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 Nagykálló
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(Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg County)

Nagykálló is a town in Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg County.

Fish-tailed shield erect, party per pale gules, azure and or.

In field gules a three-arched key azure is borne en couped, with its head pointing downwards. Its stylised web borne in the chief is turning toward the sinister and it is a reminder of the combination of the letters N and K (nexus). At fess point a blank field between two bends, or. In sinister field azure a horseshoe-nail is borne argent, pointing downwards. Underneath a horseshoe argent is borne en couped and it is pointing upwards, with its arch turning downwards.

The interpretation of Nagykálló's coat-of-arms is a difficult task, since its charges (in slightly altered form) go back to the first known print seal of the market town (1645). The differences between the two designs are as follows: the web of the key originally did not form the letters N and K, and, in addition, the arch of the horseshoe was turning upwards while the horseshoe nail was turning downwards. (It is possible that the reversal of the original design had symbolical meaning.)

The key as charge is likely to have been a visual expression of the town's status as market town. The geographical name Kálló when it was first mentioned in a written document in the 13th century was meant to designate a fish pond, then in 1307 it was to mean the border zone of the land property at Harangos (terra). It can be stated with much certainty that in 1318 Kálló was already a village, which was later very quickly to develop into a market town. It was in the same year that the lord lieutenant of Szabolcs was elected in Kálló; he made the settlement a county seat. The lord lieutenant's successors as well as their four magistrates made significant decisions at Kálló and the county assemblies in the years 1325 and 1340 were also held here. These facts are attested by hundreds of historical documents. Nagykálló's original name was Kallow maior alio nomine Boznudada, the last part of which designated some local water. (Asszonypataka/ a lady's brook). It was also in the same period that king Károly Róbert confirmed the settlement's earlier right to hold weekly fairs every Saturday. According to figures in contemporary papal registers Kálló used to pay considerable sums as tithe, a fact, which meant that the settlement played an important role in contemporary times. In 1340 the landlords of Kálló were granted further privileges by the church, and from the name of the settlement dating back to 1349, 'Vásároskálló' (Vásár means fair in English) it can be concluded that Kálló also had the right to hold national fairs. (Although it is only a written document of 1438 which proves the status of the settlement as a town of national fairs.)

In the 1570s a castle was built at Kálló and from 1574 onwards this structure functioned as a border fortress until it eventually got destroyed in 1709. In 1605 the market town of Kálló was granted the status of Haiduk town from Prince István Bocskai, but since - due to the resistance of the locals - the castle was not given over to the Haiduks, the privilege was withdrawn and transferred to the town of Böszörmény by Prince Gábor Báthory. This lost opportunity was followed by another one. After the expulsion of the Turks Kálló had the chance of acquiring the right of free royal borough for 33,000 forints, but this opportunity got also lost. In 1875, due to a series of various factors Kálló also lost its status as town until as late as 1989 when the settlement eventually succeeded in regaining its former title.

The charge of the horseshoe (originally borne with its arch pointing upwards) is to recall the status of the town as county seat between 1318 and 1876. All the noblemen of the county, even from the remotest corners, had to make their appearance at Kálló when they were called together either to perform their obligations or to exercise their rights. This was the practice until the county seat was eventually transferred to Nyíregyháza.

The golden field of the shield is likely to refer to the one-time importance of the settlement as administrative, cultural and economic centre as well as junction of roads. It was here that the Debrecen-Munkács and the Tokaj-Szatmárnémeti trunk roads met.

The shape of the shield (it resembles a fish-tail) as well as its chief tincture, the colour blue evoke the first mention of the settlement (piscina/fish pond). The red field originally appeared on the seal of 1908, while the golden colour is a reminder of the settlement's history of eight hundred years.


1. Roman Catholic Church.

2. Calvinist Church and Belfry.

3. 'Szivárvány' Kindergarten. Building designed by Dezső Ekler.

4. István Szilágyi Primary School.

5. Frigyes Korányi Secondary School.

6. Former County Hall, today Psychiatric Hospital.

7. Tibor Borbás: Couple Dance from Kálló

8. Folk Dance Ensemble 'Couple Dance from Kálló'

9. Dance Shed. Designed by Dezső Ekler.

10. 'Ínség' Hill.