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Touristic Prospectus of Zemplén  back


Sátoraljaújhely

The once country town of Sátoraljaújhely in the historic Zemplén county is located at the foot of the "incomparably beautiful" Sátor Hill, as described by Sándor Petofi. In 1261 it was granted the privileges of town status by King István V. A castle was built right after the Mongol invasion of Hungary which served as important fortification until the middle of the 16th century.

Today Sátoraljaújhely is the northernmost town in Hungary. The hills above the town are of volcanic origin. Geographers and tourists compare their shape to the Italian Mt. Vesuvius. The geyser cone on Szár Hill can be seen when walking in the hills. It is the epicenter of the ancient eruption and it holds the memory of the subsequent volcanic activity.

In the early Middle Ages a significant development started here as the result of the favorable geographic location. The area was part of a world-famous wine district. It was crossed by several commercial routes going to Russia, Poland, Transylvania and into Hungary from abroad. Strategically located at the meeting point of the Great Hungarian Plain and the mountains, and not too far from the river, it played a strong role in commerce, transportation and culture.

The area has some significant historic traditions. Reigning prince Ferenc Rákóczi II. was born in Borsi, a neighboring village. The political figure Lajos Kossuth, leader of the 1848-1849 Hungarian Revolution and War of Independence, began his career here, and he was proud to say that he was a Hungarian man from Újhely. At the beginning of the 19th century Ferenc Kazinczy, famous Hungarian writer and linguist, led the fight for the renovation of the Hungarian language in this town and in nearby Széphalom. In those days these towns and the region were the center of Hungarian literature.

Today Sátoraljaújhely is a small town in Hungary having a special historic atmosphere. It has one of the most beautiful locations in this region. With a population of 20.000 people, it has several schools and is one of the cultural and commercial centers of the Zemplén region. It also has a border crossing between the Slovakian Republic and Hungary.

In the town and in some sections the typical atmosphere of Upper Hungary has been preserved. Sátoraljaújhely is rich in monuments and historic buildings. The Baroque style County Hall (today, the Town Hall), characterizes the atmosphere of the main square. Built between 1754 and 1768, its imposing size gives the impression of dignity. There is a statue of Kossuth in front of the building, which became the symbol of the town. Dominating the town square is a large Roman Catholic parish church.

The most valuable monuments are the Paulite and Piarist cloister and church which can be found at "Barátszer". The cloister was built in the 13th century and the early Gothic church was already standing in the 14th century. The Baroque high altar and the church accessories are of extraordinary beauty. The icons of the Greek Catholic church are the gem of ecclesiastical culture in the country.

Pleasant excursions can be taken on the mountain tourist trails. Magas Hill is also a real paradise for winter sports enthusiasts. Sled and ski runs suitable for national competitions invite those who want some training and fresh air. Looking from the top of Vár Hill the towers of Sárospatak can be seen. Hegyalja and the Bodrogköz on the Great Hungarian Plain can be seen in the distance. The inhabitants of Sátoraljaújhely built a Hungarian Calvary on Szár Hill in the sorrowful memory of the Peace Treaty of Trianon. According to tradition the first Aszu wine of the world was produced in the Oremus field of Vár Hill and Sátor Hill in the 1620s. The local cellars of Ungvár and Zsólyomka are world-famous.

Considerable artifacts of the Jews can be found here. Mózes Teitelbaum, rabbi of the miraculous power, lies in the old cemetery. He lived from 1759 until 1841 and he was an advocate of the 18th century form of Jewish mysticism. Hundreds of people visit his tomb every year on the anniversary of his death.

Cultural facilities provide an opportunity for education and cultural development: the town has a museum, archives, library, school of music and a gallery of fine arts. Local press, regional television and educational organizations are active in the town. In addition, Sátoraljaújhely's world famous dance ensemble maintains the folk dance traditions of the region.

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