The Plum Road - Hungary
The Plum Road - Szabolcs Szatmar Bereg county
Szabolcs-Szatmar-Bereg county is the eastern part of Hungary, borders with Ukraine and Romania.
The flat land of river Tisza is home of many old heritage, small villages, old churches. Plum road is a thematic road of the countryside of Szabolcs county as it is famous for its plum trees and plum jam, palinka.
Church of Takos
The small village along the Tisza River is the place of one of the most beautiful and precious relics of rural architecture, a gem of the "peasant Baroque" style, a church built in 1766, and often referred to as "the barefooted Notre-Dame." The church, which has wattle-and-daub walls and shingled roof is barely larger than a village house, one can almost reach its ceiling with an extended hand. It has simple dirt floor. The small churchhouse is famous for the unique atmosphere created by the furniture and equipment. The elements of the furniture, the wooden sunk-panelled ceiling, consisting of 58, hand-painted boards, decorated with flowers, the pulpit and the benches, were all created by different craftsmen, but the interior of the church still makes a uniform impression. The church and the wooden bell cage standing in front of it were restored to their original state in 1986.
Church of Csaroda
The next stop in our church tour is another wonderful example of medieval church architecture, standing on a hill surrounded by Csaronda Creek. The church was erected in late Romanesque style in the 13th century. The church also used to serve as a fortress for the local community. The interior of the small building is decorated with medieval murals, depicting figures and late Renaissance paintings of flowers. A bell cage of oak stands next to the church. It follows the pattern of bell cages constructed in the 17th and 18th centuries.
A rare industrial relic of Tarpa is the dry mill, in which animals were driving the millstones. The tools and equipment used for measuring and grinding the grain-crop are still seen in the millhouse. The mill was restored in 1983.
Another significant sight in the village is the Protestant church, built in the 14th century, with its highly valuable Gothic murals. The coat of arms of the Rakoczys with the famous dragon in it is seen above the Gothic stone arch of the entrance.
The regional museum is also worth a visit. A part of the ground floor of the two-storey building is occupied by an exhibition of local history. The emphasis is on the times before Prince Rakoczi's War of Independence (1703-1711). Special display cases contain the relics recovered from a Neolithic settlement next to the village and from the graves of the times of the Hungarian Conquest (896) found on a hill at Tarpa. The larger part of the ground floor is devoted to the memorial exhibition of the life and work of Endre Bajcsy-Zsilinszky. The politician, executed by the Nazis, was an MP for Tarpa. The most famous native of the village, Tamas Esze, Brigadier General in Prince Rakoczi's War of Independence, also has an exhibition. The flag of the village is on display in a special glass case. An exhibition of folklore is placed on the first floor.
The ancient Protestant cemetery is unique in the world. In the ethnographers' opinion the almost two-meter high, boat-shaped grave-posts preserve the memory of the ancient Ugric custom of burying the dead in boats. The tomb of Ferenc Kolcsey, the famous poet, is on a hill in the middle of the cemetery. Kolcsey's tomb is surrounded with white neo-Classical columns. The great poet of the Reform Age lived in the village and wrote many of his famous poems here, including the National Anthem of Hungary. The tomb was fully restored, and unveiled on 16 August 2001.
The permanent exhibition at the Cultural Centre commemorates the time Kolcsey spent at the village and the Anthem he wrote here in 1823.
The industrial relic of national reputation is the water mill, standing in idyllic surroundings. The predecessor of today's water mill is mentioned in documents dated in 1752, the days of Empress Maria Theresia. All the three paddle wheels were driving millstones. Two were grinding wheat, the third one was usually grinding corn and other grain-crop. The mill was modernized in 1927. Although it is no longer used regularly as a mill, it is fully operational and visitors may see the wheels and the millstones at work.
The historic church of the town was the Roman Catholic or Minorite church, built around 1480. In 1587 Petrasko, Romanian Vaivod, marauded the village, and the church suffered significant damages. It was restored by the Minorite Order, the members of which returned to Nyirbator in the 18th century. That was when the church received its Gothic-Baroque form as we know it today. Its best known altar is the Krucsay Altar. It has an interesting history. It was made to the order of Janos Krucsay, whose first wife, Borbala Tolvay, was not a model of conjugal fidelity. Krucsay accused her of adultery at the County Court, and the woman was sentenced to death. Only three months after her execution, Janos Krucsay married again, and perhaps as an act of appeasement, he had the altar made.
The Istvan Bathory Museum is found in the building of the former Minorite Monastery. The museum has an extremely wealthy collection of relics of archeology, industry, ethnography, numismatics, science and folklore. The permanent exhibition titled "The Centuries of Nyibator" is devoted to history and cultural life of Nyirbator and the southern part of the Nyirseg region. Tools and instruments of craftsmanship are found in high numbers as well. The collection from the heritage of the Bathory family is also significant.
The other historic church of the town is the Protestant church. It is a late Gothic building, built by Vaivod Istvan Bathory from 1588 to 1511. The church, which was meant to serve as the Mausoleum of the Bathorys is a masterpiece of medieval architecture. The nave consists of one single large hall, to the south-western corner of which a small tower is attached, and the two-storey sacristy is located at the north-eastern side. On entering the church we find ourselves in the well-lit hall, and the famous reticulated vaulting, like a fine lace, is floating above us at a height of 20 m. The Renaissance carving of the church are not uniform they were probably made in Buda. Istvan Bathory, Lord Chief Justice of Hungary and author of psalms, rests under a carved stone tomb in the sacristy, next to the red marble tomb of Istvan Bathory, Prince of Transylvania. A late Renaissance wooden bell tower (1640) stands next to the church.
How to get there
From Budapest, you can take an Intercity train to Nyiregyhaza and change to bus to Vasarosnameny. From Vasarosnameny, you have to hire a private cab. Or take our transfer service and we guide you along the trail. Contact us for fares.