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Projekt Wyszehradzki,wstie



Heves county lies in northern Hungary, between the right bank of the river Tisza and the Mátra and Bükk mountains. It shares borders with the Hungarian counties Pest, Nógrád, Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén and Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok. The capital of Heves county is Eger.

Lake Tisza

(Hungarian: Tisza-tó), also known as Kisköre Reservoir (Hungarian: Kiskörei-víztározó), is the largest artificial lake in Hungary. It is located at the southeastern edge of Heves county, next to counties Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén, Hajdú-Bihar and Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok.

Projekt Wyszehradzki, Lake Tisza, wstie

 As part of the ongoing Tisza River flood control project, it was built in 1973. Its filling was finished in the 1990s, resulting a 127 km² lake. The lake is 27 km in length, with an average depth of 1.3 m and a maximum depth of 17 m; it contains 43 km² of small islands. Following the reservoir's completion, Hungarians began to flock to the site for holidays, since it compared favorably with the crowded and expensive Lake Balaton, the traditional holiday site. As a result, tourist infrastructure has been developed on the reservoir—renamed Lake Tisza and the government has designated it an official tourism destination. The lake (or reservoir) has a new local ecology with a diversity of birds, plants, and animals.

The Bükk National Park(Hungarian: Bükki Nemzeti Park) is a national park in the Bükk Mountains of Northern Hungary, near Miskolc. It was founded in 1976 as the third national park of the country. It contains 431.3 km² (of which 37.74 km² is under increased protection). It is the largest national park in Hungary with mountains and forests, situated in the Northern mountains, between Szilvásvárad and Lillafüred. The most important features include the various karst formations of the limestone mountains including caves that used to be inhabited by pre-historic men, swallow-holes, and ravines. The Vatican Climate Forest is to be located in the Park. Donated by a carbon offsetting company, it is to be sized to offset the Vatican's carbon dioxide emissions for 2007.

Projekt Wyszehradzki, Eger, wstie

Bélapátfalva is a town in Heves county, located north of the city of Eger. The town is situated inside the Eger-river valley at an altitude of 311 meters above sea-level. Facing the town is the Bél-kő mountain which rises 811 meters and is one of the highest peaks of the Bükk mountains. The town is the site of the best preserved Romanesque church building in Hungary, formerly part of a Cistercian abbey. The church was built after 1232 and later modified in Gothic style. The façade is notable for its Romanesque portal and the interplay between grey and reddish stone rows. The abbey to the South of the church was destroyed in the 16th century, and only its ruins remained. The design of the chapel of the Cistercian Our Lady of Dallas in Irving, Texas was influenced by this church which architect Gary Cunningham visited prior in preparation for the project.


Projekt Wyszehradzki, Eger, wstie


Eger is one of the most beautiful towns of Hungary with lots of historic buildings. It lies in the valley of the Eger Stream, in the hill-country, which extends over the western foot of the Bükk Mountains. The basin of Eger and the hilly region around it have always been very suitable for human settlements, and there are many archaeological findings from the early ages of history, which support this fact. According to these findings the first generation of the conquering Hungarians occupied the area of Eger at the beginning of the 10th century. Graves at the city limits (Almagyar, Répástető) of armed men with Arabian coins provide a good proof of this. The name Eger is thought to derive from the Hungarian word égerfa (alder tree). In German, the town is known as Erlau, in Latin as Agria, in Serbian and Croatian as Jegar / Јегар or Jegra / Јегра, in Czech and Slovene as Jager, in Slovak as Jáger, in Polish as Jagier, and in Turkish as Eğri.



Projekt Wyszehradzki, Eger, wstie

Eger has been inhabited since the Stone Age. Today's Eger was formed in the 10th century by St. Stephen (997–1038), the first Christian king of Hungary, who founded an episcopal seat in Eger. The first cathedral of Eger was built on Castle Hill, within the present site of Eger Castle. Eger grew up around its former cathedral and has remained an important religious centre in Hungary since its foundation. The 14th-16th centuries were an age of prosperity for Eger. Winegrowing, for which the town is still famous for, began to be important around that time. During the Turkish advance into Central Hungary, Eger became an important border fortress, successfully defended by Hungarian forces in the 1552 Siege of Eger. The first writer of note to draw on the story was the Hungarian renaissance poet and musician Sebestyén Tinódi Lantos (c. 1510–1556), whose account may have come partly from eye witnesses. Most Hungarians know best the version of this story found in the 1899 novel "Eclipse of the Crescent Moon" (Hungarian "Egri csillagok", lit. "Stars of Eger") by the 19th century Hungarian author Géza Gárdonyi, which is set reading under the Hungarian national curriculum. However, Eger was attacked in 1596 by a bigger army of Turks, who took over the castle after a short siege. Then followed 91 years of Ottoman rule in which Eger was the seat of the Turkish Eger Eyalet (administrative division). Churches were converted into mosques, the castle rebuilt, and other structures erected, including public baths and minarets.

The rule of the Turks in Central Hungary began to collapse after a failed Ottoman attempt to capture Vienna. The Vienna-based Habsburgs, who controlled the rest of Hungary, apart from Transylvania, steadily expelled the Turks from the country. The castle of Eger was starved into surrender by the Christian army led by Charles of Lorraine in 1687, after the castle of Buda had been retaken in 1686.

