.
In the late 1840s, Baron Antal Szaniszló Puchner, the new lord of Bikal, constructed his new home here. His descendants remodelled the castle several times, and completed with a park. The building received its final form, having a beaux-arts style, at the end of the 19th century. In the bourgeois era, the most characteristic feature of the village is that the German population gave an increasing proportion of the inhabitants. As the railway was not constructed nearby, the village remained a traditional agricultural area.
During World War II, 75 inhabitants lost their life in the fights as prisoners of war or in labour camps. Their memory has been honoured with a monument. In 1947-48 more than four hundred people from the village were deported to Germany, whose houses were occupied by Hungarian families from the highlands, from the vicinity of Zala and Hódmezővásárhely.
In 1949, the Bikal State Cooperative was established, which gained a country-wide fame for the village through its production of fruits and hop, and with its fishery and rabbit farming. After the change of regime, the development of the village came to a halt, and its population started to decrease. At present, Bikal has 876 inhabitants.
Bikal’s fame was revived by the Puchner Castle Hotel. In Bikal, people are nice and hospitable, and so visitors can always have a good time here, and can bring back home pleasant memories.