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1100 years in the heart of Europe | Map
Budapest and Surroundings
Eger–Tokaj Wine Region
The Puszta and Lake Tisza
Lake Balaton

The highest hills in Hungary stretch across the northern part of the country from the Danube to the Tisza. UNESCO has registered the stalactite caves starting at Aggtelek and reaching through the Slovakian border, the old village of Hollókő and the Tokaj vineyards as a World Heritage site. Palóc embroidery and Matyó costumes are especially rich. The thermal waters supplying the baths in Bogács, Bükkszék, Eger, Egerszalók, Mezőkövesd and Miskolctapolca are recommended as therapy for locomotor disabilities, rheumatism and other complaints.



Hollókő (E2)
Secluded among the ridges of the Cserhát Hills, Hollókő was the first village to be declared a World Heritage site. The medieval structure of the village is unique: 58 buildings make its centre with a white-washed storybook church. The exhibitions in Kossuth utca also evoke the 19th century: at house 80 the Post Office Museum offers visitors a rare glimpse at the correspondence of the local families, banknote and stamp designs depicting the landscape; house 94 is an exhibition tracing the history of weaving as well as a workshop where women in traditional costumes show visitors various weaving techniques. The visitor centre of the Bükk National Park is dedicated to the Hollókő wildlife, the culture of the Palóc community and the life of farmers. House 82 is a traditionally structured Village Museum depicting life in the 1920's. The Doll Museum displays a collection of 200 large porcelain dolls in colourful Palóc costumes. On notable days the young girls and women of the village wear traditional costumes.
Many houses offer bed-and-breakfast catering. The 13th-century castle atop the hill offers a splendid view of the landscape and the old village.



Ipolytarnóc (E1)
A petrified ancient pine tree, sharks' teeth, leaf imprints, impressions of raindrops and waves: over 1,200 traces of animals from 22 million years ago. A prehistoric volcanic eruption caught animals at their drinking place, thus the soft sandstone preserved the footprints of rhinoceroses, hoofed beasts, birds and predators. These remains at Ipolytarnóc are a unique collection. This prehistoric event is evoked by an 18-m projected picture in the huge exhibition hall. A 9-m petrified piece of a 95-m, 23-million-year-old pine tree is the highlight of the Europe Diploma awarded nature reserve.



The Mátra Hills (E-F2)
Hungary's highest point is Kékestető, the 1,014-m summit of the Mátra. The 38-m lookout on top of a 187-m television tower gives a superb panorama. Winter sport facilities include ski slopes 300 and 2,400 m long, a ski-jump and lifts. The high number of sunshine days makes it a perfect place for a climatic health resort. The health centre at Kékestető is open all year round as is the hotel at nearby Galyatető (964 m, the second highest point in the country).



Parádfürdő (F2)
Its thermal waters with arsenic, iron and alum content have been known since the 17th century and are especially recommended for gynaecological ailments. Attractions include an aristocratic red marble stable called 'Cifraistálló' ('Fancy Stable') at 217 Kossuth Lajos utca, and the Coach Museum (6 Hársfa utca), which exhibits sumptuous carriages and coaches in the history of Hungarian carriage manufacturing. A collection of 350 bottles of mineral water from 25 countries is also on display at 221 Kossuth L. utca.


Parád, Cifraistálló
("Fancy Stable")