Eger soon began to prosper again. The city was reclaimed by its bishops, which caused many local Protestants to leave. Although the city supported the Hungarian leader Prince Francis II Rákóczi in the 1703–1711 war of independence against the Habsburgs, the Hungarians were eventually defeated by the Imperial army. Soon after that, the city was ravaged by plague. However, immigration into Eger was strong, While in 1688 it was only 1200, in 1787 more than 17 000 people lived here. In the history of Eger the 18th century was the period of development and prosperity. The bishops of Eger, out of special respect for Ferenc Barkóczy and Károly Eszterházy, created that baroque townscape which has been characteristic of Eger since that time. Many new buildings were built in Baroque and later in Rococo and Neoclassical style, including the cathedral, the Archiepiscopal Palace, the County Hall, the Lyceum (now housing the Eszterházy College of Education) and several churches, while others were reclaimed from being mosques.  At this time Eger was the 6th town of Hungary (based on the number of its inhabitants). Viniculture also reached its brightest period in these days. The wine-growing area was twelve-times larger than it had been earlier.

The 19th century began with disasters: a fire that destroyed half the town in 1800, and a collapse of the south wall of the Castle in 1801, which ruined several houses. Eger became the seat of an archbishopric in 1804, and the church remained in firm control of the city, despite efforts by its citizens to obtain greater freedom. In 1827, much of the city centre was damaged by fire again, and four years later over 200 were killed in an outbreak of cholera.

The inhabitants of Eger took an active part in the revolution in 1848. Even though the revolution was suppressed, the age of landowners and serfs had gone forever, and the municipality gained freedom from the rule of the archbishop in 1854. However, the main railway line between Miskolc and Pest bypassed the city, which was only reached later by a branch line from Füzesabony.

Unfortunately (unlike other towns) Eger's civil development didn't become faster, as distinguished from other towns, after 1849 and the Compromise of 1867. Industrial development was represented only by the mill, the tobacco factory and the sheet-iron works which were founded in the Reform Age.

Economic recovery was slow after World War I, although the 1899 publication of Gárdonyi's "Eclipse of the Crescent Moon" made Eger popular as a tourist attraction and archaeological excavation of the castle resumed. In World War II, the city suffered under the retreating German army and the arriving Soviet army, but it managed to escape major bombardment.  In the decades after 1945, industrialisation of the town commenced because of the change of regime. As a consequence, Eger's former character of a cultural centre began to fade, which diminished the patina of the settlement. 

It was a great good fortune that in 1968 the baroque inner city was preserved. So it was saved from the deterioration (and from the construction of unsuitable, modern buildings), that adversely affected other towns. In 1978 the town was rewarded with a Hild-medal for its excellent work in protecting the local monuments. It was also in appreciation of the town's protection of its heritage that the Hungarian seat of the ICOMOS (International Council for Monuments and Sites) was located into Eger.

In connection with the outlining of Eger's history some of the local features must be mentioned. Such as the "Egri Bikavér" (Bull's Blood of Eger), which is an excellent wine, the "Egri Víz" (a type of brandy with alcoholic content) made from the middle of the 18th century and the "bujavászon" (a special Turkish tissue).

It is also important to note that in Eger thermal waters can be found with radioactive content which created the basis for a spa and later for the swimming sport.

Regarding the future, after the change of regime it became clearer and clearer that connections to the town's ancient past should be found. These are the further development of tourism, wine culture and cultural life. Eger today is a prosperous city and popular tourist destination with a charming Baroque town centre.

Ecclesiastical history of Eger

Eger is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Eger, an ecclesiastical province of Hungary founded as a bishopric in 1009 and made a Metropolitan archdiocese in 1804, by Pope Pius VII. The current archbishop-elect, Archbishop Csaba Ternyak, was previously Secretary for the Congregation For Clergy. He succeeds Archbishop István Seregely, who retired because of age. The constituent dioceses of the province were Košice (Kassa, Kaschau), Rožňava (Rozsnyó, Rosenau, now part of Slovakia), Szatmár and Szepes (Zipo, Zipsen).

Wine in Eger

Beside its historic sights and its thermal baths, Eger is famous for its wines. In fact, it produces both red and white wines of high quality Eger Wine Region. The famous and traditional varieties of the region are Egri Leányka, Egerszóláti Olaszrizling, Debrői Hárslevelű (whites), and Egri Bikavér (a red). More recently, Chardonnay and Pinot noir wines have appeared. The region's wines are said to bear a resemblance to those of Burgundy. Although the quality of the wines deteriorated in the second half of the 20th century, especially the cuvees, Eger is slowly recovering its reputation as a wine region, having some famous winemakers such as of Tibor Gál, Vilmos Thumerer, St. Andrea Winery, Zoltán Barócsi. 


Gyöngyös, the "Gateway to the Mátra Mountains", is situated in attractive natural surroundings by the southern slopes of the Mátra and the northern edge of the Great Plain - in other words, at the meeting point of mountainous and flat areas. With its 36,000 inhabitants, it is the second largest town of the county of Heves, and the cultural, economic and touristic centre of the Mátra region. The name of the settlement was first mentioned by documents from 1261 as Gungus. In 1334, King Charles Robert bestowed on the towns of Gyöngyös, Szécsény and Rimaszombat the same rights as those of the royal seat Buda, and raised them to the rank of market town. The present-day character of Gyöngyös was shaped after the fire of 1917.

