Mecseknádasd lies along highway no. 6., on the north border of Baranya county. There are settlements with a rich historic past to be found in its vicinity (Pécsvárad, Cikó-Máriaszéplak, Szászvár, Márévár). The forest-covered, romantic nature protection area around it has attracted many tourists until now. Although only sporadic archaeological relics have been excavated in its area from pre-settlement times, it had been continuously inhabited since the Neolithic age. One of the most important routes of the province of Pannonia was leading here during the times of the Roman Empire. Due to its favourable position, it was also inhabited at the time of the Hungarian settlement.
The settlement was known under the names of Nadasth, Nadosth, Nadas in the documents preserved in archives, and also Rácnádasd and Nadasgye due to the Serbs, who fled from the Turks to this territory from the Balkans in the XVI–XVIII centuries. Later, it became Nádasd until 1910, then Püspöknádasd between 1910 and 1950 referring to the bishop’s right of presentation, and finally its name became Mecseknádasd after 1950.
The earliest mention of the settlement goes back to a land-grant document on Máza by king András II in 1235. This document, preserved in a copy, retains the memory of the British princes who received a donation from Saint Stephen in Nádasd (“terra Britanorum de Nadasth”). As legend has it, they came to our country as refugees due to disputes over the throne. One of them named Edward married Saint Stephen’s daughter, and Margaret was born from their marriage in Nádasd (1045–46?), who went back to England with her parents later. Her life changed when she married Malcolm, the king of Scotland. She was canonized by Pope Innocent IV in 1251 for her charitable way of life, and she became the patron-saint of Scotland after 1693. Several domestic and foreign historic sources dealt with her romantic plight. Some people considered the former Réka-castle standing in the area next to Nádasd (XIII century) as Margaret’s birth-place, others thought it was in the territory of the so called Schlossberg rising over the village (a church and building from the XIV century built on top of some XI–XII century ruins). The findings of the excavations to date confirm the latter scene.
Saint Stephen’s Chapel, surrounded by a cemetery and a wall, the earliest medieval relic of the settlement, was built in the XIII century, and it was extended during the XIV century. Originally, it was erected in memory of Saint Ladislas. The title of the church was preserved until the settlement of the Germans at the beginning of the XVIII century. The church belonged to the archdeaconry of Tolna in 1330.
The medieval owners of Nádasd were the bishop of Kórogy and his family, the Maróthi family, and later Miklós Monoszlai Csupor. According to historical records, it was also owned by Janus Pannonius, the bishop of Pécs in the XV century.
Nádasd was an oppidum during the Turkish rule, and its inhabitants paid tax from three parts of the town. Two waste areas, Berekalja in the north-east, and Ürhepuszta in the east belonged to the settlement at the beginning of the 1600-ies.
The indigenous Hungarians living in Nádasd were converted to the Protestant religion, which came from the area of the Drávaszög. The Calvinists held their services in the medieval Saint Ladislas church during the Turkish rule. The tax-, and soldiers’ pay-records from these times suggest that the castle of Nádasd represented a significant force in the vicinity. The Turks reconstructed the church and the Catholic church in the Schlossberg. Local folk traditions and legends have preserved the memory of the Turkish times (Türkenbrunnen, the golden carriage of the princess).
Following the Turkish rule, German settlers populated Nádasd after 1718. The first sensuses prove that arable land was scarce in the area covered by hills, and the flood-area of a brook. It was only in Berekalja and Ürhepuszta where better quality lands were cultivated. Therefore, the villagers turned the earlier wine producing areas on the hill above the village into cultivable areas, and they also planted new vineyards. Local people operated more and more mills with the water of the brook traversing the village. Natural resources to be found in the area (wood, stone, clay) were used by craftsmen, and because they could not earn a living from their craft at early times, they also engaged in agriculture and animal breeding.
During the settlement of feudal land ownership, cotters were largely given land areas unsuitable for farming, therefore a lengthy legal procedure was started between the bishopric and the village from the beginning of the 1800-ies until the end of the century.
The most important buildings of the village (a parish-church, a chateau, a chapel of the Monthly Blessed Virgin, a school, and a parsonage) were erected under bishop György Klimó. After the Compromise of 1867, the self-government of the village was re-organised.
The school originally operated under the supervision of the parson, in the management of the church, but later a public school was organised. Teaching in the German language, as a mother-tongue was introduced after 1935. A remedial school (a so called Sunday school) was also operated at the beginning of the XX century, and later Julianeum a correctional-educational institute started to function in the management of the church at the earlier bishop’s chateau, which was followed by the Kalor, which was a people’s college.
Different handicrafts were practised in the village. There were potters, coopers, stone-masons, weavers, and water-millers, who covered larger and larger market areas in the XIX century, and could earn an independent living from their crafts. After the economic changes in the 1920-ies, they took on work at different plants in Pécs, and also in the mines.
After their arrival, the German settlers renewed religious traditions, and mainly the homage paid to patron saints. The population preserved their religious traditions, religious societies, and popular missions, etc. until their resettlement. The celebration of Saint Margaret of Scotland has been recently revived for the purposes of tradition making. This made a good opportunity to establish a relationship between Mecseknádasd, Edinburgh and Dunfermline.
Traditional German costumes were preserved in the XVIII–XIX centuries. Mecseknádasd belonged to the “black Germans” from the point of view of costumes. This, however, was changed slowly due to the impacts of urban citizenship, and the extended network maintained by the craftsmen. Costumes made from pre-fabricated materials, and designed in the style of civil fashion became widely-spread.
The structure of the settlement developed from the remainder of the medieval village of haphazardly arranged houses into properly arranged lines of houses from the middle of the XVIII century. Architecture preserved the original German structure (fachwerk) since the early settlement times, which can only be seen in traces today. The fashion of houses with long yards and porticos was developed after the end of the XIX century.