15kms from Eger and well-served by public transport, Mezőkövesd is ideal for a day trip out of Eger.
Although best-known for being home to the Matyó people and their wonderful folk art, it also has a thermal bath, a fascinating agricultural museum and the 19th century Hadas district.
The story goes that the Matyó, who also live in two neighbouring settlements, Szentistvan and Tard, take their name from the 15th century Hungarian King, Mattias who gave the town and the surrounding area special privileges.
The evocative Hadas District
It is the folk art and culture that draw most visitors to this small, north-eastern town.
With its bright colours on a white background, the Matyó style is immediately recognisable. Roses, petals and leaves are among the motifs found in the embroidery and on painted objects; so distinctive is the style that it has just recently been added to the list of 'Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity' by UNESCO.
The distinctive rose motif of Matyo
Being so unique, many tourists want to bring back Matyo embroidery as a memento of their stay or as gifts for friends, while it is possible to buy it in Budapest and other big Hungarian cities a lot of what is labeled Matyo isn't.
The only way to ensure you are getting the real deal is by visiting the source, Mezőkövesd and more precisely, the Hadas District.
The Agricultural Museum will keep the men happy
The Hadas district is the oldest part of Mezőkövesd, although it only dates to the 19th century as much of the town was destroyed by a series of fires prior to this.
The houses, many reconstructed, are built from traditional materials and a number are open to the public; there are also shops from where you can purchase bona-fide Matyó crafts and there is even a traditional gingerbread 'factory'.
The Matyó Museum
Aside from the Hadas District, Mezőkövesd has lots more to offer: the Agricultural Museum, the Matyó Museum, the Zsory Baths, the Bori Kisjankó Memorial House and the Roman Catholic Church.
There are also a number of festivals throughout the year, the biggest and best being that held at Easter in the Hadas District
The Agricultural Museum
This is called the Agricultural Machine Museum but it is so much more than that; there are over a thousand exhibits including tractors, threshing machines, ploughs, steam engines, all manner of tools, water wheels and so on. There is also a blacksmith at work utilising the traditional methods.
Discovered in the 1930s on the estate of Count Zsóry when a drilling rig looking for oil struck hot water, Mezőkövesd's baths come a close second to Eger's for facilities and size.
Bori Kisjankó Memorial House
Deep in the heart of the Hadas district stands a 200 year old cottage, once home to Bori Kisjankó it is now a museum dedicated to the work of the woman of a '100 roses', best-known of the artists who embroidered in the Mayó style.
István Takács fresco in Mezőkövesd's Roman Catholic Church
Saint Ladislaus Roman Catholic Church
Although Baroque in style, Mezőkövesd's Roman Catholic Church is built around a 14th century Gothic Chapel. It is also home to a number of frescoes painted by István Takács, a renowned Matyó painter active in the middle of the 20th century.
His work is also evident in Eger's Basilica and Szarvaskó's church.
Admission is free. Technically it is open all year round but you might have to find the key-holder to let you in.
The Matyó Museum
A comprehensive collection detailing the evolution of the Mayó style. With stunning embroidery and decorated objects on show, this exhibition is awash with colour and genius.