The Old Village of Hollókö and its surroundings is a living example of rural life before the agricultural revolution of the 20th century. It developed mainly during the 17th and 18th centuries.
Hollókö is an Palóc ethnographic village, an ethnic minority group in north-east Hungary.
Hubert Scharnagl - March 2015
Hollókõ is a fine example of vernacular architecture, which has remained virtually unchanged for centuries. Although the village was burned down several times, it was always restored in the style of the 17th century. Only after the last large fire in 1909 the thatched roofs have been replaced with tile roofs.
The old village consists of about 60 residential houses with farm buildings and a small parish church, the modern village is right next to it. The single long street forks at the small church creating a lens-shaped "island" in the middle of the settlement. The plastered half-timbered houses have a stone base and most of the houses have overhanging porches and galleries or a veranda on the street side. The photo shows a typical example. The architecture is similar to the houses in Vlkolínec (also a WHS), but Hollókõ appears more elegant due to the white-washed walls and the verandas.
Another difference to Vlkolínec is that Hollókõ is more developed to tourism, there are several museums, craftsmen exhibitions, a restaurant and facilities for accommodation. Most interesting is the Village Museum (Falumúzeum), where the traditional interior layout with three separate rooms and historic furnishing can be seen. Fortunately it was not too busy when we visited Hollókõ on a weekday in August 2014, there were only about ten private cars in the parking lot and about thirty visitors spread over the village. But Hollókõ is a popular destination for group tours (it's just 100 km from Budapest), so it can be crowded in the peak season.
We also went up to the castle, but it was closed for renovations. I don't think that we have missed much, it does not look particularly interesting. Actually we climbed the hill for a view of the village, but it is hidden behind trees and the hill. Maybe the view from the castle tower is better. Back at the car park we noticed two large tour buses – and we were happy with our perfect timing.
It is a matter of taste whether you prefer Hollókõ or Vlkolínec, we visited both on our trip and I liked them both. There are not many villages in Central Europe that entirely have been preserved in their historic structure, and only a few of them are World Heritage Sites.
john booth - December 2012
A very tidy village full of traditional architecture and a few villagers selling handicrafts. I reached the site by bus from Paszto station. Paul will be relieved to know that there is only a small car park up the hill from the bus stop. There is one restaurant, and a handful of the houses offer accommodation.
Jan Roehr - February 2010
Holloko in Hungary is a very charming, well-preserved old world village. It welcomes visitors and tours of the village are available. Our group was invited to a local home for lunch and the owners were a wonderful older couple who obviously were very proud of their home and garden.
It was a delightful afternoon and I would heartily encourage tourists to take this excusion and see the wonderfully preserved wooden houses. We were on an organized tour from Budapest and were so happy to have had this experience.
Boj Capati - June 2009
Visited May 26th, 2009
Went with three Hungarian friends as a day trip from Szolnok. Weather was clear and the village was quiet. The wooden houses are really beautiful and well-preserved.
When we visted the castle on the hill, we met several groups of very young students, obviously on school trip.
Back in the village, check the souvenir stores for ceramics. They are reasonably priced and pretty.
Solivagant - July 2005
The preserved village of Holloko is set a convenient return day trip’s distance from Budapest. When we visited it in 1986 towards the end of the communist era it was certainly very “pleasant to the eye” but we didn’t find the visit that satisfying. The site is so much more than just a street of pretty wooden houses with a church at the end. The local “Palosz” people ignored agricultural and social changes going on elsewhere and in so doing “preserved” not only the buildings but a way of life from the 18th and 19th centuries. The site includes all the surrounding lands with their multitude of uses and where these were lost, such as with strip fields, they have been restored .
However, whilst communism sat less heavily upon Hungary than on many Soviet satellites, everything in those days was organised for group tourism, often under the pervasive banner of IBUSZ the “Intourist” of Hungary. So this museum village with its old fashioned rural atmosphere was organised for coach parties who were given a quick walk round, a visit to the church, a Hungarian meal at “the” tourist restaurant and a bit of “folklorique” from locals dressed up in Palocz costume.
We were self driving around Hungary and had thought of staying overnight at one of the local houses which acted as hostels in those days – but no one seemed interested in handling a couple of Western Europeans so we moved on (perhaps our lack of Hungarian or Russian didn’t help as we didn’t encounter many Western European language speakers!). There was also still an “Aliens Registration Form” which had to fully account for all one’s nights in the country (on pain of fines for any gaps) so self service foreigners not using IBUSZ or the tourist office were potentially “bad news”! I remember on one occasion after “complaining” about the emphasis on group travel being told that it was all the UK’s fault that Hungary was communist anyway as Churchill had given it away at Yalta!
I wonder what the place is like today? In my mind I see a picture of privately run restaurants with tables outside the houses and guest houses all packed with tourists. There is probably a huge car park on the outskirts too. And, no doubt, the local costume is hyped up even more!
Even if such changes have occurred I would recommend anyone travelling in Hungary to “take a detour” to visit Holloko. The WHS list doesn’t have as many European “vernacular” sites as it should. Such places will inevitably become tourist honey pots and I just hope that Hungary has exercised some control over untrammelled capitalism! It certainly promised to do so when the site was inscribed. Maybe it is better presented too and you can get behind the “top show” and understand more of the lifestyle which the village supported.
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Full name: Old Village of Hollókö and its surroundings
2003 - Name changeFrom "Hollokö" to "Old Village of Hollókö and its surroundings"
1987 - InscribedReasons for inscription
The site has 11 connections. Show all
- Sieges and Battles Besieged by the Turks
Religion and Belief
- Legends and Folk Myths Called the Raven Mountain due to the legend telling ravens destroyed the constructions of the village during its erection every night
- Built in the 17th century After 1683
- Minority communities Palocz minority
World Heritage Process
- Extensions on Tentative List The old villages of Hollókö and Rimetea and their surroundings (Romania)
- Inscribed on a single criterion only v. to be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change
- Name changes Old village and surroundings added (2003)