Horpács, Mikszáth Kálmán Memorial Museum – visitors are welcomed by a portrait of the writer. The painting is the work of Mihály Záhonyi Nagy. As a piece of art it is not prominent, yet this is one of the most expressive picture of Mikszáth.

Kálmán Mikszáth was born more than 150 years ago – 16th January 1847 – in a small village of Nógrád – Szklabonya.. He died on 28th May 1910 in the capital of the country – Budapest.

The events of the war for independence in 1848 had a strong influence upon the young writer, whereas in his last years Mikszáth could sense the omen of a world filled with war and violence. He was most productive asa writer in the last two decades of the 19th century. Mikszáth himself can be equalled with the Hungarian turn of the century.

Mikszáth formed the Hungarian turn of the century into his own feature, and left it to us in his works. The permanent literary history exhibition of the Kálmán Mikstzáth Memorial Museum is entitled merely: MIKSZÁTH.

Before we get around the halls of the museum, we have to pose the question: why just Horpács, why is it here?

Mikszáth was born near here, but since Trianon it has been found on the other side of the border, Slovakia. Balassagyarmat was the town where the young artist gained his first significant experiences (1871-73), but he soon got to Szeged, the beloved town, where he also stayed just for a short period (1878-80). Many houses, streets and institutes may maintain the memory of Mikszáth, but where could his own museum stand?

Horpács was the chosen home for the writer. He purchased the property in 1904. Beside the old mansion he built a new one in 1916. The relief of Jókai on the front wall signifies both the homage he paid to the respected master, and the fact that the expenses of the building works were met by the royalty he received for his work entitled The life and time of Mór Jókai.

The Mikszáth mansion was nationalized in 1950, the descendants were deported, yet the place maintained the character of a literary sanctuary. It has been functioned as a museum since 1954.

Horpács used to be a real refuge for Mikszáth. The old and deseased man yearned for peace and queit, which he found among his relatives and in the familiar athmosphere of his childhood. This was a place he could flee to from the noise of the city swelling more and more into a metropolis.

Anna Kovács