Projekt Wyszehradzki, Gyongyos, wstie

The oldest part of the town, found at the crossing of four roads, is the Main Square (Főtér) and the impressive two-spired parish church of St Bartholomew (called Nagytemplom, Great Church) to the north. The old Town Hall and the houses of the town's early landlords, built in an uninterrupted row on both sides, used to flank the one-time market square. In their reconstructed present form they offer a unique townscape hardly to be found elsewhere in Hungary. In the northern part of the square on a low pedestal there stands the statue of the town's founding king Charles Robert.

The Great Church, which stands on the site of an earlier church building, was rebuilt around 1350 by Tamás, son of Farkas Szécsényi of the Kacsics clan, Bailiff of Szolnok, Voivod of Transylvania, the town's contemporary landlord. This event is commemorated by the plaque bearing the coat-of-arms of Tamás Szécsényi and his wife on the southern side of the nave. At the end of the 15th century the church was rebuilt as a hall church, whereby it became one of the largest of its kind all over Hungary.

King Mathias made several visits to the town, which at that time ranked thirteenth in Hungary. The Gothic bronze baptismal font, the only existing example of the kind in the country, dates back to the beginning of the 15th century. Following the reconstruction of 1746-56 in Baroque style, the mediaeval belfry was demolished in 1774.

The treasury in the parish building (also called Almássy or Szent Korona Ház [Holy Crown House], because the crown was kept here on three occasions in 1806 and 1809) is the country's second richest collection featuring 43 masterpieces of goldsmithery and seven 15-16th-century chalices adorned with filigree-work and leather pins.

East of the Great Church there stands the former Jesuite secondary grammar school built in 1751-2. The eastern facade is decorated with two Baroque statues, while in front of the building a Baroque statue of the Virgin Mary is to be seen. It is here that the two branches of St Bartholomew Street (Szent Bertalan utca) merge into a small square and Kossuth Street starts, following the route of a former road leading to Eger. At the other end of this street, building No. 40 is the Orczy Mansion, built in 1826 in Classical style, which houses one of Hungary's most renowned science museums, the Mátra Museum, also famous for its hunting exhibitions.

The building of the museum stands in Orczy Park, a protected area, where visitors can find the country's biggest yew and Turkish hazel tree, both of which are also under protection. On the eastern side of the park is the terminal of the Mátra Railway, which takes passengers to Mátrafüred via Farkasmály famous for its wine cellars, whereas the other, longer route leads to Gyöngyössolymos and Lajosháza.

South of the Mátra Museum, from the coach terminal on the busy Koháry út (street), one can catch sight of the complex of the Franciscan church and monastery, originally built in the 14th century in Gothic style, then rebuilt in the 17th century in Baroque. By the southern wall of the Gothic choir of the church the tomb of General Vak Bottyán (Bottyán the Blind) can be found. The monastery building houses the Franciscan Order's library, a listed monument, still to be seen where it used to be at the time of foundation. The large-size painted windows of the neighbouring Mátra Cultural Centre are also worth seeing.

The other large group of listed historical buildings can be found west of Főtér (Main Square), across the bridge over Nagypatak, near Sándor Vachot utca (street). By the bridge there stands the triangular-plan chapel of St John of Nepomuk, built in 1736. To the south on the bank of the brook the mid 18th-century large-size Baroque style complex of the one-time hussar barracks can be seen, which later functioned as the county hall.

Across the brook there are the former synagogues, which today do not serve religious purposes any more. Along the narrow passageway opening from Sándor Vachot utca one of the town's oldest churches, in its present form Baroque church of St Urban can be approached.

Further to the west, at the end of the street there is a Baroque calvary enclosed with a high wall. Gyöngyös is the starting point of hiking tours in the Mátra. From the town all the settlements in the mountainous region are easily accessible on good roads.

Feldebrő stands in the valley of the Tarna River, at the southeastern foot of the Mátra Mountains. Nearby villages include Vécs, Aldebrő, Tófalu, Kerecsend, Egerszólát, and Verpelét. The village belongs to the Archdiocese of Eger. The name of the village comes from the Hungarian word debrő "broad valley." It may be related to the Slavic dialect term debra "floodplain." During the Árpád period the village belonged to the Aba family. It may have been one of that family's principle seats, given that a Hungarian king was buried in the church. The original church in the form of a Greek cross was built in the 11th century; it contained the tomb of King Samuel Aba of Hungary. The building was later transformed into a three-nave church, but the original crypt was preserved.

The Mátra Mountains and National Park

The Mátra Mountains belong by origin to the largest young volcanic zone of Europe. The two highest peaks are Kékes at 1014 meters and Galyatető at 964 meters. Steep rugged slopes and talus slopes covered with closed beech forests to the north alternate with gentler slopes and parallel valleys to the south. The varied terrain, the large number of well marked tourist trails and the spectacular scenery and wildlife make it a great choice for walkers of all levels and styles. The seasons offer yet another dimension to the landscape. With vast, dense forests to cut through in spring and summer, wonderful colours of the woods in autumn and crisp, snow covered stillness in winter. Due to their stratovolcanic makeup, the mountains have a lot of natural springs with crystal clear spring water mainly in the higher regions. A lot of these are used as medicinal waters for a wide variety of illnesses.

