Walking at the World Heritage Site of Hollókő is like stepping into an illustration for a bedtime story: a winding sett paved road lined with white houses of traditional rural architecture surrounded by rolling hills.
Every era is characterized by different building styles depending on how economic needs and challenges changed over time. The beautiful old village of Hollókő preserves the village-scape of a tiny agricultural settlement living in harmony with nature recalling past times much before motorization. Interestingly, this is not only the past but the present of the village as it attracts thousands of tourists every year to the hills of Cserhát granting the necessary income to the local community.
The origins of Hollókő go back to the 13th century when a castle was built on Szár Hill next to the village. Houses of the village were made of wood with thatched roofs. Inhabitants used open fires in their kitchen with holes in the roof for ventilation. As a result, the village was devastated by fire more times. Although a decree in 1783 forbade using wood to construct houses, it was ignored in Hollókő. The last great fire destroyed the village in 1909.
From then on, cob walls were built on stone foundation and roof structure was also changed while keeping traditional appearance. This was the period when the current arrangement was created. The front sides and yard sides are extended with a porch and roofs overhang. The single street Old Village is a row of narrow plots with houses for the next generations at the other end. Sheds were built near the lands following local traditions. Maps from the 19th century display a second street also east of the main street. Surrounding slopes were used as wood pastures.
The World Heritage site consists of 55 buildings and the church in the center. The wooden-towered church was built in 1889 by public donation.
The old village, the castle and local “palóc” traditions has made this place quite popular among tourists. The old houses are mostly used to provide services (restaurants, exhibitions, accommodation) and locals, who live in the New Village, occasionally wear decorative folk costumes to enhance authentic ambience. By today local economy has totally shifted from agriculture to tourism.
Hiking along the local nature trails you can get an insight into natural environment and rural economy of the past. Check the website of the village for accommodation.