Old Village of Hollókő and its Surroundings
Inscribed on the World Heritage List: 1987
The Old Village of Hollókő (Hollókő Ófalu), situated in Nógrád County, in the north of Hungary, is a consciously preserved old village hidden among the hills of Cserhát, where tradition lives on. The village consists of 55 family houses and a church, a folk architecture complex which is reminiscent of the beginning of the 20th century.
The historic village architecture, the shapes and use of materials of traditional Palóc buildings form a harmonic unity with the natural landscape. The World Heritage site of 145 hectares includes the ruins of a medieval castle above the village, the outskirts of the village which used to be organically integrated into the village economy, shaped by the traditional land use patterns of the village community, with narrow fields and pastures scatered with trees left for bearing fruit, and woods and grasslands covering nearby hills, housing the valuable wildlife characteristic of Cserhát.
The history of the village goes back to the 13th century, when a fortress was built on Szár Hill after the Mongol invasion. The village - a church place since the first half of the 14th century - had been plagued with several fires over the centuries, as houses were built of wood, without foundations, with thatched roofs easy to catch fire, containing free range stoves without chimneys, with just a hole for the smoke above instead. The big fire of 1909 was a turning point: from then on houses were built with adobe walls on stone foundations, and covered with shingle tiles on a wooden roof structure, preserving their original shapes. That is when the Old Village of Hollókő acquired its current appearance, guarding the atmosphere of the beginning of the 20th century, as well as the memory of ancient Palóc folk architecture. The wooden spired and shingledroofed church of arresting beauty has been built from public donation in 1889. It is located in the middle of the village, on a small "island" on top of a hill. Hollókő is a good example of the historic one-street comb-built village typical for the entire Palóc region, its basic structure formed by a double row of houses on narrow parcels perpendicular to the main road, shaped like that because families would build their house on a single parcel, and once the family had outgrown it, they would simply erect a new house behind the first house facing the street. The facade of truss saddle-roofed peasant houses is lined with a veranda (“hambitus”) supported by wooden pillars on both the street side and the inner yard, adorned with wooden carvings and plank balustrades, leading directly into the atrium, that is, the kitchen. The Tisztaszoba (“Clean Room”) looks to the street front, inhabited by the lord of the house and his family, and the pantry, which was used to store cereals and also as a sleeping space for the elderly, opened towards the rear end.
Houses usually comprised a cellar, adapted to the geomorpho- logical environment. Objects commemorating the traditional peasant lifestyle may be spotted not only in the Old Village, but also in the landscape surrounding it. The long stretches of narrow parcels on the hillsides, what remained of a large pasture scattered with trees, and the peasant bath in the stream valley tell about the day-to-day life of the village community and their harmonic relationship with nature. The community of Hollókő, the vast majority of whom now live in the new village next to it, tends to the Old Village and its protected houses with loving care, which gives the inhabitants a sense of community, spiritual and religious life, as well as an opportunity for work and for the preservation and presentation of their traditions.
World Heritage Management Body: Municipality of Hollókő-Hollókő World Heritage Management Non-Profit LLC
Site manager: Csaba Szabó, mayor
Address: 3176 – Hollókő, Kossuth L. u. 74.
Phone: + 36 32 379 255
Fax: + 36 32 379 255
web site: www.holloko.hu
Hollókő World Heritage Management Non-Profit LLC
Contact: Péter Kelecsényi, director
Address: 3176 – Hollókő, Kossuth Lajos u. 74.
Telephone: : +36 32 579 010
Fax: +36 32 579 011