DECODED BY NATIVES
Northern Great Plain (Észak-Alföld), Hungary
Three counties belong to the Northern Great Plain region:
The Hortobágy National Park looks after the natural treasures of this unique area. At hte visitor centre at Hortobágy village the exhibited tools and artworks in the museums help you imagine how the people lived in the puszta.
Kids will surely enjoy petting the smaller animals: goats, donkeys, sheep in the Animal Park.
In summer the hot air seem to quiver over the grassland and creates funny illusions called mirage (délibáb in Hungarian). Sweep-pole wells and grazing herds of cattle break occasionally the monotonous landscape.
Wetlands and marshes dot the boundless pastures giving home to 350 games including some bird species: wild goose, herons
or jib which is included in the coat of arms of the national park.
The Market at the Nine-Arch Bridge (Kilenclyukú Híd) has been held at the end of August every year for centuries.
Hungarians are well-known for their great horsemanship and equestrian culture has great traditions in the Hortobágy.
The International Horse Days at Máta in Hortobágy or the stud farm of Szenttamás near Törökszentmiklós are the most noted places to have a taste of horse riding.
The smooth, stretching territory broken by sand dunes and wetlands is just perfect for a horse riding tour.
You can also explore the beauty of the Hungarian puszta by going on a ride in a horse-driven cart or from a boat on the Hortobágy river. To see the endless steppe from a different perspective go for a pleasure flight.
Main Settlements of the Northern Great Plain
If you have enpugh of the outdoors stop by one of the larger settlements of the region.
A recreational oasis at Sóstógyógyfürdő offers plenty of attractions and things to do: bathing and rowing on the salt lake, the game reserve is the second largest of Hungary after the Budapest Zoo.
Szolnok the county seat of Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok county stands at the meeting point of the rivers Tisza and Zagyva.
You cans ee the town's most captivating scenery on a walk on the promenade along the Tisza. The kayak-canoe course on the river often hosts international championships. A nice free beach offer refreshing entertainment during scorching summer days.
The area east of Hortobágy is called Hajdúság and has several towns: Hajdúböszörmény, Hajdúdorog, Hajdúhadház, Hajdúnánás, Hjadúpolgár tfamosu thermal resort Hajdúszoboszló.
Almost every small village in the northern part of the Hungarian Great Plain has some hidden treasures: several-centuries old churches with unparalleled folk decorations and wooden belfries charcateristic of the region's religious architecture, but masterpices of folk architecture and industrial monuments also make worth visiting these settlements.
Museums and skanzens introduce the village life and exhibit traditionla tools and utensils.
The Calvinist St George church at Nyírbátor contains some of the most beautiful masterpices of Hungarian Renaissiance architecture and the countries largest wooden belfry stands next to it.
The church in Csaroda with its flower decoration is 700 year old,
Hundreds of thousands visit the picture of the weeping Madonna in the Greek-Orthodox church in Máriapócs.
Other famous pilgrimage site is the cemetery at Nagykálló where the famous rabbi Taub Isaac Ezekiel is buried.
You can see masterpieces of folk arts and crafts and learn about the history of the trade in the Pottery Art House or in the Túr Pottery Museum in Mezőtúr.
The wooden grave memorials with boat-shaped heads in the cemetery in Szatmárcseke are unparalleled in Europe. Ferenc Kölcsey writer of Hungary's national anthem, was born and lived in the village and was buried there too.
The museum in Hajdúnánás provide a glimpse into the locals' art and craft talents. The ostrich farm is a peculiar attraction of the town.
The water mill from the 18th century at the bank of the river Túr in Túristvándi is a rarity with its three bottom wheels.
Another valuable industrial monument is the shingle-roofed mill in Tarpa village which was driven by horses.
Apart from the puszta at Hortobágy some other natural treasures in the area that should be included in yout to-be-visit list are:
Cultural, sport and gastronomic programs of the Tisza Party, the most outstanding event of the Upper Tisza area, provide for enetertainment for the whole summer: concerts, folk shows, volleyball championships, and sand castle building competitions welcome the adventurous tourists.
Just like other parts of Hungary the northern part of the great plain also abounds in thermal springs that feed the numerous medicinal baths and spas in the settlements of the area.
Many of the spas and the treatments offered gained reputation all over the world. The curative waters are beneficial for rheumatic problems, arthritis, gynaecological problems and they're also a source of relaxation. The themal baths almost always have pools for the little ones and other amenities for kids so the whole family can have a stressfree time.
The Northern Great Plain abounds in delicious fruits and vegetables that cannot be compared to produce grown in green houses. Pálinka authentic Hungarian fruit brandy is made from the fragrant Szatmári plum, and from apple in Szabolcs.
The thick, dark Szabolcsi plum jam is made in tradtitional way, cooked in large cauldrons for a day while constantly stirring to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. It's not like some industrial made, jelly-like, stuff with very little fruit content but high on sugar, plum jam from Szabolcs is a real stuff that perfect for filling pastries because it won't leak from the pastry during baking.
Golden dumpling (aranygaluska with plum jam filling
The Hortobágy is the place to have authentic Hungarian gulyás or mutton stew where herdsmen created this simple, tasty dishes in cast iron kettles hung above open fire (bogrács in Hungarian), when they were out on the meadows looking after the herd.
Hortobágyi palacsinta a savoury pancake filled with some kind of paprikás stew and topped with paprika sauce is a famous appetizer of the Hungarian cuisine and no better to place to taste it than in its homeland after wich the meal received its name.
Some of the csárdas still welcome visitors with traditional interior and tasty food: the Patkós csárda near Tiszafüred along the No. 33 main road leading to the heart of Hortobágy, the Hortobágy csárda at the visitor centre in Hortobágy village next tot he Nine-Arch Bridge, or the Kaparó csárda at Nagyiván.
Raised pastries like milk loaves (called kalács in Hungarian) have a greta tradition in the region's gastronomy. Kürtös kalács, a hollow, cylinder shaped pastry fried in open fire and coated with ground walnut or cinnamon is a characteristic sweet dish.
Regions Nearby Northern Great Plain