Sunday, May 30, 2010

HUNGARY - National Park Hortobagy, the Puszta

Location of National Park Hortobagy in HUNGARY

Hortobágy is the largest protected area, and the largest natural grassland in Central Europe with cattle, sheep, oxen, horses, tended by herdsmen, and it provides habitat for various different species (342 bird species have been registered to appear in the puszta). This is an 800 km² national park in Eastern Hungary, in the puszta, rich with folklore and cultural history. The park, a part of the Alföld - puszta (Great Plain), was designated as a national park in 1973 (the first in Hungary), and elected among the World Heritage sites in 1999.

The Hortobágy National Park - The Puszta has been inscribed on the World Heritage
List by UNESCO on the 1st of December in 1999 in the category of cultural landscapes, based on cultural criteria iv and v. According to its brief description "the Hortobágy is a vast area of plains and wetlands that have been used by humans for grazing their domestic animals for more than two millennia.

The regular flooding of the Tisza provided local farmers with fertile pastures for their herds and allowed for Hungarian Grey Cattle to be exported to Western-Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries. Important trade roads were established for this activity. These roads later became known as the "salt-roads" on which salt was transported from the salt mines of Transylvania. Wayside inns called "csárda" along main roads were built at the end of the 17th century in the puszta and at least forty of them were still in existence within the last century. However, only about 5 of these inns currently exist. In the years of large-scale flooding, bridges offered the only means of crossing the land.

The Nine-Arch bridge was built for that purpose. Damming of the Tisza river started in 1846 at Tiszadob. The channelized, regulated river, robbed of its meandering tributaries, was not able to flood the nearby land with its fertile sediment, resulting in the disappearance of marshes and loss of irrigation to the Hortobágy. The regulation of the watercourse, along with changes in precipitation and temperature, lead to the extension of alkaline soil. Efforts to restore fertility to the area started in the fifties. Artificial channels were created all over and industrialised, agriculture was forced upon the Hortobágy. The "puszta", with its domestic animals, pastures, waters, flora, fauna, shepherding, fishing and peasant life-style became an obsolete remnant of the past and its extinction was just a matter of time.

UNESCO World Heritage Site :

Date of inscription : 1999

The cultural landscape of the Hortobágy Puszta consists of a vast area of plains and wetlands in eastern Hungary. Traditional forms of land use, such as the grazing of domestic animals, have been present in this pastoral society for more than two millennia.


Postcard sent by Eszter, as "serae"
Private swap - Reference HU004

National Park Hortobagy, the Puszta


1 comment:

  1. This card was one of my favourites. :) I'm glad that I sent it to you and I hope that you like it.