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 Marcali [¤]
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Marcali

(County Somogy)

Marcali's coat of arms is a spade shield, the base curved to a point. It bears: gules, a waterfowl argent, the neck transfixed by an arrow or. In dexter chief a moon decrescent argent, in sinister chief a sun or.

Marcali's first known seal:

Marcali was mentioned as a market town in documents dated 1448, as well as in written records from the time of the Turkish occupation. The seal used in the 16th century was preserved on a document of 1567, found in the archives of the Zichy family at Zsély. Its fragmented legend in Gothic script might have read SIGILLUM MARTZALLI, plus the date. The seal field bears a bird transfixed by an arrow, with wings closed. To the sinister, by its belly a sun is blazoned, while to the dexter, above the quill feathers a moon decrescent is borne. The document, on which the seal was found in the early 1900s, is now missing, but the seal itself is kept in the collection of the Hungarian National Archives.

Marcali's seal of 1567, bearing the figure of a bird, refers to a one-time decisive change, since this symbol is not linked in any way to the coats-of-arms of the settlement's landowning families in the 15th-16th centuries. Ordinaries like the bend of the Marczalys or the piles of the Báthorys would certainly have been blazoned in the town's seal in some form, had the landlords been involved in the design. The lack of any of these ordinaries is even more intriguing because the denominators, the Marczalys, had a mansion where they resided, whereas the Báthorys owned a borderline castle here. From among the town's landlords, it was only the Széchenyi family whose coat-of-arms bore a bird, a dove holding a wreath vert in a field azure, but in the 16th century this family was not yet related to Marcali.

In the century following the Turkish domination, the armorial bearings of the villages in Somogy county usually bore agricultural symbols as charges. It seems to be uniform practice that, only with a few exceptions, the settlements used ploughshares, coulters and ears of wheat as seal charges; some examples from the vicinity of Marcali are Fejéregyháza and Felsőzsitfa (1789), or Kéthely and Pusztakovácsi (1767).

As can be attested on the basis of the seal collection of the National Archives as well as of other contemporary documents, during the 18-19th centuries Marcali used seal charges different from the ones described above: the version of 1764 had the motto MARZ + ZALI with a heart transfixed by an arrow and three flowers issuing from it. The seal on another document bore the motto MARCZALI and, between two ears of wheat issuing from a field beneath it, a ploughshare and a coulter couped, pointed upwards. Under the field the year 1779 was borne. On a contract dated 1830 the seal bears the legend SIGILL. /.../ PIDI MARTZALI with a turreted, buttressed and spired church, which must have been the image of Marcali's own church building.

When Hungarian had become the language of administration, the same seal was kept in use, but the legend was changed to Hungarian as follows: MARCZALI; M: VÁROS PECSÉTTYE: 1840. Enfiled by the legend, the field bore a Catholic church standant on a field (lawn) vert, borne sideways with the tower to the sinister and a buttress on the side, the entrance opening from beneath the tower; on the sinister, issuing from the lawn a vine stock propped and fructed with five bunches of grape was borne.

Marcali's seal print bearing an ear of wheat, a ploughshare and a coulter can be seen on the settlement's accounts of 1788 and on documents related to socage from 1806. This seal must have been in use until 1840, when a new one was designed with a church as the principal charge. However, in the early 20th century (in 1919) this version was also abandoned, and a rake, a fork and a scythe borne crossed in saltire were engraved in the seal field. Of the four known versions of Marcali's seal the oldest one with the original, dated engraving, as approved then by the Ministry of the Interior, must be considered valid.

During the Turkish rule, Marcali itself never got completely depopulated. Some of the neighbouring villages also survived, either as pusztas (i.e. as scattered farmsteads) or by being resettled. However, other settlements fell forever victim to ransacking, incendiary attacks, pillaging and massacres.

(based on a text edited by Dr József Gaál)

Photos:

1. Mayor’s Office

2. The City Spa and Amusement center of Marcali

3. Gáspár Noszlopy elementary and basic artistic school

4. City Court of Marcali

5. City Hospital

6. City Music school

E-mail: marcali_mail.matav.hu