Projekt Wyszehradzki,The Matra Mountains and National Park, wstie

This mountain range of varied surfaces abounds in species. The flora and fauna of the National Park is very rich with many protected and rare species of plants, insects and birds. The Mátra Mountains provide a natural habitat for several alpine species such as the red-flowered, thornless Alpine Rose (Rosa pendulina) and the blue-flowered Alpine Clematis (Clematis alpina). You can also find the Purple Fescue (Festuca amethystina) here, a relict from the ice age. On the meadows some indigenous orchid species (e.g. Traunststeinera globosa) can be found.

The diverse vegetation of the Mátra Mountains is associated with a rich variety of animal species. In alpine and rocky beech forests, a small population of White Mountain Butterflies (Pieris bryoniae) and the rare Alpine Longicorn (Rosalia alpina) can still be found. The also rare and protected amphibian and reptile species of the Matra are the Alpine Newt (Triturus alpestris), the Yellow-bellied Toad (Bombina variegata), the Dalmatian Frog (Rana dalmatina), the Spotted (or Fire) Salamander (Salamandra salamandra), the Aesculapian Snake (Elaphe longissima) and Water Snake (Natrix natrix). The large continuous areas of closed forests are ideal natural habitats for many birds. There are several nesting pairs of the Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca) and the smaller-sized Lesser Spotted Eagle (Aquila pomarina). One of our most typical and beautiful birds is the Saker (Falco cherrug). Our rare nesting bird is the Hazel Grouse (Tetrastes bonasia). According to observations, the population of Ravens (Corvus corax) is increasing. A spectacular bird of intact, deciduous virgin forests is the 

Projekt Wyszehradzki,The Matra Mountains and National Park, wstie


Black Stork (Ciconia nigra). The Matra provides a natural shelter for several protected mammal species as well. The Wild Cat (Felis sylvestris) and the especially rare Eurasian Lynx (Lynx lynx) live in undisturbed areas. The Matra is the home of the Red Deer (Cervus elaphus), the Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus) and the Wild Boar (Sus scrofa). Among the big game, the Mouflon (Ovis musimon) which is native to Corsica.


Thermal waters and spa in Heves County

The medicinal waters of the region were known as early as the 15th century. In Eger several public baths were built during the days of Turkish rule in Hungary (16th and 17th centuries). One of these hammams called Turkish Bath (built by Arnaut Bashaw) is located in a beautiful park where protected trees and other plants grow. The Bath has 6 pools, each is of a different size and containing a different type of thermal water. The central water work of Eger covers 40% of the common water consumption of the city. This is about 16 700 m3 per day. Today the water work is about 80 years old. It was an artesian spring, founded with a 60 metres deep drilling in the 20-ies of the last century. The pumped waters were captured in Eocene limestone horst. Isotopic measurements have shown that the water is less than 7000 year old. Some meters far away, there is a swimming pool. In one part of the pool bottom, gravel filters the arising water whereas adjacent floors are out of concrete. The main risk in the Eger region is a possible interaction of Karst waters and stream waters, which would impair the quality of drinking and cure waters. But by now, Karst waters only discharge in the river. Any riverine input in Karst ground-water was excluded. Another known spring is Saint Jozefs. It consist of major calcium with 94mg/L and less, manganese, sodium and potassium in decreasing content. The anionic composition records major amount of hydrocarbon, less sulphate and sparse chloride.

„A giant among dwarfs” is probably the most appropriate simile for Egerszalók, since this village of 2000 inhabitants has a huge turnover of tourists, year by year lots of people escape their usual environment and come here, to get away from the noise of the big city, get a little rest and recreation. Being one of the main attractions, the exclusive Health and Wellness Spa of Egerszalók is very popular all over Hungary, and even beyond the borders. The Egerszalok Spa is situated close to the city of Eger. It is related to thermal waters affected by the geothermal gradient of 50°/km. There are two springs, one of them was drilled in 1961 and the other in 1987. They are only ten metres in distance but show major differences in hydrochemistry and content of total dissolved solids. One of the springs has higher sulphur content than the other one. It is supposed that it results from distinct fault system separating both wells. Both springs are artesian. The increased carbonate content lead to precipitation of calcrete at the first spring. Huge platforms of calcrete formed in just little time of 20 years. The initial water temperature is 68°C. Before being used in pools, these waters are mixed with cooler waters. The first well discharges 300 m3/d whereas the flow rate of the second well is about 2200 m3/d. According to investigations by the Hungarian health administration, the second well discharges cure waters.

Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén County

Projekt Wyszehradzki,Borsod-Abauj-Zemplen County, wstie

Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén  is on the border with Slovakia. It shares borders with the Hungarian counties Nógrád, Heves, Hajdú Bihar and Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg. The capital of Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén county is Miskolc. Of the seven statistical regions of Hungary, it belongs to the region North-Western Hungary. Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén is the second largest county of Hungary both by area (after Bács-Kiskun) and by population (after Pest County).  The county bears the name of three historic counties of Hungary, each of them was centered around a castle.

Note that besides these three castles, there were other castles in the old counties which became the modern Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén, such as the well-known Füzérvár, near the town of Sátoraljaújhely.

Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén is one of the most geographycaly diverse areas of Hungary. It lies where the Northern Mountains meet the Great Hungarian Plain, thus the northern parts of the county are mountainous – with some of the highest peaks and deepest caves in the country –, the southern parts are flat. The average temperature is lower than that of the country, the average humidity is higher (7–800 mm/year.) The region holds the country's record for lowest temperature: −35 °C (−31 °F), February 16, 1940, the town of Görömböly-Tapolca (now Miskolctapolca.). The most important rivers are the Tisza, which forms a natural border between Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén and Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg counties, the Sajó, a tributary to Tisza, the Bodrog, a tributary to Tisza and the Hernád, a tributary to Sajó.

Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén county was created after World War II from the pre-1938 counties Borsod-Gömör-Kishont, Abaúj-Torna and Zemplén (see also: 1950 Administrative Reform in Hungary).

From the Conquest until the Turkish occupation (900s–1526)

The historical comitatus (Hungarian: vármegye – "castle county", since each of them belonged to a castle) came into existence during the Middle Ages. Borsod county belonged to the Castle of Borsod, Abaúj belonged to the Castle of Újvár (in the modern village of Abaújvár) and Zemplén belonged to the Castle of Zemplén (today in Slovakia.)

At this time the area of Borsod also included the later county Torna, and Abaúj also included the later counties Šariš and Heves. In the 12th century the former Abaúj comitatus was split into Abaúj, Heves and Sáros counties, while Torna was separated from Borsod. For the next hundreds of years the borders remained unchanged. About two third of the areas of these counties were royal property, the others were ruled by clans, for example the Miskóc clan (after whom the city of Miskolc was named.) The area was inhabited mostly by castle serfs and foreign settlers (Pechenegs, Walloons, Czechs and Germans.) By the 12th century more and more areas were owned by noble families and the Church. Most of Borsod was ruled by the Bors-Miskóc clan, while Abaúj was the estate of the Aba clan.

By the 14th century most of the area was owned by oligarchs. To straighten his rule Charles Robert waged war against them. Palatine Amadé Aba (Genus Aba) was "de facto" ruler of Northern Hungary. Charles Robert betrayed and defeated Amadé in the Battle of Rozgony in 1312, and also gained power over Northern Hungary. The differences between towns and villages became important during the Anjou age of Hungary. In Borsod and Abaúj the Free Royal Town of Kassa (today's Košice, Slovakia) and Miskolc emerged as the most important towns. The Castle of Diósgyőr had its prime under Louis the Great, it was one of the favourite residences of the royal family.

In the 16th century wine growing gained more importance. Today Tokaj-Hegyalja in Zemplén is one of the most important and famous wine districts of Hungary, home of the famous Tokay wine (named after the town Tokaj, the center of the wine district.)

From the Turkish occupation until the First World War (1526–1914)

After the battle of Mohács, as the Turks occupied more and more of the Southern territories of Hungary, the area of Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén, as the northernmost part of the country, became an important area. After the Turkish occupation ended, and Hungary became part of the Habsburg empire, the area – because of its distance from Austria – was the main base of the resistance, and held this status until the Ausgleich ("Compromise"), when Hungary, formerly a mere province of the Empire, became an equal partner with Austria (1867). The family of Francis II Rákóczi (leader of the Revolution against Habsburg rule in the early 18th century) had estates here, and the revolution itself was organised from here.

The region also had cultural importance. The Reformation began its spreading in Hungary in this area, and the first Protestant college was opened in Sárospatak. Many of the important persons of the Age of Enlightenment grew up in this region, for example the important politicians Lajos Kossuth, Bertalan Szemere and László Palóczy, and the language reformer Ferenc Kazinczy.

During the 18th century several towns bought their freedom from their feudal landowners. New guilds were formed, manufactures were built, mines were opened, glassworks and forges were built. Miskolc began to catch up with Kassa and take over the role as the leading city of the region, and because of this Borsod was the fastest developing county of the three counties. Lots of foreign settlers arrived, Slovakians, Greeks, Germans, Russians – even today there are whole villages with significant number of them. According to the census of 1787 Borsod, Abaúj and Zemplén had almost 500,000 inhabitants.

After the Ausgleich Northern Hungary – just like the other parts of the country – experienced an era of prosperity and fast development. New factories, railway lines were built, the population grew. In 1882 Abaúj county was merged with Torna, and was renamed Abaúj-Torna.

From 1914 to today

After World War I and the treaty of Trianon Hungary restored its northern parts to Czechoslovakia. Abaúj-Torna had to give up 48% of its area, 72% of Zemplén became part of Czechoslovakia, only Borsod remained fully within Hungary. The neighboring county of Gömör-Kishont retained 7.5% of its area, and remaining parts were merged with Borsod. The county seats were Miskolc (Borsod-Gömör-Kishont), Szikszó (Abaúj-Torna) and Sátoraljaújhely (Zemplén).

Under the First Vienna Award, arbitrated by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy in direct consequence of Munich Dictate and dismemberment of Czechoslovakia, Hungary again established its control over Slovak territories. During World War II Kassa was the capital of Abaúj-Torna. After Allied Victory in Europe, the pre-1938 borders were reinstated. The administration of the country needed to be reverted to pre-war status quo, since most of the land grabs proved temporary. In 1950 the Hungarian parts of the former counties Borsod-Gömör-Kishont, Abaúj-Torna and Zemplén were united, forming the county of Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén, with Miskolc being the county capital.

