Photographer's Note

Hungarian folk architecture - Wooden Belfry & Protestant church, Szentendre

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.

Belfry, Nemesborzova (to the right)

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.

Protestant church, Mánd (to the left)

The church is one of the oldest surviving relics of late Gothic provincial wooden architecture in Hungary. Members of the Reformed congregation of Mánd had it erected at their own cost in the 1580s. After the Edict of Tolerance (1781) by Joseph II, the church was renovated and partly rebuilt between 1787-90. The painted ceiling and the furniture, also visible today, date from this period. An archaic record of the great event, listing the most important data and dates, can be read on a large-size, raised ceiling panel.

As the inscription speaks of the "building" of the church, it was supposed that it dated from 1790. However, after the dismantling of the construction in 1975, research revealed that the church was raised late in the 16th century. When the boarding of the triumphal arch, symbolically separating the interior into nave and apse, was removed a date of "Ad M582" became visible engraved in the middle of the arch. (The last numeral may also be read as "7".) As the triumphal arch is an intact and integral part of the timberwork of the church it must be of the same age.

The richly adorned furniture makes it one of the most valuable painted churches in Hungary. The ceiling, the two galleries, the pulpit and the pews were made by Gábor Vasvári Ódor, famous painter joiner of the region between 1787-90. On the ceiling of the crown-shaped abat-voix canopy the date 1791 can be seen. The whole interior savours of Baroque taste. The square panels of the ceiling are no longer covered by the Renaissance floral ornamentation, usual before, but with carved and gilded stars on dark blue background, colourful square net ribbing and rosettes. On the four and three panels over the western entrance and the gallery on the apse side we can see identical painted ribbon-like scrolls and linear frames in relief with scrolled and ringed squares of a lacy pattern in the corners and a pine at the sides. The edges of the panels are covered with pilasters. The ornamentation of the front panel of the pews and the pieces of furniture used by the minister are in harmony with all this. By the western, street entrance the women's and on the opposite side the men's pews can be found. The family and guests of the pastor sat by the side entrance whereas the clergyman himself occupied the Moses Seat right of the pulpit. In the middle the Lord's Table stands with the dishes of the Lord's Supper: pewter wine jugs, chalice and bread plates. A valuable 17th century cloth of Renaissance embroidery covers the iron frame of the tent placed over them.
Left of the western entrance, on the northern wall 12 Renaissance coffers hang painted with flowers. The valuable ceiling panels were found when the church was taken apart. Critical comparative analysis of style led us to presume that they may have been part of the 17th century furniture. (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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