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 Szolnok [** ¤]
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Szolnok

(County Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok)

The town of Szolnok is situated in the Central Tisza region, at the mouth of the Zagyva River. Its area has been inhabited since ancient times.

The coat-of-arms is a Baroque shield erect surrounded by a cartouche or. (Even if it is not usual to give a description of the cartouche, this one is so special that it deserves to be described in detail as follows here: The coat-of-arms is surrounded both on the dexter and on the sinister sides by swan-necked arches counterpoised, the upper section ornamented with acanthus leaves turning toward the field and in pale bridged with two jointed arches.

The shield base is bordered by a double concave bottom arch issuant from the end-point of the pale, each with a slightly arched bevel, all borne symmetrically on the dexter and on the sinister side respectively. As a plastic outer ornamentation, another swan-necked arch on the dexter and on the sinister side, also bearing acanthus leaves turning toward the shield, and reaching the upper edge of the chief as if transformed into a triple crocket.)

The shield bears: azure, on a ground vert a pelican in her piety: issuant from a nest vert enfiled with a plaited double ribbon (fillet) or three demi pelican nestlings argent (one borne sideways reversed, two sideways), armed gules and looking upward; above them the mother bird displayed argent, the neck lowered to the dexter, tearing her bosom open with the beak gules and feeding her young with four drops of blood gules. The nest is flanked on the dexter and on the sinister side by a six-leaved corn stalk topped with a rich spike, all or.

Across the top arches of the cartouche a five-pointed open crown verdured or (two pearls borne between three leaves) gorged with rubies and emeralds, transfixed from above by a scimitar in pale bladed argent and hilted or, handguarded to the dexter and pointed to the sinister, the blade reaching as far as the chief of the field.

The blue field in Szolnok's coat-of-arms refers to the broad horizon of the landscape abundant in waters. The green field in the base symbolises the town's excellent geographical location, the climate typical of the Hungarian Great Plain, the good quality soil and the one-time swampy area suitable for traditional fishing and catching crabs.

The pelican feeding her young from her crop with her lowered beak was already believed in ancient times to be feeding her little ones with her own blood by tearing her bosom open. Therefore, in Christian symbolism it represents Christ the Saviour, who sacrificed himself for mankind; furthermore, it is an indirect reference to the Eucharist. It is a common motif especially in Calvinist churches, usually to be found on the pulpit or on the panels of the ceiling.

Szolnok's seal of 1761 already bore by and large the same motif, which the town dwellers were able to keep even in the anti-heraldic and atheistic era of the recent past. On the above-mentioned seal the pelican was meant to inspire God's animating grace, by which he "resurrected" the town of Szolnok after the Turkish domination. The three young birds may refer to the one-time religious denominations of the Catholics, the Calvinists and the Jews; they might also represent agriculture, industry and trade, the three main sources of living, or the three traditional means of transport by water, road and rail, and so forth. Since the pelican also expresses striving for intellectual enlightenment, it might symbolise schools, the trinity of elementary, secondary and vocational education, the trio of the local artistic colony, gallery and theatre, or the local institutions of education and recreation including the library, the museum and the sports facilities.

The ears of wheat in the coat-of-arms recall the rich cornfields around the one-time farmsteads, the prospering agricultural production and the food and milling industry based on it, the granaries and distilleries, but in a broader sense they evoke the full range of economy including clothes industry, building industry, timber and machine industry, chemical industry, commerce, and transit traffic.

The creeping foliage of the cartouche, which recalls the crests of waves, represents the rivers Tisza and Zagyva, the regulation of which began here as early as the 1550s. The old ferry was replaced by a bridge in 1562.

The scimitar is a reminder of the fact that the first mention of the settlement occurred in a document by the local bailiff in connection with the pagan revolt of 1046. Already at that time there stood a castle here. In addition, the fact that Szolnok had a ferry and was situated at the crossing of important waterways and roads, gave the settlement a strategic key position. That was the reason why it was taken by the Turks in 1552. In March 1849 it was here that General Damjanich defeated the imperial armies. In 1919 the offensive of the invading Romanians was halted at Szolnok for 77 days. In the first world war the town lost 305 lives, whereas the second took a toll of nearly 25,000.

The crown signifies that the area of Szolnok was conquered by the Megyer tribe during the Magyar conquest. In the early 11th century it was the seat of the comitat's bailiff. The castle and its people were first mentioned in a document of 1075. Later, even if it was bestowed on several occasions, Szolnok always remained a crown possession. The conquering Turks raised it to the centre of sanjak (Turkish administrative unit). After the expulsion of the Turks it was owned by the Treasury, then in 1874 it became a town with its own council. Since 1876 Szolnok has again been functioning as the seat of the county. Rooted in the principle of entailment, the crown refers to today's autonomy, local authority and, furthermore, to the local people's love of their home town.

Pictures:

1. Town Hall

2. Riverside walk

3. The synagogue

4. A bird’s eye view