Goricko Nature Park Information Center
Grad 191, 9264 Grad
tel.: (031) 354 149
e-po¹ta: park.goricko@siol.net

The history of Goričko

The Goričko region has been covered in forest for more or less its entire history, and therefore has never been thickly settled. The remains of settlements from early migration periods have been confirmed at the edges of the region, i.e. in the basins of the Ledava and Krka rivers and the Kobilanjsko stream. The most important pre-historical settlement is Bukovnica. The Roman settlements follow the Ledava river basin, while the burial mounds from the same period are distributed throughout the entire region. The Roman settlement era was followed by the period of Slavic migrations, which is confirmed in Goričko only by Slavic finds at Gradi±če in Selo, which date back to the 9th century. This was followed by the entry of the Magyars, who by crossing the defense line on the Kučnica river in the 12th century finally annexed the area of present-day Prekmurje into their civil and church administrative system. From then all the way to 1919 Goričko was part of the Relezna (or Vas) Parish and the diocese in Györ and later in Sombotel (Szombathely).

The cooling of the blood after centuries of warfare on the Pannonian plains was followed by the distribution of feudal lands and re-colonization. The feudal lords - the greatest among them first the Amadejs and then the Széchys - settled their lands primarily with the local Slovene population, with Germans on the western border and Hungarians to the east as part of the migrations from the time of the establishment of the Örség defense territory. Due to the prevalence of Slovene settlement the area was also called Tótság during the Middle Ages. The largest feudal holding in upper Prekmurje was formed around the castle in Gornja Lendava (Grad). An important road ran through the region from Mono±ter to Nem±ka vrata (Gederovci) and over Kriµarka street through Calovci towards Zalalövöj.

Most of Prekmurje's Protestants (Evangelicals and some Calvinists in Motvarjevci) today live in Goričko, and one of the first organized Protestant communities during the Reformation was at St. Benedikt (Kančevci), where a monastery operated during the Middle Ages. The Counter-Reformation and the Turkish raids greatly thinned the population, and this was followed by new colonization in the 17th and 18th centuries. Among the new feudal lords the Bátthyányis and Nádasdyis were most important, and the new settlers included Jews, while the first Protestant diocese after the introduction of the tolerance law was formed in Puconci.

In the second half of the 19th century, the land discharges, which turned the serfs into indentured servants, were especially important for Goričko as a land of extensive farming. Here we find the beginnings of mass workforce migrations, both seasonal and permanent. At the turn of the century one third of the population of Goričko left to work elsewhere, which was also fueled by vine disease, which totally destroyed the vineyards of Goričko. This picture was not essentially changed by the first agrarian reform after the annexation to Yugoslavia in 1919, and only partially by the second in 1945, and this mainly to the detriment of the deported German population on the western state border. The second half of the 20th century was characterized mainly by the daily commuting of workers to the regional center Murska Sobota, due to which all of the main roads in Goričko run north-south. This picture has only just begun to change in recent years, but Goričko is still looking for its place within the new possibilities for development which should be brought by the emergence of a borderless region.


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