Magyar Magyar

Bori Kisjankó Memorial House

Bori Kisjankó Memorial HouseMezőkövesdEger region

Hungarians are known far and wide for their red paprika, goulash and the “Hungarian sea”, Lake Balaton, but we shouldn’t forget their multicoloured folk art traditions, of which Matyó embroidery culture is a fine example. The home of the world-famous Matyó embroidery and dress is Mezőkövesd, a small town in Northern Hungary not far from Eger and Szilvásvárad, known as the “capital of Matyóföld.”



Off to Matyóföld!

The area was named Matyóföld after the Hungarian people living here, whose 200-year-old Matyó heritage - embroidery, dress and folklore - became part of the UNESCO intangible cultural heritage in 2012, and was included in the Collection of Hungarikums in 2013. No wonder the locals are so proud of their treasures to this day, and can hardly wait to show them off to visitors. In the Hadas district of Mezőkövesd, in addition to the Matyó gates, you can also catch a glimpse of the opulent, colourful Matyó patterns: the most important motif in the Matyó pattern world is the peony or Matyó rose. The embroidery initially appeared only on decorative sheets and blankets, and only later on women's and men's attire and tablecloths. Over time, the motifs were also painted on crates, plates and cutlery, an example of which is on display today at the local Matyó Museum.

The Bori Kisjankó Memorial House, celebrating the most famous Matyó


The foremost figure of Matyó folk art is Bori Kisjankó, whose former home you can also visit if you target the prettiest part of town, the Hadas district. Its winding streets and thatched whitewashed farmhouses enchant visitors and take them back 150–200 years, evoking the former Hungarian farming town lifestyle. The house of Aunt Bori, an embroiderer and pattern writer who was also awarded the title of Master of Folk Art, built around 1850, also stands here, and to this day it faithfully preserves the features of folk architecture in Mezőkövesd. Right upon entry, you find yourself in the foyer of the authentic kitchen, where next to the oven is a bench and a free-standing chimney covering half the room. The one-room building also has a pantry. In the memorial house, in addition to the exceptional drawings of Bori Kisjankó, you can follow the development of Matyó folk art style: the painting of the beds and chests intensified over time, and after the 1880s the rich, colourful floral decoration almost completely covered the furniture. The walls are lined with “rosy cymbals” and images of saints called “copper saints” because of their gold paper edges. Several creative houses have sprung up near the Memorial House: stop at the local Gingerbread House or the Furniture Painter and Embroidery House; the Weaving House, Pottery House, Gari Margit Memorial and Music House as well as the Porcelain Enamel House also await. Should you want to immerse yourself in the Matyó world even more, it’s worth making an advance appointment with the locals who can also introduce you to the tricks of folk crafts. To crown your artistic trip, treat yourself to a super wellness programme: head to the Zsóry Thermal Bath and Spa.