history valley – the rural bódva region

The “History Valley” project gives an overview of past and present in the Bódva valley. Eleven villages offer fifteen thematic exhibitions in order to offer the visitor a glimpse of local heritage.

The History Valley locations can be visited every day from 10 until 17 h, from 15 March until 15 September. Off-season visits are by appointment only. Contact Person: János Kabdebó. Contact Telephone: +30 406-9567. Admission fees: adults 600.-, students and pensioners 400.-

Of course Irota EcoLodge is happy to assist in case language problems occur.

Boldva: “Lo, dust and ashes” - the medieval monk's life

The church, the only remaining building remains of the 12th century Benedictine abbey of Boldva, is one of the most important Romanesque monuments of the country. Next to it, the original foundations layout of the monastery can be seen. The exhibition shows what is contained in the Funeral Oration (‘Halotti Beszéd’, the oldest written tekst in Hungarian) and what characterizes the Benedictine order. Visitors to the monastery may sample the smells and tastes of the adjoining herbal garden as well as try the locally produced herbal teas.

Borsodszirák: two exhibitions in one place: “Painted House” - peasant-baroque house and costumes, and “Bartók and Us”

At the millennium year exhibition (Budapest 1896, in honour of thousand years of Hungarian settlement in the Carpathian basin), Borsod county was represented by means of folk art and costumes from the villages of Mezőkövesd and Borsodszirák.
The exhibition is at the former bailiff house, and visitors may try on traditional costume pieces as well as take a peek into the world of the village and the region through embroidery and peasant Baroque house culture. Borsodszirák is the only town in present-day Hungary where graves of famous composer Béla Bartók's ancestors can be found. Bartók's great-grandfather was born here. In the Bartók memorial room, visitors can view relics and listen to Bartók’s music.

Damak: “Gardens and fruit” - traditional fruit processing

At the outskirts of Damak, grape and fruit growing goes back several centuries. Nearby, the old wine cellars can still be seen, while more rows of winehouses have been built later on. The centuries-old traditions of processing grapes and fruit are still alive today. In the exhibition room, visitors learn more about the traditional grape and fruit varieties, about traditional ways of fruit-picking, as well as about old and new processing technologies.

Szendrőlád: “Uzso páni - clear water” - wandering gypsy life

In Szendrőlád, Gypsies have lived for hundreds of years. The showroom is a place where Roma culture, especially music, visual arts and crafts are presented and created and is first and foremost intended as a place of understanding. The visitor can also try out the instruments, learn Gypsy songs and stories and sample traditional Roma cuisine.

Szendrő: “Defence fortress life” – in the fortress of Szendrő

The Szendrő fortress was built by high-ranking nobleman György Bebek in the 1300s, but Transylvanian ruler Ferenc Rákóczi II ordered its destruction in 1707. Where once stood a thick-walled, octagonal tower in the centre of the fortress, an observation tower has been built. A modest billboard exhibition in the castle tower depicts the history of the fortress, the changes of its ownership and shape as well as images typical for life at the defence line.

Szendrő: “American Hungarians” - in memory of emigrants

In the 20th century, thousands from Szendrő and around emigrated to America. 25-30% of them returned home a few years later. The exhibition aspires to commemorate the emigrants – and partly the returnees – from the region. Visitor can peek into moments of their trip, their work overseas and their lives after their return, as well as into some of their individual destinies.

Szalonna: “Bódva Valley artists”

One of the most significant monumental churches of the Romanesque periods in Hungary is located in Szalonna. In the parsonage next to the church, prominent religious and secular artists of the region are paid homage to.

Szinpetri: “Gutenberg Galaxy” - book manufactory and the world's largest book

The restored water mill of Szinpetri hosts a pulp shredder these days. Everything necessary for the craft of papermaking can be found here as well as manual book printing equipment. The world's biggest book is on display here and was printed on handmade paper, using traditional technologies. It features in The Guinness Book of Records, has 346 pages and is bound in real leather. It measures 4.18 by 3.76 meters and weighs 1,420 kg. It is entitled “Our Fragile Natural Heritage” (Hungarian: “Törékeny Természeti Örökségünk”) and deals with the flora and fauna of the Aggtelek National Park.

Komjáti: “Beauty carved in wood” - the wooden porches and gates of the Bódva Valley

One of the attractions of Komjáti and its surroundings is that popular architectural heritage is still relatively dominant in its streets. Even newly-constructed houses boast traditional motives in their wooden porches and gates.

Tornaszentandrás: “Peasant practices”

In Tornaszentandrás, some nineteenth-century elements of farming are still alive. Descendants of former German settlers, proud of their Gothic church which is unique in Hungary, cultivate their gardens and keep cattle tot this day. At the exhibition, all these practices have been collected and may still prove useful to those interested in running an environmentally conscious and efficient household.

Bódvaszilas: “Baroque manor life”

In Bódvaszilas, a row of estate buildings has survived. The most significant among them is the Estate Granary. At the exhibition site in the basement of the estate bailiff’s mansion, some elements of Baroque era gastronomy are put on display.

Hidvégardó: “Life on the border”

Hidvégardó is the northernmost village of Hungary from the time of the Treaty of Trianon (1920) onwards, when Hungary lost two thirds of its territory. These days, it is situated on the Hungarian-Slovak border. The exhibition is housed in the Gedeon mansion and presents the background of the border changes and their impact on everyday life.

Other attractions in the area, with free entrance:

Martonyi: ruins of the 14th century Pauline Monastery

Located approx. 3.5 km from the village of Martonyi in the southern part of the Aggtelek National Park, on the Szalonna-Rudabánya hills is the Three Mountain Pauline church and monastery ruin. A new roof was recently put in place. Inside you can admire the trunks of two truly enormous trees.

Szögliget castle ruins, deserted village of Derenk

The forested mountains of the Aggtelek Karst rise at both sides of the Ménes stream at the northern border of Szögliget. On the south side of the valley rises the Old Fortress Plateau (Hungarian: Óvár-tető), opposite the Castle Hill (Várhegy) the walls of the Szád fortress crown the 460 m high rocky plateau. The Szád fortress is located next to the remains of the village of Derenk, whose Polish-speaking inhabitants were resettled by dictator Miklós Horthy during the Second World War because he wanted to turn the area into one big hunting ground. Every year in July, hundreds of people gather to commemorate the vanished village and its culture at the so-called ‘Derenki Búcsú’.

In Bódvalenke, mural paintings have been applied to the outside walls of many houses in this deprived Gypsy/Roma village as part of a community building and anti-discrimination project.

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