5 interesting facts about the Inota thermal power plant

stories VEB2023 / Photo: Fortepan, Kálmán Ivánkay

Built in the 1950s, the Inota power plant, which had been abandoned for years standing next to the road to Veszprém, was revived in 2022 under the VEB2023 ECoC programme. The huge factory building, which once supplied electricity, and its estate have since become the setting for exciting local history tours, audiovisual productions, concerts and the INOTA Festival, debuting in 2023.

The plant provided electricity for half a century - but did much more than that. Parts of it also served as community spaces for the workers, who often spent whole days on the site. The adjacent Peace Cultural Centre also housed a dining room, a library, a cinema and a theatre, all of which are treasures of architecture and art history. The power station and its surroundings are full of interesting facts and secrets, some of which we have collected here.

  • Walking around the community centre can feel like walking into an exhibition. Why? You can see works by Aurél Bernáth, Endre Rozsda and Margit Kovács, among others, in exceptionally beautiful condition.

  • The Inota thermal power plant was the largest industrial investment in Hungary in the 1950s.At its peak, it could have provided electricity for the whole of Budapest's street lighting and tram traffic. Its three huge, impressive cooling tower, with their then innovative water-cooled technology were a revolutionary achievement, which won engineers László Heller and László Forgó the Grand Prix at the 1958 Brussels World's Fair. It was owing to Inota that these duct-shaped cooling towers soon became widespread throughout the world.

  • In the late 1950s, a few years after the power plant was completed, the Inota chocolate bar came into circulation, a nougat bar filled with extended egg barley. 

  • Writer Béla Hamvas worked on the construction of the power plant from 1951, from early morning until late at night, along with thousands of his colleagues. He wrote to a friend about this period: "Here I am among the churchless crowd. I collect the words that are most often used here, obscenities of course, and the military was a very fine place by comparison... I think few people get away with this without inner damage. The madness, the ridicule and the moral darkness are all very much the same. All of it at a frenetic pace, so that you can't even think about it."

  • Several films have been shot on the site including Hollywood productions like The Red Sparrow with Jennifer Lawrence, Blade Runner 2049 with Ryan Gosling and John Wick with Mel Gibson. 

Inota Festival

INOTA Festival is a joint initiative of the Veszprém-Balaton 2023 European Capital of Culture programme, the VC event management collective and Centrum Production. The aim of the event created by the Hungarian underground music and visual scene is to bring together Hungary's biggest event that not only features progressive music acts but also light installations, mapping and other contemporary visual art.

Just as the Inota thermal power plant - no longer in operation but still impressive in its monumentality, with three iconic cooling towers visible from afar - provided work for hundreds of people in its day, so INOTA Festival 2023, 31st August - 3rd September, will fill these spaces with a wide range of impulses, focusing above all on artists and performers whose work revolutionises genres, pushes boundaries, stimulates thinking and plants seeds of ideas in the mind.

And the project doesn't stop there: INOTA Festival's firm objective is to create a professional dialogue between representatives of various artistic disciplines and the creative industries in order to create a forward-looking, ambitious vision of the potential uses of the complex at the foot of the three iconic cooling towers.


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