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Sights of Mezőkövesd (Mezőkövesd)

With their colourful costumes, distinctive crafts and special traditions, the Matyó ethnic group has made the settlement widely known. Belonging to Mezőkövesd, the Zsóry Baths with its thermal waters and the Mezőkövesd Museum of Agricultural Machinery are both well known nationwide.

According to archaeological finds a settlement already existed at the place of the so-called 'capital of Matyóland' before the time of the Hungarian Settlement. In the 14th century it was a property of nearby Cserép Castle, while during the 15th century it belonged to Diósgyőr Castle.

Oral traditions maintain that the 'Matyó' name is derived from the name of King Matthias.

Mezőkövesd was already a significant settlement around the middle of the 18th century. The Hungarian Holy Crown was hidden from Napoleon for one night at the Mezőkövesd parish house in March 1806.


The inhabitants of Mezőkövesd and neighbouring Szentistván and Tard are called the Matyó people. They form a special ethnographic unit signified by their traditions and the fact that as Roman Catholics they live surrounded by Protestant villages.

The typical Matyó costume and embroidery has blossomed, primarily in the hands of the Mezőkövesd pattern designers since the last third of the 19th century. The exhibition of the Matyó Museum tracks this development.

Significant cultural events such as the annual Matyóland International Folk Dance Festival of Matyóland (Matyóföldi Néptáncfesztivál) organised on the first weekend of August, the Matyó Merrymaking at which the famous Matyó wedding can be experienced, and a national embroidery competition and exhibition arranged every three years, are also related to the Matyó culture.


Situated on road 3, the Zsóry Baths belongs to the town. During test drillings for oil in 1939, 72 degree Centigrade water containing large quantities of calcium and magnesium hydrogen carbonate and free carbon dioxide gushed forth from an almost 800-metre deep hole. The well was drilled on the estate of Lajos Zsóry who lent his name to the thermal baths built here. The water's healing property was confirmed and in 1983 the bath was given spa status.

Among the exhibitions of the town noteworthy is the Museum of Agricultural Machinery (Mezőgazdasági Gépmúzeum). This is the largest collection of its kind in Hungary, displaying over 2,600 tools and machines, including several very rare engines.




Zsóry Bath

North Hungary's largest and most visited open-air pools and spa is the Zsóry Baths, an independent holiday resort within the town.

Zsóry Bath MezőkövesdThe thermal water source was discovered in 1939, during exploration for crude oil. This water, rich in minerals, was declared medicinal water. A whiff of the hydrogen sulphide given off by the water's very high sulphide ion content can be sensed some distance away.

The open-air baths has grassy sunbathing areas, woodland groves and parks. The outdoor pools and thermal baths function separately.



Matyó MuseumMatyó Museum Mezőkövesd

The collection contains a wealth of objects from folk art, farming, everyday commodities, crafts and more from the town and from neighbouring Tard and Szentistván. It evokes the disappearing way of life of the Matyó ethnic group.

Everyday life and daily work are demonstrated as well as festive days. Increasing poverty since the turn of the century drove the Matyó people to undertake temporary agricultural work in faraway places. The exhibition pinpoints the tension in the contrast between their standard of living and their lavishly rich costumes and folk art.

The exhibition introduces the memories and the lifestyle of seasonal workers. It offers a glimpse into the settlement structure typical of Mezőkövesd where traditional house and garden layouts can still be traced: several generations shared one kitchen and courtyard whilst living in different houses on the same plot. The habitual commodities of the old 'clean' room (or parlour), kitchen and pantry conjure up the interior of peasant houses. Particular attention is paid to the relics of Matyó folk art, especially to the development of traditional costumes and embroidery. The museum's rarities are the reconstructions  of traditional costumes and a wedding coach loaded with the bride's dowry.


Museum of Agricultural Machinery

This is an unparalleled collection of agricultural machinery, the largest of its kind in Hungary. The approximately 2,600 exhibits include many rare engines, some of which were built at the end of the 19th century.

