National and historical symbols of Hungary

In this section you can find the crests of almost 2400 settlements of Hungary with notes. Find the starting letter of the settlement in the list and click if you want to see it.

The Coat-of-Arms of the Village of Sármellék
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(Zala County)

The coat-of-arms is a shield erect with a pointed base. It bears: vert, at fess point a stork in its vigilance reversed argent, with a bell or in its claw.

The bell evokes a legend from the time of the Turkish domination, according to which the dwellers of the one-time Kincses-Devecser (situated in the vicinity of today's Sármellék), while fleeing from the Turks, concealed their bell in a well. In the dexter and sinister fess the stork is flanked by a reed mace or representing the nearby marshland of Kis-Balaton, which gives Sármellék's natural surroundings their distinctive features. The base bears a bar wavy argent symbolising the River Zala, which borders on the village in the west.

The village of Sármellék is located by the Zala River, in the western part of the Zalavár ridge of Zala County, at a distance of 7 kilometres from Lake Balaton and at 15 kilometres from Keszthely. The settlement is situated between trunk road 76 and a minor road connecting Zalavár and Alsópáhok.

By bus it is easily accessible both from Keszthely as well as from Zalavár. There is a direct bus service between Sármellék and the capital as well. The settlement is linked to the national railway network, and although there is the local line which branches off from the Budapest-Nagykanizsa line at Balatonszentgyörgy, in 1976 passenger traffic was disconnected. From the point of view of transport Sármellék is in a unique situation, since it has an airport, the largest one in the Balaton region; its long and paved runways.make it suitable for serving passenger planes as well. Foreign planes often land here. Today the one-time military airport is the gateway to Hévíz and the entire West-Balaton region.

A Brief History of the Settlement

As it is attested by New Stone Age archeological finds the village of Sármellék was inhabited as early as prehistoric times; people settled down in the dry areas issuing from the swamps and the centre of the ancient settlement was the fortress at nearby Fenékpuszta.

The first written mention of the settlement’s name (Saarmellék) was made in 1356. This name is definitely related to the geographical location of the settlement, to the swamps of the Zala River and the Smaller Balaton region. In the early Árpád Age there were two settlements in the place of the present-day village, Kis-Devecser and Hungenfelde (Égenföld), the names of which are known to us from the deed of foundation of the Abbey of Zalavár of 1019. The settlement’s name has not changed ever since, only its spelling was altered from Sarmelyk (1531) to Sarmelleke (1542) and Saarmelleke (1546).

Throughout the Middle Ages the village was owned by noblemen, members of the Kustyán family. It was also the period when 20-30 members of the lesser nobility lived in the village at the same time. From the 16th and 17th centuries onward there were other families among the landowners, who obtained their property from the king. Landowners of that period included the members of the Gétyei, Hertelendi, Hathalmi, Pagi Karol, Sálkőkúti Sál and Csányi families. The inhabitants of the village lived from growing corn in the fertile fields and since there were vast pastures in the region as well, animal husbandry was also a significant occupation. In local waters the inhabitants were able to catch fish and crab until the local landowner leased the fishing rights in 1786. Wine production at Sármellék was restricted to a smaller area.

The period of the Turkish Conquest brought much suffering to the inhabitants of Sármellék. Since the village was situated by the Vázsony-Zágráb main road, troops often marched through the settlement and they brought only destruction to it. The number of habitable homes considerably decreased in this period. As it is attested by available contemporary documents the settlement was subjugated by the Turks in 1553. A sadly significant date of this period is December 1560, when the troops of Turkish governor Hamza raided the village because the inhabitants had not paid their taxes. They burnt all the homes down, killed four people and imprisoned 131 local inhabitants. Following this event the village remained uninhabited and it was only rarely that documents mentioned one or two occupied houses at Sármellék. (There were 3 of them in 1564, and the village was then uninhabited according to documents from 1572 to 1576). The census of 1598 mentioned 10 occupied houses at Sármellék. For over a century, from 1618 to 1731 Sármellék became a deserted village again.

In the 18th century, when the threats of Turkish attacks diminished, the area was recorded as public property, In 1731 János Simoncsics was the first noble man who settled down in the deserted area. The new owners of the 18th century included the members of the Bogyai, Oroszvári, Péterfi and Mezericzky families.

The new settlers were farmers, who were free to move.Their burdens increased considerably by the middle of the century, so the village wrote a petition to Empress Maria Theresia to reduce the farmers’ burdens. As a result a new contract was signed about taxation, but in 1765 the inhabitants once again failed to fulfil the new demands.

In 1736 a church was built in the village from wood and from bricks. First it was affiliated to the church of Felsőpáhok, later to that of Szentgyörgyvár. In 1757 the church at Sármellék became independent, what is more, the number of inhabitants was growing so intensively that by the end of the century the church building became too small for the village. It was also in this period that elementary education was organised in the village. The work of the local teacher was supervised by the priest as well as by the officials of the village. Local children were taught how to read, write and some Latin words and grammar as well.

The present-day Roman catholic church of the village was built in 1839, in the first half of the 19th century, because the old one proved to be too small for the inhabitants of the quickly developing village.

During the Revolution and the War of Independence of 1848/49 five local men served in the Hungarian national army and one of them was killed in a campaign.

In the 19th century the members of the Festetics and the Bonyai families were the most important landowners in the village. Due to the railway constructions of the late 19th century, a favourable change occurred in village life. It was in 1894 that the first train left the station of Sármellék. The village was then part of the major Budapest-Nagykanizsa-Fiume railway line and leaving Sármellék the trains left for Zalaapáti.

The Roman catholic church of the village is a historical monument. It can be found on Dózsa György Street and it was built in 1839. Its tower stands in front of the facade and it is crenellated. The central nave has two arches, the sanctuary is of the same width as the nave and the apse is semicircular. In front of the church the statue of the Holy Trinity can be seen, which represents Baroque style. On its triangular pedestal the statues of St. Sebastian, Vendel and Florian can be seen, on its column the group of statues representing the Holy trinity.

The nearby Smaller-Balaton area. is under protection and from September 1997 it has been part of the Upper Balaton National Park.

The village festivities are attractive events not only for the inhabitants but also for Sármellék’s visitors. St. Orbán’s day, the holiday of local wine and the autumn vintage procession on the wine hill are among the most popular local celebrations.