History develops, art stands still
The first Hallers
The city of Nürnberg in Franconia (today Bavaria) is considered to be their city of origin. The first Hallers – Frigyes, Hildebrand, György and Vilmos – have been mentioned in documents from 1198. It is not known how were they related, and it is also unknown, which one of them is the ancestor of the family – if any one of them is at all. Ulrich Haller, a master of the mint from the XIIIth century is considered the patriarch of the family. Members of the family became one of the most influential patrician families of Nürnberg and the nearby towns.
Hungarian relations of the Haller family
Hungarian relations of the Haller family began with Sen. Haller Ruprecht, who got the right from king Ulászló II (1490-1516) to buy land in Hungary for 4000 forints. One of his sons, Ruprecht junior became related with the representatives of the patricians in middle-age Buda. His son, Peter moved to Transylvania and founded the Transylvanian branch of the family. Peter Haller, judge and counselor at Szeben, obtained the first estates for the family in Transylvania. His son, Gábor became the brother-in-law of Bocskai István, who later became Prince of Transylvania. Gábor’s son, István obtained the estates at Szentpál and Marosugra in 1609. István Haller started constructing his castle at Szentpál in 1610. His son, János Haller was a politician and writer, known for translating the Hármas História.
His son, István Haller obtained the rank of baron for the family in 1699 and his sons, László, Gábor and János got the title of earl in 1713. Gábor was the one to inherit Szentpál and Ugra after dividing the family fortune. Gábor married Klára Károlyi, the daughter of Sándor Károlyi, a kuruc general. After the early death of Gábor Haller in 1723, his widowed wife led the estate and raised their children, László and Gábor on her own. After dividing the family fortune, László got Ugra and Gábor got Szentpál. This way the first member of the family to move to Ugra was earl László Haller. He became the sheriff of Máramaros county at an early age. As a fan of culture, he started collecting books at the castle in Ugra. He translated to Hungarian one of the main works of the enlightenment, Fénelon’s Télémaque. His son, Gábor, wanted to continue his father’s cultural work. His private library was one of the largest in the area, fans of French culture would borrow French literature from him. Ferenc Kazinczy, who visited Ugra and met Gábor Haller in Szeben, said that he was half French, half Hungarian. The earl wrote many poems and exchanged letters with some of the most important figures of literature and culture of his time, like Ferenc Kazinczy, Gábor Döbrentei and Ábrahám Barcsay. During his political career, he was the sheriff of Küküllő county and treasurer of Transylvania. His son, Gábor Haller didn’t have any political titles, and neither did his nephew, György Haller – they dedicated their lives to the economic development of Ugra (in the 1830’s they had a greenhouse at Ugra, where they even grew pineapples).
Death of earl Ferenc Haller
In 1875, with the death of earl Ferenc Haller, the family’s Szentpál branch died out. Ferenc Haller gave the estate of Szentpál to György Haller junior, so the two estates were at the same owner once again. At this time Ugra lost its importance and became a secondary residence besides the castle at Szentpál. The history of the castle at Ugra can be traced back to the XVIIth century: the current wine cellar might be keeping the history of this early mansion-like building. The current building has been built around the XVIII-XIX-th century. Its stile is reminiscent of the late baroque.
After 1949 many institutions were headquartered in the building during the communist era: schools, boarding schools and the council had its seat here as well.
After the building has been returned to its original owners by the state, the Haller family sold it to the Fóris family from Targu Mures. Since 2011 the castle functions as a hotel.