Mezőkövesd The collection, which includes 160 machines powered by internal combustion engines or by steam engines, 100 other agricultural machines, 50 agricultural tools as well as wrought iron peasant implements, a wind engine and an ice-making device is organised into 31 sections. Almost all of the exhibits are technological curiosities.

The collection has over 30 large, still working petrol-engined traction units that weigh 2 to 3 tonnes each. Agricultural machine engineering is represented by machinery manufactured between 1880 and 1950. One of the most interesting sections of the exhibition is devoted to power machines. The first part of this display shows water engines. One of the engines used for powering mills and hemp-breakers is displayed in operation. The power machinery hall also has a large number of ornamental wrought iron pieces.

The collection was created and donated to the nation over 30 years ago by János Hajdú Ráfis. He placed the continuously growing collection on his own plot of land and in the yard of the neighbouring house (which was also owned by the Ráfis family at the time). The collection received museum status in 1992. The former peasant yard of the family is an integral part of the museum: it has an old fashioned cowshed heated by an open fire and a horse shelter, both from the 19th century, as well as a granary and a few pigsties from the early 20th century.

The museum has disabled access.



The tiny crofts, the randomly winding streets with a few small squares and the majority of the buildings of Hadas give a genuine picture of Matyó architecture and lifestyle of 150-200 years ago.

The 'hadas' family structure is actually a kinship. Families related to each other by blood ties were called 'had' in Hungarian, 'kinsfolk' in English. Several generations stayed together set around one courtyard and sharing the same kitchen. This particular part of Mezőkövesd still retains the old arrangement, hence the name: Hadas.

Standing in the heart of the area, the Dancing Barn is the venue of talks and dances. It is surrounded with peasant houses, and other heritage buildings typical for the region. The home of the excellent folk artist Bori Kisjankó hosts a memorial room. Built around 1850, the house still retains features of the old settlement style and 'hadas' family structure with its tripartite division: room-kitchen-larder.

The houses of the old village centre create the distinctive atmosphere and today host a pottery, a weavery and a lace-making workshop. The kitchens and rooms furnished with hand painted furniture are decorated with embroidered textiles.


Kisjankó Bori Memorial House

Kisjankó Bori (1867-1954) was perhaps the most famous pattern-drawing woman of Matyó embroidery. The memorial house showcases her personal belongings as well as her work. The Matyó interior also provides a glimpse into the life of the Mezőkövesd seasonal agricultural workers.

Pattern-drawing women had an important role in creating the freehand drawn patterns to be embroidered. One of the most famous drawers, Borbála Molnár alias Mrs Gáspár Márton, was called Bori "Little John" (Kisjankó) after her grandfather's nickname. In addition to commemorating the life and work of the famous tracer and Master of Folk Art, the Kisjankó Bori Memorial House also displays period Mezőkövesd folk art and furnishing.

The creative activities of Bori included all the great phases of Matyó embroidery. Her and her apprentices' art contributed greatly in creating a new original line, breaking away from the traditional symmetric compositions of previous styles. Her art is marked by a rich, original set of forms based on old, traditional patterns.

Upon prior request the memorial house can be visited outside opening hours.


Roman Catholic church of St. Ladislaus

In the 18th century the 15th-century Gothic church was enlarged with a crypt and a Baroque nave. Its tower has been reconstructed several times, most recently towards the end of the 1950's.

One of the side chapels of the church dedicated to St Ladislaus was once the sanctuary of the original 15th-century church.

Seccos inside the church depict the world of Matyó people, works of local painter, István Takács who depicted his figures in traditional Matyó costumes.



Accommodation in Mezőkövesd:


Map of Mezőkövesd:



Sights of Bogács, Admin

Sights of BogácsThe settlement is well known for its healing thermal waters and the wines produced in the area. The resort that has sprung up around the thermal baths attracts visitors to the area with gastronomic and cultural events. tovább »

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