The Bükk National Park (F-G1)
The huge chalk mass of the Bükk Hills include the Bükk Plateau at a height of 900 m and the rocks Istállóskő, Tar kő, Őr kő, Három kő, Magos kő and Örvény kő rising around it. Archaeological finds are at display at the Szeleta, Istállóskő and Subalyuk caves.
One of the country's most beautiful resorts, Lillafüred on Lake Hámori can be reached by a narrowgauge railway from Miskolc. The fabulous Palace Hotel only adds to the romantic ambience. Two caves offer special experiences to nature lovers: Anna Cave with its unrivalled calcic turf formations and the St. Stephen Cave with its stalactites and therapeutic air.
In the summer, a narrow-gauge railway service departing from Szilvásvárad runs across the splendid 5-km Szalajka Valley, where the Szalajka stream is vaporised into spray as it cascades down the 17-m steps of the Fátyol Waterfall. The Forest Museum reveals the life of charcoal burners. The bones of a tundra deer, cave bears, a prehistoric bison, buffaloes and mammoths were found in a nearby cave of primitive man.
The Lippizaner stud farm of the Viennese Spanish Riding School has its pasture in the neighbouring village Csipkéskút, where an exhibition of the History of Lippizaner Horse Breeding (8 Park utca) can also be seen. The flora of the Bükk National Park is presented at the Orbán House (60 Miskolc út). The circular Classicist Protestant Church (30 Aradi utca) also serves as an excellent concert hall. Its bell dates back to 1488.


Lillafüred, Palace Hotel
Szalajka-völgy, Fátyol-vízesés ("Veil Waterfall")
Bükk Plateau

Eger (F2)
This one thousand years old Episcopal and archiepiscopal seat is one of the most beautiful Baroque cities in Hungary. Its inhabitants are proud of its glorious past and priceless heritage of monuments. In 1552 a handful of Hungarian warriors held the town's fort against a Turkish force of forty thousand. The Prison Museum, the Waxworks Museum, the Mint evoke historical memories, while the gallery exhibits paintings by European masters from the 15th to the 19th centuries. The Classicist Cathedral at Esterházy tér is Hungary's second largest church with the largest organ in the country. Opposite, the late Baroque Lyceum (1 Esterházy tér) - today a teachers' college - with ornate carvings and a frescoed ceiling houses the Diocesan Library, a collection of 150,000 volumes including the first book printed in Hungary in 1473. In the tower the country's first astronomical museum called the Spekula Observatory, considered to be 'state of the art' in 1776, can be visited. The most valuable instrument of the observatory is a periscope from 1779, projecting a live picture of the city onto a white table in a darkened room. The Archiepiscopal Palace (1-3 Széchenyi utca) houses the Archiepiscopal Collection (5 Széchenyi utca) presenting the lives and work of Eger's archbishops and bishops. The most valued treasure of the exhibition is a chasuble made from the coronation cloak of the Hapsburg Empress Maria Theresa. Splendid edifices along Kossuth Lajos utca include Baroque and Rococo city palaces: the junior provost's palace (4), the senior provost's palace (16), the house of Canon Wagner (6.), the Baroque Franciscan church and monastery (14) and the Buttler's House (26), one of the oldest buildings in the city. The exquisite wrought-iron gates of the City Hall are a masterpiece by the blacksmith Henrik Fazzola. Rising 40 m above the city is a Turkish minaret, Europe's most northerly Turkish building, with 93 stairs (17 Knézich utca). The Turkish bath at 1 Fürdő utca is a reminder of the bathing culture that evolved during the Turkish rule in Hungary. The Palóc Folklore Exhibition at 12 Dobó utca provides an ethnographic overview of the Eger region. The town also offers a wide selection of full-bodied red wines. In the century-old wine-tasting cellars honeycombing the volcanic soils of the hillsides of Szépasszony völgye ('Pretty Lady Valley') you can taste the famed Bull's Blood.
A natural hot spring on the outskirts of nearby Egerszalók is worth a visit.


