Békés County is an administrative division in south-eastern Hungary, on the border with Romania, having perfectly flat areas, with one or two exceptions.
The area has been inhabited since 5000-4000 BC, ethnic groups who belong to the Kris culture lived here. The current territory of the county dates back to 1950, when Békéscsaba became the county seat. The administrative unit is sometimes seen as Hungary's store-room because , due to the excellent quality of the soil, most of the crops are produced here (corn, wheat, barley). Moreover, the agronomists also deal with breeding and raising livestock such as pigs, poultry and waterfowl.
Békés County is the home of several nations and, according to the latest census, the percentage of the minorities has increased to more than 6%. Slovaks live in the central part of the county, Romanians in Kétegyháza and Méhkerék, Serbs in Battonya, while Roma communities (Gypsy ethnic groups) live in a higher percentage in the north-eastern part of the country. There was a significant number of Swabians who lived in Gyula until World War II, when the majority was evacuated from the area.
Békéscsaba, the county seat with a population of 64.400 inhabitants, was first mentioned in the XIVth century. It was completely destroyed during the Tatar raids, but later it was rebuilt. Originally it was known as the village of Csaba and there were 19 small settlements where now the town stands. Békéscsaba is an important cultural and art center, with a notable number of museums. Most of the tourists visit the city during the Csaba Sausage Festival, a popular culinary event which is held in the last or penultimate weekend of October.
Although Békéscsaba is the capital of the county, the most attractive city is Gyula , due to the Gyula Castle and wellness center. An important place of interest for tourists is The Almássy Castle of Gyula Castle, which has recently been renovated. The exhibition halls can be visited regularly. Having grown weary of the monotony of everyday life, tourists may use the facilities offered by the wellness center to relax ( thermal water, sauna, swimming pools).
The wildlife contributes to the tourism potential of the county, which is rich in small game species, attracting not only local hunters, but also foreign ones.
Békés is also considered the citadel of gastro-tourism since many delicacies are prepared here, some of them genuine Hungarian products. These include the Kőrösi fish soup, the Swabian soup, Csabai scones, pancakes filled with cheese and the above mentioned Csabai sausages. All these delicious specialties should be preceeded by a shot of the traditional drink , plum palinka.