Hortobágy National Park

Coordinates: 47°36′N 21°06′E / 47.600°N 21.100°E / 47.600; 21.100
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Hortobágy National Park - the Puszta
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Drawing well in the Hortobágy Puszta
LocationCounties of Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén, Heves, Hajdú-Bihar and Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok, Hungary
CriteriaCultural: iv, v
Inscription1999 (23rd Session)
Area74,820 ha
Buffer zone199,380 ha
Coordinates47°35′40″N 21°9′24″E / 47.59444°N 21.15667°E / 47.59444; 21.15667
Official nameHortobágy
Designated11 April 1979
Reference no.189[1]
Hortobágy National Park is located in Hungary
Hortobágy National Park
Location in Hungary
Location of Hortobágy as one of microregions in physical geography of Hungary

Hortobágy (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈhortobaːɟ]) is an 800 km2 national park in eastern Hungary, rich with folklore and cultural history. The park, a part of the Alföld (Great Plain), was designated as a national park in 1973 (the first in Hungary), and elected among the World Heritage Sites in 1999.[2] The Hortobágy is Hungary's largest protected area, and the largest semi-natural grassland in Europe.[3]

Until recently it was believed that this alkaline steppe was formed by the clear cutting of huge forests in the Middle Ages, followed by measures to control the course of the Tisza River, allegedly resulting in the soil's current structure and pH. However, Hortobágy is much older, with alkalinization estimated to have started ten thousand years ago, when the Tisza first found its way through the Great Hungarian Plain, cutting off many streams from their sources in the Northern Mountains. The formation was finished by grazing animals and wild horses during the Ice Age, followed by domesticated animals.[4] The site was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1999 because of its long cultural history (stretching back more than four millennia), its scenery, and its testimony to traditional methods of pastoralism.[5]

One of its most iconic sites is the Nine-holed Bridge. Traditional T-shaped sweep wells dot the landscape, as well as the occasional mirage of trees shimmering in the reflected heat of the puszta (steppe). Part of the national park is a dark sky preserve.[6]

Hortobágy has also had more negative connotations, as a site of forced labor under the communist regime.[7]

Flora and fauna[edit]

Hortobágy is a steppe, a grassy plain with Hungarian Grey cattle, racka, water buffalo, and horses tended by mounted herdsmen called Csikós. It provides habitat for various species including 342 species of birds. The red-footed falcon, stone curlew, great bustard and European roller are represented by breeding populations. The area is an important stopover site for migrating common cranes, dotterels, and lesser white-fronted geese.[8]

Hortobágy is also a center for the breeding of Taurus cattle, one of several attempts to re-create the extinct aurochs.[9][10]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Hortobágy". Ramsar Sites Information Service. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  2. ^ "Hortobágy National Park - the Puszta". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. UNESCO. Retrieved 2010-06-21.
  3. ^ "A Világörökség Bizottság 26. Ülése". Archived from the original on 2007-12-09. Retrieved 2007-12-08.
  4. ^ "Hortobágy National Park, The Hungarian Puszta" (PDF). Nomination file for inscription of the Hortobágy National Park to the World Heritage List. Ministry for Environment and Regional Policy, Republic of Hungary. 1999. pp. 4–5. Retrieved 30 April 2023.
  5. ^ "Hortobágy National Park - the Puszta". UNESCO World Heritage Convention. United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization. Retrieved 30 April 2023.
  6. ^ "Hortobágy National Park (Hungary)". darksky.org. Archived from the original on 2016-10-12. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  7. ^ "Hortobágy Forced Labour Camps 1950-1953 (Excerpt)".
  8. ^ Lengyel S, Tar J, Rózsa L (2012). "Flock size measures of migrating Lesser White-fronted Geese Anser erythropus" (PDF). Acta Zoologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae. 58: 297–303.
  9. ^ Margret Bunzel-Drüke: ″Projekt Taurus – En økologisk erstatning for uroksen.″ Archived 2011-10-17 at the Wayback Machine Translated into Danish by Karsten Thomsen. Lohne: ABU 2004; Århus: Nepenthes, 2005. Retrieved 26 November 2013. (in Danish)
  10. ^ Waltraut Zimmermann, Lydia Kolter, Istvan Sandor: Naturschutzprojekt Hortobágy – Jahresbericht 2003. Archived 2013-12-03 at the Wayback Machine Zeitschrift des Kölner Zoo 2004. Retrieved 26 November 2013. (in German)

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Gorman, Gerard (1996): The Birds of Hungary. Helm (A&C Black) London, UK. ISBN 0-7136-4235-1.

47°36′N 21°06′E / 47.600°N 21.100°E / 47.600; 21.100