Eger, Vineyard
Eger, medieval games
Eger, Cathedral

Mezőkövesd (F2)
The inhabitants of Mezőkövesd, Tard and Szentistván, which make 'Matyóföld' (Land of the Matyó), are famous for two things: their Roman Catholic belief preserved in a Protestant environment and their particularly colourful folk costumes. Matyó embroidery is characterised by stylised, extremely colourful flowers in silk thread on a black background. Men's clothes are also decorated with embroidery. The finest examples by the embroiderer and pattern designer, Bori Kis Jankó (1876- 1954) are on display at 22 Kis Jankó Bori utca. The Matyó Museum (20 Szent László tér) gives a glimpse of the hard life of the Matyó. The Matyó-style frescoes in the Roman Catholic church of St. Ladislaus (28 Szent László tér) were painted by a local citizen.
Embroidery is made, folk furniture is carved, honey cake is baked, glass is engraved and pottery is made at every house in Hadas. Rare farming machines can be seen in the courtyard of the Machine Museum (32 Eötvös József út). On the outskirts of the town, the popular Zsóry Bath (next to the road), offering therapy for rheumatism, arthritis, other diseases of the joints and gynaecological complaints, with a wave and an infinity pool.


Mezőkövesd, Easter festivities of the Matyó

The Aggtelek National Park (F1)
One of the world's most incredible geographical phenomena and Europe's largest stalactite caves, the Baradla Cave in Aggtelek is a World Heritage site. Its Hungarian section is 17 km long, and has an underground stream. Guided tours leave from three entrances: from Jósvafő and Lake Vörös are short and medium tours on paved pathways wired with electric lighting. Long or special tours leave from Aggtelek to Jósvafő on a lantern-lit pathway. An entrance was also opened to the caves at Jósvafő, an enchanting small village reached along picturesque, winding roads and criss-crossed by the stream Jósva. Two major caves are located here: the 30- m high, 125-m long and 55-m wide Hall of Giants, abounding in stalactites and stalagmites, and the Béke ('Peace') Cave, where clean air therapy is offered to asthmatics. Lake Vörös and the other entrance to the Baradla Cave are 2.5 km from here. There is a trail leading to Jósva Spring and a small tarn lake. The 20,000-hectare Aggtelek karst (limestone), an international biosphere reserve since 1979, has a flora and fauna with rare species. Hiking tours and leisurely walks around the villages are excellent ways of learning about local culture.


Aggtelek, concert in the stalactite cave

Miskolc (G1)
Miskolc is Hungary's third largest city, known for its lively cultural life, natural heritage and monuments. The Greek Orthodox church at 7 Deák tér boasts Central Europe's largest iconostasia: its 16-m high picture wall depicts the life of Jesus in 88 pictures. The devotion picture 'The Black Mary of Khazan' is a present from Tsarina Catherine II. The Hungarian Orthodox Ecclesiastical Museum holds the richest orthodox collection in the country. On the Avas Hill there is a lovely Gothic nave church with bells that chime every 15 minutes in a separate 16th-century belfry. The pride of the 250-year-old Miskolc University is the historical library of Selmec with 30,000 volumes including rare books of technical and scientific education. The resort areas of Miskolc are also full of tourist attractions. In the Middle Ages the Diósgyőr castle (24 Vár utca) was the dowry of Hungarian queens. An exhibition in the rondella presents the history of the castle, and Central Europe's largest waxwork collection. Nearby is a huge picturesque park with a bath and sauna. Madam Déry's House (24 Vár utca) was the residence of the first Hungarian operatic diva. The Museum of Paper Manufacturing (203 Hegyalja utca) presents the history of paper manufacturing in Diósgyőr. Hungary's first industrial monument is an 1810 iron foundry at Újmassa. Nearby is the Massa Museum, telling the history of iron manufacturing in Diósgyőr which includes exhibits such as a replica of a smithy. A trout nursery at Garadna, the ruins of a Pauline monastery, a ski complex at Bánkút and observation platforms overlooking the Bükk Hills are all within an easy day's walk.
The cave and thermal mineral bath in Miskolctapolca (Pazár István sétány) is a unique natural formation. The water, rich in minerals, and the crystalline air of the cave have a therapeutic effect on heart and vascular, rheumatic and respiratory complaints. Bathing is uniquely entertaining in an environment of special light effects, effervescent baths and a subterranean stream.


