Vizsoly Bible


Exhibition Panels

The partner exhibition in Vizsoly is located in the “Református Betlehem” or Reformed Bethlehem educational and cultural visitor centre. The centre consists of four buildings. The entrance building includes a visitor reception area and ticket desk with a themed bookshop and a café.

The second building is the current Reformed Church which has been restored to its earlier medieval form in which an original Vizsoly Bible is displayed. Visitors can also view valuable frescoes which date from the Arpad period of the 12th century. A nearby building houses a small museum of the history of the printing press with exhibitions about Hungarian printing houses in the 16th century. The museum consists of two rooms, and the central element of the first room is an all-glass floor with a large-scale map of the Kingdom of Hungary on which the locations of former printing houses are marked. The room is complemented by information panels which provide a historical background on development of the printing press. The second room is a reconstructed printing workshop from the period including a replica of a hand printing press on which visitors can personally try out historical methods of printing. The room is complemented by an interactive display for smaller children and an electronic information panel. The last building in the complex is the Museum of Wine and History of Regional Viticulture where visitors can learn more about the everyday life of the village and the editor of the Bible during the period in which the Vizsoly Bible was produced.

Information panels

The information panels of the printing press exhibition allow visitors to find out about various aspects of book printing not only in Vizsoly but also in the Kingdom of Hungary as a whole, focusing mainly on the period of the 16th century.

Panels in the first room:

  • The expansion of the printing press in the Kingdom of Hungary
  • Printers and master printers
  • Where and why printing houses were created
  • Printing houses in castles and towns
  • Workshop equipment: tools and artistic elements
  • Hungarian books printed in Krakow
  • Hungarian books printed in Vienna
  • The Catholic printing house in Trnava
  • The printing house under the patronage of Nádasdy in Sárvár-Újsziget
  • The Koložvár printing house of Heltai and Hoffgreff
  • The Hoffhalter printing house

The panels in the second room – the reconstruction of the printing workshop – concentrate on the Vizsoly printing house itself, its history, printers and related individuals, and the formal and content aspects of the Vizsoly Bible.

The first panel is combined and consists of themes:

  • Predecessors – the founder of the printing house Peter Bornemisza
  • Mančkovič the printing master – various publications from Plavecký Castle
  • From Plavecký Castle to Hlohovec
  • From Hlohovec to Vizsoly – Protestant patronage
  • The translation of the complete Calvinist Bible into Hungarian

Themes 2.-4 of the panel:

  • The most important Hungarian printing house of its time
  • The Vizsoly Bible as one of the most beautiful Hungarian books
  • The fate of the Bible after publication

The fifth and final panel is also combined, and its topics are:

  • Publications of the Vizsoly printing house
  • The fate of the Vizsoly printing house
  • The printer’s marks of Mančkovič
  • Thematic map of the history of the printing press in the Kingdom of Hungary
  • Book decorations of the Vizsoly printing house

Wine Museum

The last building of the “Református Betlehem” centre is the Museum of Wine (Vincellér-ház). This museum was created with the intention of presenting the life of the translator and editor of the Vizsoly Bible Gáspár Károlyi, primarily through his historical connections to the once-famous viniculture of the region and Károlyi’s business activities as a merchant exporting Tokaj wine to Krakow. The exhibition displays items from the everyday activities involved in the cultivation of grapes and from the wineries of the Tokaj foothills. The exhibition also includes fourteen information panels which inform visitors about the key events in local history - the village, the church, the church choir, and the fate of the editor Károlyi and his family, all set in the context of the long-established trade route that intersected the village. On the final panels, visitors can learn about the circumstances of the publication of the Vizsoly Bible. This exhibition is enhanced by an artfully decorated panelled ceiling featuring biblical and ornamental themes.