HORTOBÁGY NATIONAL PARK
Saline plains, fascinating aquatic wildlife and man-made countryside reclaimed by nature – the Hortobágy National Park is an area of contrasts. That should come as no surprise, it is the first and largest of Hungary’s national parks. The plain is also listed as a World Heritage Site and is full of fascinating wildlife and highly charged with cultural history.
Hortobágy Shepherds’ Museum (village of Hortobágy)
Hortobágy National Park
H-4071 Hortobágy, Petőfi Square 13. Phone: +36-52/589-000 Fax:+36-52/589-321 e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
Many a highwayman passed over the Nine-Arch Bridge on their way to the Hortobágy Nagycsárda (tavern). But villains were not the true masters of the treeless lowlands known as the Puszta. It has always been presided over by herdsmen, whose legacy is preserved in the local Shepherds’ Museum. The exhibition displays their living conditions, working tools and everyday objects.
Puszta Zoological Gardens (Village of Hortobágy)
You will be pleasantly surprised by this zoo, even if you know a lot more about domestic animals than someone who keeps nothing more than a goldfish in a bowl. The Zoological Gardens contain everything you need to know about local animal husbandry. You will come face to face with animals such as the Hungarian Kuvasz dog, the Racka breed of long-wool sheep, long-horn grey cattle, domesticated buffaloes and Nonius horses. You can also learn about how they are kept, the tools used and the development of the typical breeds of the Puszta from their origins to the present day. If you are looking for a special reason to visit the Puszta, do not miss the National Herdsmen’s Competition and Shepherds’ Meeting held in the zoo on the Saturday before Whitsun.
Open from 9 am to 6 pm from March 15 to October 15, depending on the weather.
Tel.: +36 52 369 040
Kőrszín (Village of Hortobágy)
A special occasion requires a worthy venue. The Kőrszín (circular cart-house) of Hortobágy reopened to commemorate the day the World Heritage certificate was awarded to the site. It has hosted a host of temporary exhibitions since then.
It currently houses an exhibition of the natural resources found on the Northern Hungarian Plain.
Open to advance bookings until May 15, and daily from May 15 to October 15.
Tel.: +36 52 589 000 and +36-52/589-321
Western Reception Building (at the Egyek exit of Highway 33)
The exhibition in the gallery housed in this building is an exceptional tableau-like display of typical local crafts and trades. You will see harness-makers, potters, cobblers, blacksmiths, woodcarvers and hat-makers and basket-weavers at work with period equipment. Touchscreens provide interactive guides about the ethnography of the region for visitors of all ages.
You can even stay in the reception building, and groups are also welcome.
Open from 9 am to 6 pm, March 15 to October 31.
Tel.: +36 52 378 054 or +36 30 278 7378
Patrolmen’s House at Szálkahalom (at the 79 kilometre sign along Highway 33)
Formerly the house of the highway patrolmen, the building now serves as the departure point for the Szálkahalom study trail. You can also watch a slide show or use a touchscreen to view images of the local flora and fauna.
Advance booking required.
Tel.: +36 52/589 000 and +36 52/589 321
County House (Nagyiván)
Smell the smoke still lingering by the chimney in the kitchen, see guests seated in the clean room and watch the children eat bread near the stove as the sun sets over the Puszta horizon. But you can do more than just watch – you can also stay in one of the rooms and truly immerse yourself in the family life of Puszta generations passed.
Open from May 1 to October, advance booking required.
Tel.: +36 30 431 7358
Meggyes Csárda Museum (at the 60 km sign along Highway 33)
The traditional layout, furniture and ambiance of the Meggyes Csárda (“csárda” is the local name for a tavern) may be very similar to those of the other 40 or so establishments in the Hortobágy region up until the late 19th century. However, there is one thing you will definitely miss out on from that period: there will be no chairs, tables or wine decanters flying through the air as you enter. Instead, you will be left in peace to admire the sheepskin cape and various shepherding implements hanging up, the table with goat shaped legs, the benches, the flask hanging in its traditional holder and all the other exhibits that remind us of what Meggyes Csárda must have been like all those years ago.
Open all year round, advance booking required.
Tel.: +36 70 231 4073
Windmill Reception Building (Karcag)
Karcag boasts Hungary’s largest operating twin-wing windmill and the son of its former owner provides personal and highly professionally guided tours. Leaving the mill, you might want to take a walk to the National Park’s southern reception building, which provides a brief glimpse into the natural heritage of the Karcag region. If you are tired, you can also relax here while your food is prepared over the fire outside.
Open all year round, advance booking required.
Tel.: +36 59 503 224
Szálkahalom Study Trail (at the 79 kilometre sign along Highway 33)
The nomad peoples that inhabited the area three to four thousand years ago constructed several mound shaped earthwork structures here (known as kurgán, or sometimes incorrectly as kunhalom). Both the study trail and the former patrol house, which is now used as an exhibition centre, bear the name of a local mound (Szálkahalom).
At the demonstration site, you can take a close look at the plants and plant combinations found in these saline lowland plains. Other sights typical of the area include the plantation of protective woods, which is the home of a major flock of carrion crows and the red-footed falcon that lay their eggs in abandoned nests.
Open for visitors with tickets.
Tel.: +36 52/589-000 and +36 52/589-321
Cycling Track in the Egyek-Pusztakócs Marshes (at the Egyek exit of Highway 33)
The Egyek-Pusztakócs marshes are a true paradise for birds. If you hop on a bike or take a longer walking tour to the bird watching sites, you can also visit the Western Reception Building, the Meggyes Csárda Museum and the Górés Farm, which operates a bird sanctuary and offers a good view of the Filagóra mound.
Advance booking is required to see the exhibition, visitors to the demonstration site must purchase tickets.
For further information, call the Western Reception Building on: +36 52 378 054 or 36 30 278 7378 ; Górés Farm on: +36 30 326-5635 ; and the Meggyes Csárda on: +36 70 231 4073 .
Hortobágy-Fishing Pond Study Trail (between km signs 64 and 65 along Highway 33)
This area of about 2,000 hectares is internationally recognized in the Ramsar Convention as an extremely important habitat for aquatic birds. The lookouts around the ponds offer fantastic views of the birds inhabiting the site.
Visitors must purchase tickets to enter.
For information, call: +36 52/589-000 and +36 52/589-321
Lake Tisza Study Trail (Lake Tisza)
The landscape and habitat around the lake is reminiscent of the times before river regulation, when low-lying areas were flooded, and as such plays an important role in the life of migrating birds who stop off here to hatch their eggs. There is a variety of routes to chose from.
For information on tour routes and guides, call the Tourist Information Office in Tiszafüred on: +36 30/466-3300
Hortobágyi Nemzeti Park Igazgatóság
Cím: 4024 Debrecen, Sumen utca 2., 4002 Debrecen, Pf. 216.
Telefon: 06-52/529-920 I fax: 06-52/529-943 I E-mail: email@example.com I Honlap
4071 Hortobágy, Petőfi tér 5-7..
+36 (52) 369 140
5350, Tiszafüred, Fürdő utca 21.
+36 59 511 123
+36 59 511 124
3388, Poroszló, Fő u. 5.
+36 36 553-095
4066, Tiszacsege, Fürdő u. 6.
+36 52 588 051