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Holloko – a village from the past

Updated on May 14, 2015

A little about the village

The village of Holloko is located in northern Hungary, almost 100 kilometers away from the capital city, Budapest. (By car it can be easily approached on the M3 highway – drive until Hatvan – then drive on the 21st main road until you reach Paszto, and finally follow the signposts by the road until Holloko – GPS coordinates: 47.999/19.588).

/ Route planning – by car:

The village is a very popular and interesting place among the Hungarians as well since this little hamlet is a pearl of our wealthy past and yet a modern tourist attraction. It consists of two main ‘parts’: the New Village (modern buildings, restaurant) and the Old Village. The latter has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 and gives place to many museums (keep reading for more info on the Old Village). The natural environment of the village is also protected.

A beautiful photo gallery about the village:

A video about this little village (with Hungarian commentary)

The legend of the village

According to the local legend, the owner of the surrounding castle-hill, Andras Kacsics kidnapped a beautiful woman, whose nurse was a witch. This witch made a deal with the devil to free the woman from her captivity. The woman was freed with the help of the children of the devil, who transformed into crows and took apart the building of the fortress. But the crows were clever, they not only took the building into pieces, but from the stones of this fortress they built the castle of Holloko on a nearby hill (‘hollo ’ means: crow, while ‘ko ’ means: stone). Local people say that crows are welcome in the region nowadays as well - the birds like to take a rest under the castle ruins.

The history of Holloko

The village of Holloko was well preserved during the centuries thanks to the protecting valley of the surrounding Cserhat Mountains, so the village could keep its original, enchanted beauty from the 17th century. The so-called ‘Paloc’ style of architecture of the village is the one with the best condition in Central-Europe. The inhabitants, the upper mentioned Paloc people built their houses on long, narrow plots perpendicularly to the central road. These houses usually had 3 main rooms in them: the pantry, the kitchen and the bedroom – plus a stable outside for smaller animals. Outside the houses had straw roofs that were supported by columns on both sides and also had long verandas along the building. The buildings were built from adobe and clay. The fronts of the houses (if you look at them from the main road) were richly decorated and full of flowers. The houses that we can see today were rebuilt in 1909 – in their original outlook -, after a huge fire completely devastated the village.

The Old Village

One part of the village is the Old Village that is protected by UNESCO and gives place to many interesting museums – there is a museum or craft master in almost each house of the village:

  • Village Museum (Falumuzeum);
  • Doll Museum (Babamuzeum);
  • Post Museum (Postamuzeum);
  • House of Folk Arts (Miveshaz);
  • Weaving House (Szovohaz);
  • many folk craft masters and workshops;
  • Waxwork Museum among the castle ruins.

The church of Holloko

The first written source about the church of Holloko dates back to 1343, but that church was destroyed in the 16th century during the Turkish attacks in Hungary. The present, distinctive, roman catholic church of the village was built in the 19th century, in the middle of the village on a small ‘island’. The building was built from adobe and clay and has a charming wooden steeple, erected in 1889. In the church there is a pieta statue that was carved in the 17th century in the uplands of Slovakia.

The inhabitants of the village

The people living in Holloko are the Paloc ethnical group with their richly decorated and colorful traditional costumes that evolved around the 1870s. The men usually wear black pants, embroidered shirts, colorful apron and black boots with black hats, while the women wear huge, pleated skirts, black aprons, colorful bonnets and white shirts with embroidered shawls. Their hair was braided and a band was tied to the end.

The Castle ruins

The history of the surroundings of the castle dates back to the 13th century, when the family that owned the territory started to build a castle here upon the command of the famous Hungarian King VI. Bela. The castle was first mentioned in a written source in 1310 as ‘castrum Hollokew’.

The castle was occupied by Turkish troops in 1552 and was only freed in 1683 by a Polish king. But after this the castle was abandoned and no one took care of the building, therefore it decayed through the ages until 1711, when upon a command of a king the local people started to demolish the castle. No one knows why, finally the ruins were not blown up, so the remains of the castle are in the best condition in the region.

Nowadays there are several buildings among the ruins; you can see a waxwork museum here as well. On whit Sunday and Monday and also on the national holiday on the 20th of August there are castle games organized to entertain tourists and local people.

Entrance fees to the castle (in 2014):

  • adult: 700 HUF
  • children, retired: 350 HUF
  • family: 2100 HUF

Castle games (Varjatekok) on national holidays

Easter in Holloko

In each year there are fantastic and colorful Easter celebrations in the village, when local people – both young and old - welcome the spring with traditional programs in historic costumes. Various performances are held on Easter Sunday and Monday, and moreover, visitors can try weaving, wood carving and pottery making in the handcraft workshops. But always pay attention to the local, young boys – they love to give a ‘little’ water-shower for girls during the Easter ritual.

Easter festivities in Holloko

Accommodation in Holloko

If you are interested in spending a few days in this beautiful little village, you can choose from 11 houses where you can have accommodation. Plus, if you would like to take part in some traditional activities, you can do this too! There are many options to have a nice meal here as well, so you can taste the local food if you would like to.

The Information Point for tourists can be found almost opposite the restaurant in an old house (Kossuth Street 68.).

Inquire here:

What do you think?

If you would have the opportunity, would you visit Holloko?

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© Copyright 2012-2014, Zsofia Koszegi-Nagy (zsobig)

© 2010 Sophie

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    • profile image

      mona 7 years ago

      i'm travelling to hungary in 28th of march.i wish if i have the chance to visit holloko.i'm going to stay in pecs and i hope to have this chance to visit this village.

    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 7 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      Hungary is very picturesque. I will be there someday! Thanks, zsofi.

      ^-^ Ireno

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Zsobig, thank you so much for sharing. Awesome pictures too.

      kindest regards Zsuzsy