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 Mezőtúr [¤]
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Mezőtúr

(The County of Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok)

The town's coat-of-arms is a shield gules with a rounded base and with a top curved to points. The field is dominated by a lily argent, under which in the middle of the base a five-petalled rose, also argent, is borne.

The primary determinant of a town's symbols is the coat-of-arms, which is an ornamental emblem referring to the settlement's past history and present characteristics.

This settlement's system of symbols was formed by history many centuries ago. The natural design of the lily, which has recently been adopted, is very rare in heraldry and, taking into consideration all the regions where Hungarian is spoken as the native language, is at present unique. The earliest documented appearance of this charge dates back to 1576. Later another motif taken over from a family's coat-of-arms was added, so the town seal of 1617 already bears the lily with the five-petalled rose.

The design and description of this coat-of-arms, used for several centuries, can be found in the manuscript entitled Magyarország Címertára (Collection of Hungarian Coats-of-Arms), together with the description of its colours. According to this, in the field gules a lily and a rose, both argent, are borne. In heraldry the lily symbolises spiritual power and grace, whereas the rose is the symbol of humbleness and readiness to make sacrifices. It was in 1902 that the town started to use a coat-of-arms bearing a fleur-de-lis in field azure, which had undoubtedly been chosen and not granted. Its authenticitation took pleace in 1904 by the Ministry of the Interior.

All the other municipal coats-of-arms, authentically realed to a royal charter, bear at least three fleurs-de-lis.

Mezőtúr's coat-of-arms was designed and made by the graphic artist Tibor Piros, creator of the nation's new coat-of-arms.

Mezőtúr is located in the middle of the Great Hungarian Plain, by the banks of the Hortobágy-Berettyó. The name must have been acquired from the River Túr. In the age of the Árpáds the Berettyó, on the banks of which the town is situated, bore the name Túr occuring in the names of several settlements that lie on the river bank (some examples are Túrkeve, Túrpásztó and Túrkő). Mezőtúr is mentioned by documents as Thúr, Túr, Nagy-Túr, Tisza-Túr and Mező-Túr.

Prior to the regulation of rivers, the settlement was surrounded nearly on all sides by a river and a hardly passable waterlogged, swampy lowland.

The first written mention goes back to the period between 1205-35, when a serf called Szob from the village of Túr, "having been summoned to Várad, was condemned for having had his hand burnt at the ordeal by red-hot iron".

From the 14th century onwards, as production for the market was gaining ground, Mezőtúr gradually acquired an advantageous position as opposed to the neighbouring settlements, since the only road through the swampy area of Sárrét started at the ferry of Mezőtúr.

This was the shortest route from among all the ones that led from Buda to Transylvania via the ferry at Szolnok. The Mezőtúr ferry was to become a significant factor as regards town development, because in 1378, as a recognition of its importance, the settlement was raised to the rank of market town by King Lajos the Great. This status also included the right to hold fairs, the payment of taxes to its landlord in one sum, as well as an exemption from paying and the right of collecting duties. The town's internal affairs were managed independently.

During the Turkish reign Túr got into the possession of the Sultan and belonged to the szandzsák (administrative district) of Szolnok. With the destruction of the neighbouring villages, the area of Túr increased significantly, and by the end of the 18th century it had exceeded 70,000 acres. The spacious fields were suitable for many scattered farmsteads to be formed. As a result, at the end of the 19th century, over one third of the town's population lived on these outer farms.

Already in the 15th century, the fairs of Túr were famous and frequented by many. (According to records, "foreign travellers were amazed by the enormous amount of corn gathered at these national fairs, as well as by its world-famous wines and the masses of herds and flocks driven here".) During the Turkish occupation, the importance of these events grew further. The Turks would often protect them with military, since they drew considerable profits from the duties paid by the merchants. Especially famous were the livestock markets, but the buying and selling of other goods was also remarkable. At these markets of national fame even Greek and Armenian traders did turn up, and they were also frequented by a number of Jews trading in rawhide.

The cattle trade of the comitats of Heves and Külső (Outer) Szolnok toward the Balkans was exclusively done by dealers from Túr.

In addition to trade, handicraft also flourished. From among the many crafts, those of bootmakers, tanners, potters and furriers were the most notable. The high cap of Túr was renowned all over the country. The streets named after certain crafts, for example after the potters, the hatters, the tilers, the tanners or the tilers, indicate that craftsmen of the same trade used to live there in great numbers.

In culture the town dominated the region for centuries. Mezőtúr joined the Reformation rather early, and its Protestant school founded in 1530 soon became the most renowned institution of education in the area of Tiszántúl, only second in importance to the one in Debrecen. Since it never had princely or other wealthy patrons, it was always maintained by the townspeople. From among the numerous famous rectors who taught here, many gained nationwide reputation. One of them was István Szegedi Kis.

The capitalistic development, which started in the 19th century, was not particularly beneficial for Mezőtúr. The cheaper mass-produced goods coming from the factories gradually replaced the town's handcrafted products. Larger-scale local industry was only represented by a brick and a weaving factory, as well as by a few mills. Agriculture on the other hand, which remained dominant in the town's economy, had already exhausted all its potentials by the turn of the century. The population of the town remained steady at about 25,000. Szolnok, which had been considerably smaller by the number of its inhabitants in the middle of the 19th century, would catch up by the turn of the century, then its people would outnumber Mezőtúr's population.

Moreover, after the second world war, the new economic and social conditions were for a long time also disadvantageous for the town's development. As early as in 1951, Mezőtúr developed into a so-called "socialist market town". The organisation of agricultural co-operatives and their technological advancement liberated considerable workforce. However, since Mezőtúr lacked local industry, these labourers were forced to look for jobs elsewhere. This migration was especially large-scale in the late 1950s, when the migrants' annual average number approached 300. It was only the 70s and 80s that brought improvement.

Even though the town cannot take pride in many sights of historical importance, the buildings surrounding Kossuth Square still evoke the memory of past centuries. This is the town's historical centre where, apart from the Protestant church dating back to a past of several centuries, one can find the town hall, the post office, the fire station, the grammar school of the Reformed Church, a hotel, a shopping centre and numerous other establishments providing a variety of services.

Pottery has a great history at Mezőtúr. As was the case with other crafts, whole dynasties of potters became famous. An outstanding figure was Balázs Badár the elder (1855-1939), who made local pottery famous not only in Hungary but also abroad. His masterpieces received prestigious prizes in Antwerp (1894), Brussels (1897) and Paris (1900). At the millenial exhibition of 1896, one of his most beautiful ornamental plates was purchased by Queen Elizabeth of Hungary herself.

Pictures:

1. The Calvinist Grand Church

2. View of the town with the Hortobágy-Berettyó

3. The Peres backwater

4. World War II Memorial

5. Town Hall