National and historical symbols of Hungary

In this section you can find the crests of almost 2400 settlements of Hungary with notes. Find the starting letter of the settlement in the list and click if you want to see it.

The Coat-of-Arms of the Town of Balassagyarmat [¤]
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Balassagyarmat

(The County of Nógrád)

A shield erect, the base curved to a point. It bears: azure; issuant from a ground vert divided by a bar wavy argent and erect on a substructure a tower argent crenellated three and masoned of ten rows of brick. Across the top a three-barred open helm sideways, and for the crest on a (heraldic) coronet or an eagle displayed argent, the wings inverted. Under the shield on a scroll or the motto CIVITAS FORTISSIMA BALASSAGYARMAT in majuscules sable. Mantling: dexter: azure and or, sinister: argent and gules.

Balassagyarmat has been inhabited since the Copper Age. It acquired its name from (Kürt)-Gyarmat, one of the seven conquering Magyar tribes, and from the name of the Balassa family. The settlement got into the possession of this family in the mid-13th century, after the Mongol invasion. Following this, the town's first stone fortress was built, which was continually enlarged in the forthcoming centuries. Part of it was only recently discovered in the old own.

Even before the Turkish times, Balassagyarmat had undoubtedly been the centre of the comitat. It was destroyed by the Osman army in 1663, and it was not before the mid-17th century that revival started. As a result of uninterrupted resettlement lasting through several decades, by the early 19th century nearly two thirds of the population was not Hungarian. The majority was Jewish and Slovak, while the minorities were Greeks, then Serbs, Germans and Gypsies.

By occupation and social standing, the Jews and the Greeks were merchants, the majority of the Slovaks were serfs, the Germans were artisans, while the Gypsies were musicians exempt from paying tax. In those days it was typical of the townsfolk that they communicated with each other in two, or rather three languages. Balassagyarmat's economy was based on its favourable geographical location between the hilly Hungarian uplands (today belonging to Slovakia) and the flat lowland of Central Hungary. In addition, it was an important post on the trade routes between the royal seat Buda and the northeastern royal borough Kassa. It was also through this region that part of the trade between the Baltic and the Adriatic regions was handled. Later the town played an important role in the wholesale trade of Nógrád's livestock and agricultural produce, as well as in their forwarding to Vác and Buda-Pest. This was the reason why the Jewish community gave one fourth or one third of the entire population from the 18th century until the Holocaust.

The town, which had been the de facto county seat for centuries, was from 1790 till 1950 also the de jure administrative centre of Nógrád. From the late 19th century, it was a permanent military base, a railway hub, and a decisive factor in the cultural and commercial life of the region along the Ipoly River. In the life of this thriving bourgeois town, the two world wars caused a considerable break. After the first war Balassagyarmat lost one fifth of its own area, half of its economic zone of attraction, and became a border town on the borderline of the newly formed state of Czechoslovakia. During the second world war much of the population was deported and killed.

After 1945 the changes in the political system resulted in a further worsening of the town's situation. During the elections of 1947 the inhabitants firmly rejected the ensuing Stalinist alternative, and identified with their own civic culture and traditional way of life. Because of this, for several decades Balassagyarmat was pushed further into the background, which resulted in a considerable setback in the town's development.

The enjoyment of Balassagyarmat's small town atmosphere, its revitalised historical, literary and musical traditions, the treasures of local fine arts, as well as the visits to the exhibitions and museums all offer an unforgettable experience to guests.

Pictures:

1. Old County Hall

2. Árpád Kiss Primary School

3. Main Post Office

4. County Court and Public Prosecutor's Office

5. Town Hall

6. Madách Statue