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 Balkány [***, ¤]
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Balkány

(Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg County)

TheTownof Balkány is a settlement of great historical past in Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg County.

Renaissance shield erect, collared azure; party per pale gules and or. In dexter field or an eagle’s head is borne encouped and sable, armed gules and turning toward the sinister. In its beak bird is holding a war axe purpure, with its edge also turning toward the sinister. In sinister field gules a ploughshare erect is borne encouped and it is pointing toward the dexter. Ploughshare is flanked by two ears of corn or on the dexter side and by a mace of reed, stalked vert, maced or as well as by a sedge proper (brown) on the sinister side. In base, in a protruding V-form field or, a pelican argent is borne in its piety, its wings abaisé. Bird is bowing its head sideways and it is feeding its three open-mouthed nestlings with the drops of its own blood; all gules. Nestlings are borne in a nest vert.

Chief is topped by a war helm argent, borne slightly at a slant toward the dexter. Around the neckpiece a medallion purpure is hanging on a golden necklace. Above the mantling a five-pointed and verdured open crown or, decorated with emeralds, rubies and sapphires (between two rubies two pearls). Crown is crested by a vambraced dexter arm, garbed gules and laced or; it is holding a scimitar argent.

Mantling is borne in the shape that recalls acanthus leaves. On the dexter side it is gules and argent, on the sinister side azure and or. Below the shield a twice-folded ribbon or,with the settlement’s name BALKÁNY written on it in letters sable.

The coat of arms of the municipality of Balkány is intentionally one of the so-called canting arms (tessera loquens). The golden colour of its dexter side is a reminder of the most ancient times; the name of the settlement goes back to a word of Turkish origin with the meaning ’a marshy, swampy area’. This name was given to the settlement either in the period of the Hungarian Conquest by the Avar population of the area, or the village gained its name somewhat later, in the 11th century through those Petcheneg prisoners of war who had been caught by Kutesk in the battles of Kerlés (1068), Nándorfehérvár (1072) or Geszteréd(1085). The leader of the Petcheneg tribes defeated in 1072 was Kazár, and Anonymus, a later chronicler called the local people Kazárs. One of the most significant words in the language of the Petcheneg (besenyő in Hungarian) was the word ’bese’, meaning ’eagle’. This fact is symbolised by the charge of the eagle’s head in the settlement’s coat-of-arms. On the other hand the war axe was the most favourite weapon of King St. László, who used to be the ruler of the dukedom of Nyírség as well as of the head of the Nyírség military brigide.

The first written mention of the settlement was made in the so-called Várad Register (in connection with fire ordeals). The colour red in the settlement’s coat-of-arms is a reference to the blood sacrifice, made by the population of the village throughout their history’s stormy and bloody centuries. The reed and the sedge as well as the ears of corn recall the variety of landscape and Balkány’s one-time agricultural potentials. The ears of corn symbolise farming, which used to be the most decisive occupation of the inhabitants of the village for centuries. The same idea is emphasised by the appearance of the charge of the ploughshare in the settlement’s coat-of-arms, a motif, which also appeared in the first known seal print of the village going back to 1815.

In the area of present-day Balkány several nobiliary families had ownerships. In the 13-14th centuries the first of them were the members of the Gutkeled and Balogsemjén clans, later the settlement’s owners included the descendants of the Balkányi, Guti (Országh), Szakolyi, Orosi families. The ownership of Balkány then went down to the Czudar, Kállay, Gencsy, Jósa and Jármy families. The charge of the pelican, taken over from the coat-of-arms of the Gencsy fanily is to commemorate these families as well as the self-sacrifying inhabitants of the village, who, in spite of history’s destructions always returned to their native land with the aim of renewing their village and working toward building a happy future together.

The war helm int he coat-of-arms of the settlement calls attention to the heroism and the patriotism of the local inhabitants, who used to be part of György Dózsa’s peasant revolt, but who also had a heroic role in the country’s anti-Turkish wars.The men of Balkány used to fight in Rákóczi’s troops, they fought for freedom in the army of the 1848/49 revolution and war of independence, and many of them died in the bloodshed of the two world wars as well.

The crest of Balkány’s coat-of-arms evokes the time of the one and a half century-long -Turkish occupation and it is also a reminder of the patriotism of the village population. The village was destroyed to the ground on two occasions in that period, first in 1578, then in 1661, but following these sad events the inhabitants always returned and rebuilt their homes.

The crown is a symbol of the autonomy and independence of the settlement. The blue and silver mantling is a reference to the one-time and present-day natural characteristics of Balkány, while the red and golden colours of it are reminders of life-sustaining local agricultural work.

E-mail: balikan@axelero.hu