Route of Medieval Churches

A thematic route was set up in Szabolcs–Szatmár–Bereg and Szatmár counties under the name "Route of Medieval Churches" with the aim of providing in-depth information for visitors about the unique religious and cultural heritage of the Carpathian Basin.

From the area of Szabolcs–Szatmár–Bereg county, twenty churches, and from Szatmár county, ten churches are part of the trail of medieval, which consists of the system of many small villages consisting of numerous tiny communities in the waterborne areas of the Szatmár Plain. As a consequence of the extreme geographic conditions, destructive floods and regular ground water damage, in addition to the settlement structure, the traditions of local communities and the natural heritage have also been preserved and remain to this day to an exceptional degree, visible reminders for posterity. The countryside that is surrounded by these waters has retained its unique aspect and atmosphere, as well as its medieval built heritage Due to poverty and isolation, entirely unique architectural solutions have developed, mainly traceable through church architecture.

The small size of the churches, the wooden bell towers placed alongside them, the decorative boarded ceilings, the painted galleries and the carved, richly decorated pulpits all evoke the unique atmosphere of the medieval churches of historical Szatmár.

What makes the Trail of Medieval Churches a thematic trail? It can be considered a thematic trail from two aspects: from a heritage tourism and from a religion tourism perspective.

The trail of medieval churches as a heritage tourism attraction: for the most part, it includes churches of medieval origin that are under protection as national monuments, and represent the characteristic church building traditions and character of the historical Szatmár region. The visitor can thoroughly get to know this unparalleled architectural and cultural heritage, unique to the Carpathian basin: it is a memento of religious history and visiting it also translates into a spiritual experience.

The most significant cultural monuments of this region include numerous castles, palaces and mansions. The earthen fortress of Szabolcs is one of the most significant monuments of our country from before the Hungarian conquest. The industrial history monuments of the region (the Túristvándi water-mill, the Tarpa horse-mill) are also noteworthy.

The Upper Tisza region is the birthplace of several Hungarian literary geniuses and some of the most influential works of Hungarian literary history. The national anthem was written in Szatmárcseke and Ferenc Kölcsey was laid to rest in the local cemetery (unique in Europe), famous for its wooden grave markers. The poet Sándor Petőfi was inspired by the region and it was on this "tündérsziget" ("fairy island") that the writer Zsigmond Móricz had lived the happiest years of his childhood in Tiszacsécse. György Bessenyei was born in Tiszaberce, and his memorial house can be viewed there. An eminent Hungarian writer, Gyula Krúdy, was born in Nyíregyháza. Across the border, Szatmár county also proudly hosts numerous literary history memorials. (Căuaș, Săuca, Carei)

This region can be called the home of the plum, as the plum preserve and plum pálinka of Szatmár is made from the famous Penyige plum. Excellent pálinka tasting houses are located here, numerous gastronomy festivals are built upon apples, plums and cultivated plants, the defining elements of the region's cultural tourism.

Founded in 2009, the trail of medieval churches does not merely string the medieval churches along a thematic path; with its heritage tour, it also represents the most spectacular and cultural heritage of the Upper Tisza region.

The key elements of the region's culture-related tourism offer: Calvinist churches (Csaroda, Tákos, Lónya, Márokpapi, Vámosatya, Tarpa, Nagyszekeres, Vámosoroszi, Kölcse, Túristvándi, Szamosújlak, Gyügye, Sonkád, Nagyar, Csenger, Szamostatárfalva, Csengersima, Gacsály, Szabolcs, Laskod, Vaja, Anarcs, Nyírbátor, Nyírmihálydi, Piricse), Roman Catholic churches (Ófehértó, Nyírtbéltelek), Máriapócs Pilgrimage Church, Tarpa mill, Túristvándi water-mill, Szatmárcseke cemetery with the boat-shaped wooden grave markers, Móricz Zsigmond memorial house in Tiszacsécse, Szabolcs earthen fortress, Vay Castle in Vaja, Tomcsányi Castle in Vásárosnamény, Báthori Castle and wax-works in Nyírbátor, Andrássy Castle in Tiszadob, Luby Mansion in Nagyar, Mudrány Mansion in Szabolcs, Forgách Castle in Mándok, Kölcsey-Kende Mansion in Cégénydányád, Kállay Mansion in Kállósemjén, Dégenfeld Castle in Baktalórántház, Lónyay-Odescalchi Castle in Tuzsér.

Attractions of the Sub-Carpathian area: Horjani rotunda, Chetfalva Calvinist church, Berehove historical city centre, Vynohradiv Kankó Castle and Perényi Castle, Muzhijevo church ruins, Khust Castle, Palad-Komarivci, Vyshkovo.

Attraction of the Partium region: Calvinist churches (Acâș, Berea, Ciumești), Căpleni Roman Catholic church and crypt, Tășnad, Carei Károlyi Castle, Ardud, Ady Endre.

Communities involved in the cooperation: Szabolcs–Szatmár–Bereg county.