Hortobágy – Great Plains of 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.”  (from link below)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013, was a National Holiday called St. Stephen’s Day.  St. Stephen was the first king of Hungary and he led the country into Christianity.  Stores, malls and most everything in the city was closed down for the day.

So some of us Budapest senior missionaries decided to take a trip to Hortobágy on Aug 20th.  We wanted to see some of the famous Magyar horseback riding and other cultural items of interest.  We parked in a field on the outskirts of the town and checked out the visitor’s center.  We were given a map of the area and we decided to go to the horse events first and that meant a little drive a couple of miles away.

IMG_3587This cute building was a little museum with relics of the past, like this little wagon.

IMG_3590This was the wagon that we rode to drive over where the “show” was going to be…

IMG_3605President and Sister Smith were able to go with us on this little jaunt…

IMG_3606The Hungarian cowboys put on a good show for us.  One of the things they normally do they could not do because some of the horses were sick… (the rider who stands on 5 horses as they run…you can see a picture in the link below.)

IMG_3613IMG_3616After watching this show, we were driven over the plains to see some of the unusual animals that are raised and protected in this national park.

IMG_3621

Curly horned black sheep

Unusual barns with thatched roofs

Unusual barns with thatched roofs

 

Hungarian oxen

Hungarian oxen, called Hungarian Gray Cattle

Special "low cholesterol" Hungarian pigs that have curly hair

Special “low cholesterol” Hungarian pigs that have curly hair

There is a herd of water buffalo at this park.

There is a herd of water buffalo at this park.

There were some beautiful horses here…

Looks like a sign with the horse's pedigree

Looks like a sign with the horse’s pedigree

Finally we saw a stork nest - only it is empty in August...

Finally we saw a stork nest – only it is empty in August…

After all this excitement, we needed lunch and a 500 year old restaurant sounded good!

IMG_3654The food was authentic and good….

Live entertainment!

Live entertainment!

The little town sits in an idyllic surrounding.

Towards the town from the bridge that crosses the river.

Towards the town from the bridge that crosses the river.

This is the view of the historic bridge from the water (from internet)

This is the view of the historic bridge from the water (from internet)

The town had a huge “bazaar” type of area, with local vendors and also vendors from other places.  We briefly took a tour of it!  We were tempted by those wonderful hanging pots and could have gotten a good deal, but reason prevailed and we did not indulge…

For more information about the Puszta, see this site:

http://national-park.hungaryguide.info/hortobagy-puszta.html

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4 thoughts on “Hortobágy – Great Plains of Hungary

  1. Kathy, when will you be released from your mission?
    Our daughter, Christine & her husband received their endowments today; going back Sat. to be sealed & have the boys sealed to them. Oh, happy day!

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