Situated at the feet of the Bükk Mountains, Mezőkövesd is the capital of Matyó Land. Matyó embroidery and folk costume are certified “Hungaricums” that is typically Hungarian treasures of the Carpathian basin. In 2012 it was inscribed as a UNESCO’s Cultural World Heritage Site.
Mezőkövesd was given the rank of a market-town by King Matthias in 1464. A few years later, the king visited the town himself on Saint Ladislaus day, and the town was really popular among the inhabitants. This is the reason why many people think that the name of the town derives from King Matthias’s name.
There was a Gothic chapel in the place where the listed building stands today as early as in the 13th century. The nave of the chapel was deconstructed in 1786, with the exception of the altar, and was extended crossway in a Baroque style. The old altar is the Mary Chapel today. The new tower was added in 1898, then it was reconstructed in 1960 after the revolution of 1956. The frescos were painted by the world-famous artist István Takács, who was born in Mezőkövesd. The Baroque statues located in the park of the square were built by local people during the reign of Maria Theresa in a way to say thank you to God for ending the great plague.
After a long period preparation and reconstruction, the building of the old Korona Hotel was finally occupied by the Matyó Museum on 25 June 2005, which in 2006 was awarded the honourable title “the Museum of the Year” for its spectacular exhibitions and visitor-friendly activities.
The extended exhibitions displaying Matyó embroidery and the everyday life of Matyó people may also be viewed by visitors with disabilities.
When walking to the other side of Saint Ladislaus Square – today called Heroes’ Square – the water of the statue fountain appeases visitors’ thirst in the summer. The primary school that was built in the place of the old synagogue is a characteristic building of the square, on the walls of which pictures inspired by folk life can be seen. There is a memorial tablet commemorating those taken away during World War II. The sculpture honours the memory of seasonal agricultural workers of Mezőkövesd.
The Skanzen-style town district which may be freely visited preserved its old agglomerated structure. In the 100-150 year-old houses of the zigzagging streets, exhibition and crafts houses have been constructed. Having crossed the Hadas gate, visitors can first see the house of Hungarian furniture painter family Kovács, and the Embroidery house. In the house of Hungarian gingerbread maker Anna Pető, a permanent tale exhibition entitled “Favourite tales of my childhood” can be seen from April 2008. The exhibits prepared by using different craft techniques are accompanied by an entertaining light show.
The intellectual centre of the district was the house of Bori Kisjankó. The 19th-century house is a typical Matyó building. In the Toy house creative craft activities are organized for visitors. Beside the Toy house the house of the famous storyteller Margit Gari Takács is located, where several events, including an exhibition of musical instruments are organized throughout the year. The workshop of glass-grinding craftsman Tibor Lacsó opposite the crane well can also be visited at any time. The Painter-Weaver’s House is cared by painter Mihály Pető and weaver Aranka Tábori. The house, which was built in 1817, also has a beehive oven. Opposite the Enamel house is located where the enamel and pastel exhibitions of Annamária Pótáné Bartók can be seen. Pottery-maker and folk artist Tibor Fehér prepares his award-winning pottery products.
The Museum that is unique in Europe was opened in 1979 based on the collection of János Hajdu Ráfis. The rich exhibition raises the memory of the ancestors of our agricultural machines and the machines of our ancestors. Visitors can see not only over 100-year-old machines still capable of operation, but also agricultural buildings with a barn, stables, a garden and a rest house where the artistic works of the founder of the museum and local craftspeople are displayed.