Round trip throughout Hungary's most promising cultural destination

The Hungarian Tourism Agency organised a study tour to the "EDEN" destination in the Upper Tisza region on 16–17 November, a region of the Carpathian basin that is most densely studded with medieval churches.

The region won the award this year for being Hungary's most promising cultural travel destination; now other EDEN applicants and previous winners had the opportunity to get to know this area during the special tour together.

In the entry entitled "The heritage of Tündérmező – Trail of Medieval Churches in the Upper-Tisza region" the Panel of Judges particularly appreciated that minor spectacles and cross-border attractions had also been included in the chain of experiences. As far as medieval churches are concerned, the region is one of the richest in the Carpathian basin; in addition to the project, it also chains other attractions on the thematic trail, showcasing for tourists the most spectacular natural and cultural heritage of the Upper Tisza region through heritage tours.

On the first day of the study trip, in the heart of the Bereg in Vásárosnamény, the EDEN award-winning hosts welcomed the participants, and then the team departed to explore the medieval churches of historic Szatmár. After the Calvinist church simply called "barefoot Notre Dame," visitors could view the other, justifiably renowned pearl of the Upper Tisza region, Csaroda, with its smiling saints. This is the region where the plum preserves and plum pálinka is made from the famous Penyige plum. Before lunch, the guests were shown how Tarpa pálinka is made and sampled the famous local spirit. The menu began with knotted-noodle soup, the most well known dish of the Szatmár–Bereg region, followed by the Szabolcs version of stuffed cabbage, which uses fresh tomato juice as its base ingredient; the dessert was dusted plum pastry. After lunch, the trip continued through the Szatmár countryside to the Zsigmond Móricz Memorial House, where visitors got a glimpse into the life story of one of the defining figures of Hungarian literature in this tiny, clay and straw, three-room abode. The guests did not even have to leave their accommodation at the Hunor Hotel to view game animals from 5 continents. After dinner they could recharge and relax after a long day in the wellness section of the hotel.

On the second day of the study trip the local parish priest showed the burial post cemetery of Szatmárcseke, famous for its wooden grave markers. The grave of Ferenc Kölcsey is also located in the cemetery, consisting of almost 600 man-sized, dark burial posts symbolising stylised human heads. After viewing the Túristvándi water-mill, the painting of the Fall, and then in the Europa-Nostra award-winning church of Gyügye, the boarded ceiling's naive artworks told their story. In Cégénydányád, the Kölcsey-Kende Mansion, built in the classicist style and located in the area under the environmental protection of the Hortobágy National Park, provided a glimpse into the aristocratic lifestyle. Lunch was a genuine village feasting table with Szatmár–Bereg dishes in the Cégénydányád barn. On the way home, the study trip concluded with a visit to the late-Gothic Calvinist church of Nyírbátor.

The study trip, conducted and organised by HTA, contributes to the dissemination of innovative tourism best practices, implementing a dialogue with market actors and professional organisations.