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Photographer's Note

The aim of founding the Szentendre Open Air Museum was to present folk architecture, interior decoration, farming and way of life in the Hungarian language area from the 2nd half of the 18th century to the 1st half of the 20th century, through original and authentic objects, relocated houses arranged in old settlement patters. The more and more elaborate settlement plan appropriates the relocation of more than 400 edifices into the museum, arranged into village-like regional units on the basis of ethnographical considerations.

Village, Erdőhát

The regional unit conjures up the traditional peasant way of life in Erdőhát (Szatmár County). The subregion of characteristic culture lies in Szamosköz, north-eastern Hungary, between the rivers Tisza and Szamos. Erdőhát borders on Tiszahát in the north and on Szamoshát on the south-west. Its eastern parts are referred to by its inhabitants as Túrhát and Palágyság. The elevations (hátak) of the land, slashed by streams and brooks, were covered with woods, rich in fruit-trees, and with dense oak-forests, even in the early 19th century. Most villages of the population settled here in the age of the Arpads (897-1301) were built on clearings in the 11th-14th centuries. In keeping with ecological conditions people mainly engaged in animal husbandry, silviculture, fishing and gathering. Tilling and grain production only became significant after the regulation of rivers and draining of marshes in the last third of the 19th century.

In the late 1960s, during research for the Museum, we found so many relics and memories preserved in the Erdőhát that we could almost completely reconstruct the 19th century way of life based on medieval traditions.
The pattern of settlement, established by the 14th century, can also be studied today. The villages of medieval origin, populated by 200-500 souls, comprise one or two streets. The two rows of houses, each on a narrow plot, widen out to form a square around the church. In the farmyards several buildings stand to serve different purposes. The most important building material was oak. Up to the 1850s-1880s houses were erected on oaken groundsills. The timber frame of the walls was mortised into this sill then filled out with vertically twined wattle and daubed thick.

Belfry, Nemesborzova

One of the most beautiful belfries of Szatmár County was transplanted in 1971 from the Nemesborzova parish, affiliated to Mánd. We found no date on it (it might have disappeared during dismantling) but church records, and the structure of the construction led us to believe that it was erected in 1667. Building material for the 21,30 m high tower came from neighbouring oak-forests. The well-proportioned building rests on 10 sills forming a square net. The nine 9 m pillars of the body were mortised into this base then tied with a system of diagonal and horizontal beams. The body carries a balcony, bearing a covered cloister with the open arcade outside, and topped by a steeple with a turret on each corner. From the two bells that used to toll in it, we have managed to acquire the smaller, 80 kilo one for the Museum. The turrets, the body, and the roof of the housing of the base, the "skirt", are covered with shingles of deal. The structure of the belfry is late Gothic but its appearance shows Renaissance effects.(Source: skanzen .hu)

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Additional Photos by George Rumpler (Budapestman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 8900 W: 3 N: 20435] (82620)
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