Controversial runic town signs spring up across Hungary

History reports that an increasing number of signs signs featuring the town’s name in Hungarian runes (rovásírás) are being put up. Meanwhile, local governments have no say in the matter, as the permits required are issued by the roads authority.

Runic signs were erected leading into Hódmezővásárhely, the city that under the leadership of Fidesz parliamentary faction leader János Lázár had previously banned the Hungarian Guard paramilitary group and the Árpád-striped flag. This sign started the controversy.

László Sipos, the director of the Rovás Alapitvány, which has spearheaded the project, said erecting the signs began in 2003 in Székely Land, and that the aim is to make the sign apolitical, although he acknowledged that far-right party Jobbik has been a strong proponent of the signs.

Milán Árva, the communications director of the Hungarian Road Authority, said that the signs technically are registered as advertisements and not official road signs, and that response to them has been primarily positive. The local government of Hódmezővásárhely, however, has not been as receptive to the idea.


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