During the Socialist era the region was developed into the centre of heavy industry. Whole new towns came into existence in place of small villages (Tiszaújváros, Kazincbarcika), the industrial character of existing cities became more important (Miskolc, Ózd.) Urbanization was rapid, workers from all over the country were arriving in these cities and towns, and the population of Miskolc reached its highest level in the 1980s (around 211.000.) The end of the Socialist era and the recession of the 1990s hit hard, the unemployment rate is one of the highest of the country, and the local governments try to get over the crisis by strengthening the touristic potential. This seems to be a good idea, since Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén is a geographically diverse area with rich natural and cultural treasures.

Regional structure

Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén is the county of extremes: it is the home of the country's third largest city and second largest agglomeration, where one fourth of the county' population resides, on the other hand, the county is full of hamlets with population under 200. Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén has 28 cities/towns (as of July 2009) and over 300 villages. With a total of 358 cities, towns and villages this county has the most municipalities in Hungary. Approximately half of the population lives in cities/towns.


is the fourth largest city of Hungary behind Budapest, Debrecen and Szeged; second-largest with agglomeration with a population close to 170,000 (2010) It is also the county capital of Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén and the regional centre of Northern Hungary.

The city lies at the meeting point of different geographical regions – east from the Bükk mountains, in the valley of the river Sajó and the streams Hejő and Szinva. According to the 2001 Census the city has a total area of 236.68 km2 (91.38 sq mi). The ground level slopes gradually; the difference between the highest and lowest area is about 800 m (2,600 ft).

The lowest areas are the banks of the river Sajó, with an altitude of 110–120 m (360–390 ft). The area belongs to the Great Plain region and is made up of sedimentary rocks. Between the Avas hill and Diósgyőr lies the hilly area of the Lower Bükk (250–300 m/820–980 ft) consisting of sandstone, marl, clay, layers of coal, from the tertiary period, and volcanic rocks from the Miocene.

The Central Bükk, a gently sloping mountainous area with an altitude between 400 and 600 m (1,300 and 2,000 ft), is situated between Diósgyőr and Lillafüred; the area is made up of limestone, slate, dolomite and other rocks from the Triassic period. The surface was formed mostly by karstic erosions.

The highest area, the 600–900 m (2,000–3,000 ft) high Higher Bükk bore Bükk Highlands begin at Lillafüred. This mostly consists of sea sediments (limestone, slate, dolomite) from the Paleozoic and Mesozoic, and volcanic rocks like diabase and porphyry. Several caves can be found in the area. The city is also known for lowest measured temperature ever in Hungary with −35 °C (−31 °F).[citation

The area has been inhabited since ancient times – archaeological findings date back to the Paleolithic, proving human presence for over 70,000 years. Its first known dwellers were the Cotini, one of the Celt tribes. The area has been occupied by Hungarians since the "Conquest" in the late 9th century. It was named after the Miskóc clan and was first mentioned by this name around 1210 AD. The Miskóc clan lost their power when King Charles I centralized his power by curbing the power of the oligarchs.

Projekt Wyszehradzki,Miskolc, wstie

Miskolc was elevated to the rank of oppidum (market town) in 1365 by King Louis I. He also had the castle of the nearby town Diósgyőr (now a district of Miskolc) transformed into a Gothic fortress. The city developed in a dynamic way, but during the Ottoman occupation of most of Hungary the development of Miskolc was brought to a standstill. The Turks burnt Miskolc in 1544 and the city had to pay heavy taxes until 1687. It was during these years that Miskolc became an important centre of wine-growing. By the end of the 17th century the population of the city was as large as that of Kassa, and 13 guilds had been founded.

During the war of independence against Habsburg rule in the early 18th century, Prince Francis II Rákóczi, the leader of the Hungarians put his headquarters in Miskolc. The imperial forces sacked and burnt the city in 1707. Four years later half of the population fell victim of a cholera epidemic. Miskolc recovered quickly, and another age of prosperity began again. In 1724, Miskolc was chosen to be the city where the county hall of Borsod county would be built. Many other significant buildings were built in the 18th and 19th centuries, including the city hall, schools, churches, the synagogue, and the theatre. The theatre is commonly regarded as the first stone-built theatre of Hungary, although the first one was actually built in Kolozsvár (then a part of Hungary, now Cluj-Napoca, Romania). According to the first nationally held census (1786) the city had a population of 14,719, and 2,414 houses.

These years brought prosperity, but the cholera epidemic of 1873 and the flood of 1878 took many lives. Several buildings were destroyed by the flood, but bigger and more beautiful buildings were built in their places. World War I did not affect the city directly, but many people died, either from warfare or from the cholera epidemic. She was occupied by Czechoslovak troops between 1918 and 1919 after the First World War.

After the Treaty of Trianon, Hungary lost Kassa (today Košice, Slovakia) and Miskolc became the sole regional center of northern Hungary. This was one of the reasons for the enormous growth of the city during the 1930s and 1940s. The preparation for World War II established Miskolc as the national centre of heavy industry, a position the city maintained until the 1990s. Although Miskolc suffered a lot during the last year of the war, it recovered quickly, and by absorbing the surrounding villages, it became the second-largest city of Hungary with more than 200,000 inhabitants. In 1949 the University of Miskolc was founded (as a successor of the Academy of Mining, formerly in Selmecbánya, which is now Banská Štiavnica, Slovakia).

