National and historical memorials
National and historical memorials are symbolic or actual sites related to decisive events in Hungarian history. At present, there are 21 national and 55 historical memorials in Hungary, marked by special commemorative columns, stelae. National memorial sites that determined the Hungarian national identity are the most important locations in our history. They are enshrined in law by the National Assembly on the basis of the proposals of The National Memorial and Piety Committee. Historical memorials may be categorized as outstanding not only from a national but also denominational, regional or minority point of view. Their significance is recognized in the form of a government decree based on the recommendation of The National Memorial and Piety Committee.
Although memorial sites are frequently important works of architecture, they are significant primarily for their outstanding historical role. The key events, tragedies and moments of glory in Hungarian history come alive for visitors to these memorials. They are locations where everyone can unconsciously absorb all the knowledge that is much harder to assimilate from history books alone.
It is an important mission of to promote the memorials, and thereby our common past. Reducing sites with very different characteristics and possibilities to a common denominator represents a serious challenge.
Memorials’ Day, the national programme series launched by the institution in 2016, is a perfect opportunity for this: while demonstrating the particular values of each memorial site, still they are presented with a uniform image to those interested in culture.
The Memorial of the Year Award, established in 2020, is awarded to sites that promote cultural heritage in an innovative way that speaks to people of all generations, that seek regional or national collaboration with other national or historical memorials, and that highlight the ‘concept of memorial place’ in their programmes and communications.
Furthermore, the institution strives to encourage an ever-wider proportion of the general public to look for and visit the country’s memorial sites through the publication of the scientific information album entitled Terekbe írt múlt (Written In Spacies), booklets introducing national and historical monuments and the magazine entitled Emlékhelyek Lapja (Journal of Memorials).
In the framework of its historical and cultural memory education programme, the National Heritage Institute also intends to place memorial sites in the focus of attention of students and teachers working in public education, thus helping these sites to survive and to play an increasingly strong and conscious role in strengthening the national identity.