Two entries jointly won the title of "Hungary's most promising cultural travel destination."

At the closing conference held on 15 September 2017, a professional Panel of Judges chose the winner of the Hungarian competition issued by the European Commission, entitled "European Destinations of Excellence".

The call issued in the topic of "Hungary's most promising cultural travel destinations," was jointly won by Szabolcs Szatmár Bereg Megyei Területfejlesztési és Környezetgazdálkodási Ügynökség Nonprofit Kft.'s "Heritage of Tündérmező – the trail of medieval churches in the Upper-Tisza region" and Irány Pécs Nonprofit Kft's entry titled  "KULTÚR(K)ALAND". According to the decision of the Panel of Judges, the Heritage of Tündérmező entry – developed through trans-border cooperation – can represent Hungary in the EU in the "European Destinations of Excellence" category.

Conducted with European Union funding, on this occasion, in a cultural subject, the announcement of the EDEN call was made by HTA, the domestic party implementing the project, under the title "In Search of a Muse from the Countryside – Monuments Destinations, Ingenious Attractions." The goal of the Hungarian competition is to select and award tourism destinations and tourism cooperation, which welcome visitors by presenting their tourism attractions, associated with their local, tangible cultural offerings, at a high standard, while also helping to ease the seasonality problems.

17 entries were submitted in response to HTA's call for proposal; the selection of the winner took place in a professional closing conference. At the event held on September 15, the destinations with the top five scores had the opportunity to introduce themselves, after which the panel of judges made the final decision in a closed session. It was the first time that two applicants had been jointly awarded the grand prize. Thus, according to the decision of the panel of judges, the winner is the KULTÚR(K)ALAND entry by Irány Pécs Nonprofit Kft., based on the cooperation of the cities of Pécs, Siklós and Szigetvár; which also means that Pécs has become an EDEN award-winning destination for the third time. In 2017, however, the entry of the other winner, "The heritage of Tündérmező – Trail of Medieval Churches in the Upper-Tisza region" by the Szabolcs Szatmár Bereg Megyei Területfejlesztési és Környezetgazdálkodási Ügynökség Nonprofit Kft will be submitted to the European Commission, which means that this destination can use the title of "European Destination of Excellence."

Members of the panel of judges:

Dr Tamás Balogh, Deputy State Secretariat for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of the Prime Minister's Office, Public Administration Senior Advisor

Anikó Herter Krucsai, Ministry of Human Capacities, Deputy State Secretary for Culture

Dr Péter Princzinger, Hungarian Tourism Agency, Deputy CEO for Tourism Information and Innovation

 

As Dr Péter Princzinger, the Deputy CEO of HTA explained at the award ceremony, the reason for the judges' decision was to provide the best possible help for the development of domestic tourism with the tools available, given that Pécs – following two prior victories – was already given the promotional opportunity that arises from the exceptional Europe-wide exposure. 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. The winner is promoted in international markets through the opportunity to appear on the joint European portal (http://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/eden/), while it is also included in the networking project which helps the professional cooperation of tourism destinations. In order to develop the marketing tools of both award-winning domestic winners, HTA is making a contribution of 2 million forints and the winners also appear on the agency's site, http://eden.itthon.hu. The presentations of the closing conference and the tourism package offers of the finalists will be accessible on the site shortly.

Background Information

Presenting the winners of the "Hungary's most promising cultural travel destination" title:

Szabolcs Szatmár Bereg Megyei Területfejlesztési és Környezetgazdálkodási Ügynökség Nonprofit Kft.

Title of entry: The Heritage of Tündérmező – Trail of Medieval Churches in the Upper-Tisza region

The Upper Tisza region is one of the richest in medieval churches within the entire Carpathian Basin. It is not just the high number of monuments, but also their level of artistic quality that is particularly significant. What makes these beautifully decorated churches genuinely special, is that one can see the respective heritages of the Middle Ages and the Reformation period at the same time.

The most significant cultural monuments of this region include numerous castles, palaces and manors. 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) is 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 as also known as the home of plum, as the plum preserve and plum pálinka of Szatmár is made from the famous Penyige plum. Excellent pálinka tasting houses are located here, and numerous gastronomy festivals are based around the theme of apples, plums and cultivated plants, which are 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, Nyírtbéltek), Máriapócs Pilgrimage Church, Tarpa horse-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 Baktalórántháza, 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: Anarcs, Baktalórántháza, Beregdaróc, Beregsurány, Csaroda, Csegöld, Csenger, Csengersima, Fehérgyarmat, Gacsály, Gyügye, Jánkmajtis, Kisszekeres, Kisvárda, Kölcse, Laskod, Lónya, Márokpapi, Nagyar, Nagygéc, Nagyszekeres, Sonkád, Szabolcs, Szamosbecs, Szamostatárfalva, Szamosújlak, Székely, Tákos, Tarpa, Tiszakóród, Tiszaszentmárton, Tornyospálca, Túristvándi, Túrricse, Vaja, Vámosatya, Vámosoroszi.

Sub-Carpathian area: Bene, Berehove, Chetfalva, Chornotysiv, Horjani, Khust, Mukachevo, Muzhijevo, Okli, Palad-Komarivci, Tiachiv, Uzhhorod, Velyka Bihan, Vynohradiv, Vyshkovo.

Szatmár county: Acâș, Agriș, Beltiug, Berea, Căpleni, Ciumești, Corund, Craidorolț, Livada, Tășnad, Vetiș.