During its long history Miskolc survived fires, floods, plagues and foreign invasions, but maintained its position as the centre of northeastern Hungary. The 1990s brought a crisis in the iron industry with a decline in the population. Miskolc is now trying to become known as a cultural – instead of merely an industrial – city. Among the various cultural events, one of the most important festivities is the International Opera Festival, held in every summer.

The most popular tourist destinations in Miskolc are Tapolca, Lillafüred and Felsőhámor. Tapolca has a beautiful park with a boating pond and the famous and unique Cave Bath. Lillafüred and Felsőhámor are pretty villages in a valley surrounded by mountains and forests; their most famous sights are the Hotel Palace on the shore of the Lake Hámori, the northern Hungary near the Slovak border. It is 82 km east from the Szinva waterfall (the highest waterfall of the country), the Anna Cave and the István Cave.


is one of the most well-known holiday resorts in the country, Tapolca (officially Miskolctapolca or Miskolc-Tapolca to avoid confusion with the Transdanubian town of the same name) is the home of the unique Cave Bath, a natural cave with thermal water. Tapolca is quite far from the city centre and counts as one of the posh areas of Miskolc. It is a popular tourist attraction.


is a town located in Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén county in county capital Miskolc. Sátor-alja (meaning "under the tent", referring to the tent-shaped hill nearby) was a settlement from the Conquest of Hungary until the Tatars destroyed the town. It was rebuilt in the 13th century, although there was disagreement among the citizens concerning the name; some wanted to keep the original name and some wanted to rename it új hely ("new place"). Sátoraljaújhely was granted town status in 1261 by King Stephen V, and a castle was built around this time, as well. Sátoraljaújhely often has played an important role in the region's history. Revolts against Habsburg rule began there in the 17th and 18th centuries. After the Revolution of 1848, Sátoraljaújhely began swiftly developing owing to its location close to important trade routes leading to Poland, Russia, and Transylvania. The town's light industry led it to becoming the capital of the comitatus Zemplén in the 17th century.

Projekt Wyszehradzki,Ferenc Kazinczy, wstie

Sátoraljaújhely has always been an important town in culture. Ferenc Kazinczy, one of the reformers of the Hungarian language, lived here in the 18th century. At the turn of the 20th century the town was home to a small but important Jewish community; some 4,500 of the town's 13,000 residents were Jewish. The community counted among its members Moses Teitelbaum and Michael Heilprin. In the Treaty of Trianon Hungary lost its northern territories. The border was set to the Ronyva stream, splitting the city into two parts. One-fifth of the population and one-fourth of the territory of the town became part of Czechoslovakia.


The cultural landscape of Tokaj graphically demonstrates the long tradition of wine production in this region of low hills and river valleys. The intricate pattern of vineyards, farms, villages and small towns, with their historic networks of deep wine cellars, illustrates every facet of the production of the famous Tokaj wines, the quality and management of which have been strictly regulated for nearly three centuries.

Projekt Wyszehradzki,Tokaj, wstie

Tokaj-Hegyalja is a historical wine region located in northeastern Hungary and southeastern Slovakia. Hegyalja means "foothills" in Hungarian, and this was the original name of the region. The region consists of 28 named villages and 7,000 hectares of classified vineyards, of which an estimated 5,000 are currently planted. Tokaj has been declared a World Heritage Site. However, its fame long predated this distinction because it is the origin of Tokaji aszú wine, the world's oldest botrytized wine.

The entire landscape of the Tokaji wine region, including both vineyards and long established settlements, vividly illustrates a specialized form of traditional land use and represents a distinct viticultural tradition that has existed for at least 1,000 years and which has survived intact to the present day.

The cultural landscape of Tokaj graphically demonstrates the long tradition of wine production in this region of low hills and river valleys. The intricate pattern of vineyards, farms, villages and small towns, with their historic networks of deep wine cellars, illustrates every facet of the production of the famous Tokaj wines, the quality and management of which have been strictly regulated for nearly three centuries.

The Magyar tribes who entered the area at the end of the 9th century assigned special significance to the region, as they believed (with some justification) that it was the centre of the empire of Attila the Hun, with whom they closely identified themselves. It became a protected refuge for Hungarians in the centuries that followed in the face of pressure from invading Mongols and others, as well as an important commercial crossroads for Polish merchants travelling to the Balkans and elsewhere. Settlers were welcomed from as early as the 12th century, when Walloon and Italian immigrants were invited in, joining the Germans who had been there since the beginning of the Hungarian kingdom. In the 16th century the region came under Bohemian Hussite domination for a while, but was reunited with the Hungarian kingdom by the last great Hungarian king, Hunyadi Matyas (Matthias Corvinus). It was during the Ottoman period that the Tokaji Aszu for which the region became world famous was first produced. Legend has it that fears of Turkish raiders delayed the harvest in Lorantffy Mihaly's domain until the grapes had shrivelled and Botrytis infection had set in, creating the 'noble rot' (pourriture noble ). Nonetheless, the pastor Szepsi Laczko Mate made wine from them, presenting the result to the daughter of the overlord.

