Open Access

Changes in the Townscape of Lampertszásza (Berehove/Beregszász) in the 13th–15th Centuries


Across the River Tisza, there lies a town, Berehove (hereinafter also referred to as Beregszász [Hu]), situated on the north-eastern edge of the Great Hungarian Plain with the wind swaying ears of wheat, on the flatlands surrounded by rustling oak forests, gold-sweating trachyte mountains, and rivers subsiding upon reaching the plain. It is a veritable fairy garden, a small piece of the realm that out foremother, Emese, dreamt of back in the day. Places, just as people, have their own destinies: they emerge, evolve, thrive, and then, if they are destined so, disappear from the stage of history. The very first mention of Berehove dates back to early 1063, recorded under the name Lamperti, as the estate of Prince Lampert, son of Béla I of Hungary. Prince Lampert founded the later town. At the time, a small settlement must have been situated here with the prince’s countryseat inhabited by the garrison and the household servants. Residents of the house were mostly the gamekeepers and huntsmen of Bereg Forest County.

To fully uncover the past is not possible – at the very most, some attempts can be made at its reconstruction by drawing on contemporary sources and relying on archaeological research. The mediaeval layout of the settlement is known from the available sources and serves as a basis for the present study in its efforts to reconstruct the settlement image of the historical town centre and to find out why Lampertszásza did not embark on the path of the ‘classic, city wall/fortification’ type of settlement development. The parish church is the only building of the mediaeval townscape that has survived partially, which, however, provides us with indications about the contemporary buildings of the one-time reginal town and the related ‘block of church buildings’.