Széphalom, a part of Sátoraljaújhely, received its name from Ferenc Kazinczy. The 19th century neologist had a great impact on Hungarian language and literature. He was 8 years old when he moved to the family’s mansion in Alsóregmec. At 10, he became a student of the Sárospatak College, where he later studied theology and law. Beside reading, writing and translating, he got to know the intellectual trends of the era.
He was already a central figure of Hungarian literature when he started to build his own home on the family land parcel that he named Széphalom. Only after his prison years (he was sentenced for his Jacobite affiliations) and his marriage to Sophie Török could he finish the work on his home. He lived in the Széphalom mansion with his family from 1806 until his death. His famous epigrams, linguistic inventions and many other writings were created here. Meanwhile, he worked in the Archives of Sátoraljaújhely.
In 1831, he fell victim to the cholera epidemic of Zemplén at the age of 72.
Graveyard and Memorial Hall
The Memorial Hall is located in a beautiful park of Széphalom, in the graveyard of the Kazinczy family. The writer and his wife, Sophie Török, both rest under the memorial column, next to their four children, three grandchildren and their servant who was imprisoned with Kazinczy in the castle of Munkács. Their youngest son, Lajos died as a martyr in Arad as a colonel of the Hungarian army.
After the death of Kazinczy, the mansion was left to disrepair, and at the end, it could not be saved from ruin. Replacing it on that site, a mausoleum was raised based on the early plans of Miklós Ybl extended by Antal Szkalnitzky. The hall, reminiscent of a Greek temple was built by 1873. It’s been welcoming visitors since 1876.
The entrance decorated by columns and tympanums leads to a rectangular interior space with a round-arched apse. Here, a rich collection of Kazinczy-relics can be found.
The relics of the hall were collected by the writer’s grandson, Bálint Becske. The personal belongings, manuscripts, paintings and the white marble Kazinczy-bust by István Ferenczi (finished by János Marsalkó) all remind us of the writer’s greatness and evoke the atmosphere of the era. The exhibition also provides an overview of Kazinczy’s life and work.
About Native Language in the Orchard
Symbolically, the modern building of the Museum of the Hungarian Language was built on the site of the old orchard, based on the plans of the Ybl Award-winning architect, György Radványi. The institution was opened in 2008, containing three exhibition spaces, a book house, a seminar room and a modern lecture hall. The permanent exhibition is a vivid immersion in language history. The museum is surrounded by the Ferenc Kazinczy memorial park. The well-maintained memorial park that spreads over 4.4 hectares (more than ten acres) is a nature reserve.
Secret of Secrets is the title of a permanent exhibition on the past, present and future of Hungarian language. Using modern technology, the interactive exhibition introduces the differences, similarities and relationships between Hungarian and other languages, the prominent figures and significant events of Hungarian language history and development, and also presents the runic alphabet used in Old Hungarian script. Regional and social linguistic differences and the influence of computers and cell phones are also introduced during the exhibition.
Address: 275 Kazinczy utca, Sátoraljaújhely-Széphalom