The mild climate makes coupled with the soil quality and aspects of the slopes make Tokaj perfect for cultivating grapes. The settlement system and forms of the Tokaji Wine Region are dictated by the morphological and hydrographic features of the area. There are two main axes of settlement, one the river Bodrog and the other the Szerencs stream and the river Hernád at the western edge. There is a chain of settlements along the right bank of the Bodrog as it meanders at the foot of the Zemplen mountain range. Other settlements are to be found in the valleys of the streams that feed into the Bodrog, which in its turn joins the Tisza at Tokaj, an ancient crossing point of the main river. The Szerencs opens wide into the Takta and has settlements on both banks. The name 'Tokaj' is derived from an Armenian word for grape that came into the Hungarian language as early as the 10th century, thus giving a date for the creation of the settlement. It is also evidence that viticulture was already being practised here at that time. The built heritage of the region is symbolic of its history and its socio-economic structure.

There are to be found medieval Roman Catholic churches (one in each settlement), 18th- to 19th-century Orthodox churches, and Jewish synagogues, princely and aristocratic castles and mansions, and more humble houses, wine stores, and workshops. Evidence of early settlement is the 12th century Romanesque church at Bodrogalszi (in the buffer zone). There are ruined 14th-century castles at Tokaj and Tallya in the nominated area and Monok, Sarospatak, and Szerencs in the buffer zone. Noble mansions from the 18th and 19th centuries are to be found at Tarcal and in the buffer zone.  The most characteristic structures in Tokaj are the wine cellars: that of King Kalman in Tarcal is known to have been in existence as early as 1110. There are two basic types of cellar in Tokaj: the vaulted and the excavated. The former was essentially an open space below a residential building, excavated before the house was built and accessed from the porch. The grapes were processed in a room at the rear of the house, immediately above the cellar. The excavated cellars were not connected directly with the residential buildings. All that is visible on the surface is a stone entrance structure with a latticed wooden or steel gate. Cellars carved into the volcanic tuff did not require reinforcement by vaulting. Some 80-85% of the cellars in Tokaj were made in this way. Of special interest are the multi-level labyrinthine cellars with unsystematic floors plans in which wine was stored and matured in casks made from sessile oak. The most famous is the cellar network in the Ungvari district of Satoraljaujhely, the result of interconnecting no fewer than 27 cellars at different levels.

Le paysage culturel de Tokaj témoigne de façon vivante de la longue tradition de production viticole dans cette région de collines, rivières et vallées. Ce réseau complexe de vignobles, fermes, villages et petites villes avec son labyrinthe historique de caves à vin, illustre toutes les facettes de la production des fameux vins de Tokaj, dont la qualité et la gestion sont strictement contrôlées depuis presque trois siècles.


Some of the characteristics which make the Tokaj wine region unique are:

Aggtelek National Park 

The Aggtelek National Park was founded in 1985. It contains 198.92 km² (of which 39.22 km² are under increased protection). It has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage since 1995. The largest stalactite cave of Europe is situated in this area: the Baradla Cave (26 km long, of which 8 km is in Slovakia, known under the name of Domica).

The first written documentation from the caves can be dated back to 1549. Since 1920 it has been used as a tourist attraction. Several of the caves have different specialities. For example, the Peace Cave has a sanatorium which help treating people suffering from asthma.

Projekt Wyszehradzki, Aggtelek National Park, wstie

The Aggtelek National Park lies in the Gömör-Torna Karst region, an area rich in unique natural and cultural assets. It is the first Hungarian national park to be dedicated to the protection of abiotic values, superficial land formations and caves. The subterranean natural treasures, namely the caves of the Aggtelek Karst and the Slovak Karst were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1995. The primary task of the National Park is to explore, protect and preserve the natural and cultural assets, and also to develop ecotourism. We strongly count on your co-operation in our efforts to safeguard the area for future generations. To achieve this we have established a zone system in the national park (zones A, B, and C – see inner map): Zone C displays all the beauties of the national park while causing the least disturbance to nature; zone B can only be visited on the marked trails; however, zone A is entirely dedicated to wildlife and we kindly request that all visitors refrain from entering these areas. One of the most endearing treasures of the National Park is the Baradla Cave, which is the biggest and the most magnificent cave in Hungary. Excavations in and around the cave have proved that it has been a shelter to man for more than 7 000 years. Recently we have opened some other unique caves to visitors, for example, the Imre Vass Cave, the Béke Cave and the Rákóczi Cave.

Projekt Wyszehradzki, Aggtelek National Park, wstie

Besides the cave tours, we offer special guided tours (‘eco-’, zoological, and botanical tours) in the national park area. In particular, the guided walks in Jósvafő provide an excellent opportunity to learn about the natural and cultural environment of the village. The "Gömör-Torna Folk and Art Festival" is an outstanding series of events throughout this year. The Aggtelek National Park and the charming villages of the Aggtelek Karst offer the unique experience of philharmonic nd chamber music in the Baradla Cave and also in local churches. Make sure you do not miss the kaleidoscope of events during the carnival, the grape harvest season and during the village days. The Easter Festivals are part of a revival of our folk traditions. At the end of the series we will bid a special farewell to the old year.
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Projekt Wyszehradzki, wstie