Showing posts with label archives. Show all posts
Showing posts with label archives. Show all posts

Sunday, December 08, 2019

Monument Protection Archives Reopen in Budapest

Viktor Myskovszky's drawing of the Saint Michael chapel
 at Kassa (Košice, SK)

The national system of monument protection has been through many changes in Hungary during the last few years: have a look at the diagram on the website of the institution to get an idea. I did not report on every step of this process (the most recent overview dates from almost three years ago)  - which led to the complete closing of Hungary's National Office for Cultural Heritage. While day-to-day tasks of heritage protection are carried out by various ministries and government offices, the care of the rich archives of the national office was uncertain for some time.
Finally in 2017, the Archives were handed over to the Hungarian Academy of Arts. This institution is now called Hungarian Museum of Architecture and Monument Protection Documentation Centre. The Academy took care of moving the collections to a new, temporary location, where now they have been made accessible again. As indicated by the name, part of this collection is that of the Hungarian Museum of Architecture, which is also supervised by the Hungarian Academy of Arts.

The Monument Protection Document Service represents the most significant collection of archival material for the study of the historic Kingdom of Hungary. Material accumulated at the archives since 1872, the foundation of the Temporary Committee for Historic Monuments, and it covers the entire territory of the Carpathian basin. All the documentation of the major restorations carried in Hungary during the last decades of the 19th century can be found there, along with documents surveying monuments of the land. During the 20th century, material continued to accumulate there.

The Document Service consists of the following parts:
  • Historical archives - this is where all the documentation is kept, along with correspondence
  • Collection of plans - plans and drawings are kept here, along with a super-important collection of watercolor copies of medieval wall paintings
  • Photo repository - the largest collection of historic photographs of Hungarian monuments
  • Library - Hungary's most important library specialized in monument protection, restoration, etc.
Copy of wall painting at Mártonhely (Martjanci, SLO) by István Gróh

The English page of the website of the institution provides more information on the holdings. The reason for this post is to announce that as of December 2, 2019, the Monument Protection Documentation Services are once again accessible for researchers. This at least is good news. This might be a good point to mention that all of the earlier publications of the National Office of Monuments Protection are available online in the database. 

Romanesque stone carvings from Pécs cathedral, photo by Péter Gerecze

Monday, August 09, 2010

Hungarian Medieval Charters Digitized

Patrohi armorial, 1437
Hungarian National Archives, Dl 50.529
As of Spring 2010, over 100.000 Hungarian medieval charters have been fully digitized and made available by the Hungarian National Archives. This means that they are fully digitized, with high resolution photos of the charters, with additional photos of seals, and all this material is incorporated into a fully searchable database.

In addition to their varied content and sometimes beautifully preserved seals, a number of these documents are true masterpieces of manuscript illumination. This is especially true of armorial letters, which usually include a depiction of the family's newly given coat of arms. The series of illuminated armorials started in the period of King Sigismund, and stretches right to the end of the medieval Kingdom of Hungary (later as well - but the coverage of this database goes up to 1526).

You can check out a few beautiful examples, if you carry out a search by serial numbers. You will be asked to install a small image-viewing software, and you'll have to click around until you get to the images. For example, check out these armorials: (Dl) 13.000; 50.521; 104.871; 105.029.

If you would like to see more, enter the search term "címereslevél" in the search box as "document type". This gave me 149 hits - many more armorials are preserved in various other archives not covered by this database.
I wouldn't call this a very user-friendly system, but with a bit of patience, the database can give you all the information these charters hold.