Miskolc, Orthodox church
Miskolc, wooden church
Diósgyőr, medieval games
Miskolc, Cave bath

Tokaj (G1)
The historic Tokaj wine region, another World Heritage site, has been producing 'the king of wines and the wine of kings' for 450 years. Crowned heads of states, including Russian tsars, Polish kings and the Pope of Rome, were among regular customers of the wines made from grapes which ripen on the sunny hills until late autumn giving them a high sugar content. The exhibition at the Tokaj Museum (7 Bethlen Gábor utca) traces the glorious history of the drink initially used as medicine in the Middle Ages. A collection of icons and the Greek Orthodox church (23 Bethlen Gábor utca) are reminders of rich Greek wine merchants who once lived in the town. The Rákóczi Cellar (15 Kossuth tér), that once belonged to the Rákóczi dynasty is now a catering facility. Its 24 tunnels, with a length of 1.5 km, are suitable for storing up to 20,000 hectolitres of wine.
Volcanic hiking trails rich with protected plants lead to the 516-m high Kopasz-hegy ('Bald Hill'), which gives a full panorama of the region. By prior booking, a tour boat leaves the pier on the river Tisza for Sárospatak, 37 km away.


Tokaj, Rákóczi Wine-cellar

Sárospatak (G-H1)
This small town used to be the favourite estate of Prince Ferenc Rákóczi II, who fought for Hungarian liberty against the Hapsburgs. The oldest parts of the Rákóczi Castle (19 Szent Erzsébet utca), rich in Gothic and Renaissance details, include the Red Tower, the late-Renaissance Lorántffy Loggia and the Prince's Palace, housing the Rákóczi Museum. The themes of the exhibitions are the history of the Rákóczis and the Rákóczi war of independence, the life and libraries of 16th-17th-century landed nobility as well as wine-growing and wine-making at Hegyalja. A collection of ceramics and stone relics is also on display. Boasting a Baroque organ and Hungary's largest wooden altar, the former castle church is one of the country's most valuable Gothic monuments. Recollecting the history of the famous Calvinist College where it is located, the museum (1 Rákóczi utca) houses the ecclesiastical treasures and the library of the college with its incunabula dating back to the 16th century. The Roman Catholic ecclesiastical collection (15 Szent Erzsébet utca) is housed on the first floor of the former Jesuit monastery. The school park displays statues of famous personalities. There is a regular pleasure boat service leaving from the piers on the river Bodrog touring the local area, and a boat service is available to Tokaj (37 km) with prior booking.


Sárospatak, Rákóczi Castle

Sátoraljaújhely (G-H1)
Lying at the foot of hills, Sátoraljaújhely, is the country's northernmost town with an atmospheric Baroque centre. Its most valuable monuments include a 13th-century Pauline and Piarist monastery and church ('Barátszer'), with exquisite Baroque furnishings and high altar. The Casino, a centre of literary life in 18th-19th-century Hungary, today is home to the Kazinczy Ferenc Museum (11 Dózsa utca) which houses exhibitions of human and natural history. The tomb of the miraculous rabbi, Moses Teitelbaum in the Jewish cemetery, has become a shrine. The 14 stages of the Szár Hill Calvary commemorates the 1920 Peace Treaty of Trianon, which disannexed twothirds of Hungary's territory. Situated in a protected park, a memorial hall and a shrine dedicated to the memory of Ferenc Kazinczy (1759-1831), leader of the renewal movement of the Hungarian language in the Age of Reform, are open to the public in Széphalom, 3 km from the town centre.


Sátoraljaújhely, Wine Church

The Zemplén Hills (G1)
The starting point of a network of 2,000-km of hiking trails crossing the country, the 894-m high Nagy Milic is the summit of a 3-million-year-old range of volcanic hills. The line of the state frontier winds along its highest peaks at a height of 600 to 800 m. 2,400 hectares of the 25,000-hectare Zemplén Protected Landscape Area is strictly protected. Its fauna includes the imperial and the golden eagles, lynxes and wolves, and among its flora are various kinds of orchids. Other unusual sights are rocks up to the size of a room, remnants of ice-age stone oceans (Boldogkőújfalu).

The Zemplén Hills
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