Conceived in 1995 and founded in 1996, STAR Touring and Riding Association is an international family riding organization. As the, "Official Riding Organization of Star Motorcycles.," STAR is a non-political, non-confrontational association. Its main focus is on family, fun, camaraderie and RIDING. All brands of motorcycles are welcome. Comprising over 65,000 members and over 285 chapters, STAR recognizes safety as a first priority. The STAR community is a mix of riders with varied riding experiences. Chapter rides follow the highway laws and limits, to keep everyone as safe as possible. This allows everyone to enjoy the ride and not have new riders feel overly stressed. STAR chapter rides do not include "tavern runs", and consumption of alcoholic beverages on chapter rides is prohibited. We want to see you back safely for the next ride. If you are looking for a family motorcycle association, with a lot of pride, spirit and camaraderie without the "attitude" you have found the right organization. Come ride with us and feel the spirit!!!!!


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             Welcome to Star Touring Hungary ! 

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Dear Visitor! - Welcome in our beautiful country HUNGARY
Yamaha Star Touring & Riding Hungary 7301


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Yamaha Star Touring & Riding Hungary - YAMAHA STAR TOURING HUNGARY

The Magyars arrived in the Carpathian Basin in one of the last waves of the Great Migrations. The ethnic group from which the Magyars originated lived initially with Finno-Ugric, then with Ugric peoples at the foot of the Ural Mountains, where, around 500 BC the Magyars became a separate ethnic group. The Magyar - which means "man" - dates from this period.

After the conquest of Hungary, which ended in 900, it seemed for a time that the Magyars would not be able to adapt themselves quickly enough to settle in Europe. However their leaders, the princes of the House of Árpád, soon recognized the danger these periods of plundering raids held for the Hungarians.

Prince Géza began the great task of linking his country with the development of Europe, and his son, King Stephen (1000-1038) sealed the process by having his people convert to Christianity. King Stephen married a German princess, and he received the crown used at the coronation (which is featured among the national emblems on the coat of arms) from the Pope. (Rome later canonized Stephen and several other members of the House of Árpád too.) The Kingdom of Hungary adopted the social model and the system of values, which had been developed in Western Europe, and the nation, which at the time of the conquest had been semi-nomadic, moved from animal breeding to agriculture.

Middle Ages.
In the 14th century Hungary was considered an important market in European trade. At the same time it was one of the most stable countries in Europe, because the rifts characteristic of a feudal society did not lead the country to long-standing disintegration of its territory. The Árpád kings (up till 1301), the Anjou dynasty (1308-1387), the Luxembourg dynasty (1387-1437), the Habsburg dynasty (1437-1458), the house of Hunyadi (1458-1490) and the Jagello dynasty (1490-1526) all strove to preserve the primus inter pares situation.

Fight for Independence.
The Mongolian invasion (1241-1242) - the Mongols swept through Europe in the last wave of the Great Migrations - was the first serious disaster for Hungary. The healthy development spurred by the rebuilding of the country after the Mongol invasion was brought to an end by the advance of the Ottoman Turks into Europe. From the 15th century they threatened Hungarian territory, and for centuries Hungary fought battles with the Turks. In 1526 at the Battle of Mohács the independent Hungarian State was destroyed, and in 1541 the royal seat of Buda fell. The country was split into three parts: the territory under Habsburg rule, the part conquered by the Turks and the Princedom of Transylvania. The 150 years of Turkish occupation drastically curtailed the country´s development and caused severe loss of both material goods and human life.
After the Turks were driven out (in 1686), Hungary came under Habsburg rule. As a result, for several hundred years neither the royal court nor the central administration operated on Hungarian soil. Foreign settlers were moved into the country to swell the dwindling population and this meant that the previous ethnic unity of the country was disrupted. The uprising of Ferenc Rákóczi against Habsburg rule (1703-1711) was the first attempt to win back the country´s independence since the expulsion of the Turks. In contrast to the trend in Western Europe in the 18th century, here the privileges of the nobility and the second wave of serfdom hindered modernization.

The 19th Century.
The revolution of March 15, 1848 was a milestone in the history of revolutions in Europe. Bowing to pressure from the masses, the Hungarian Diet accepted most of the revolutionaries´ demands, including the liberation of the serfs, equality before the law, freedom of the press and an independent Hungarian government. In September 1848 the imperial Austrian government launched an armed attack on Hungary in order to crush the revolution and do away with its achievements which had earlier been approved by the emperor. The independent Hungarian army succeeded in holding off the attack, and only surrendered when the Austrians sought help from the imperial Russian troops.
The years of oppression were followed in 1867 by a Compromise, as a result of which the legislation and government of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy were separated, and only the ministries of foreign affairs, defense and finance were run jointly. Although vestiges of feudalism were still present, a capitalist economic structure developed and significant foreign capital was invested in Hungary.

The World Wars.
In the wake of defeat in the First World War (1914-1918), the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy came to an end. In Hungary a short-lived communist council republic followed a bourgeois democratic revolution. After its collapse, the new government was forced to sign the Trianon Peace Treaty in 1920. Since the pens of the negotiators were guided by military-strategic considerations when they drew the borders of the successor states, two thirds of the Hungarian nation found itself outside the borders of the country. With this loss of territory (Hungary had a renounce 70 per cent of its former land) it was also deprived of access to its raw materials. These historical facts had a commanding influence on the policies of Regent Miklós Horthy. His authoritative, conservative government misjudged the balance of power: though not Fascist, the Hungarian government sided with Hitler in the hope of regaining some of the territory lost after the First World War.
Between 1938 and 1941 this policy was partly successful, but Hungary entered the Second World War on the side of the Axis powers. In 1944 German forces occupied the country and, after an unsuccessful attempt to pull out of the war, in October 1944 the extreme right wing Arrow-Cross Party came to power. Hungary had reached low ebb in its history.
In 1944 a new Hungarian government was formed in Debrecen, a town in the Eastern part of the country which had by this time been liberated. In February 1946 a republic was proclaimed and a year later in February 1947, representatives of the Hungarian government signed the Paris Peace Treaty, which effectively restored the 1938 Trianon borders.

Under the Communist Regime.
The first free elections were held immediately after the war, in 1945. Six parties, which had the approval of the Allied Control Commission, took part. the Independent Smallholders´ Party gained 245 seats, the Communists 70. By 1947 there were only two parties left to oppose the Communists who were enjoying support from Moscow, and these were gradually broken down under the increasing political pressure from the USSR. Under the leadership of Mátyás Rákosi (1949-1956) a Soviet-type Constitution was passed by Parliament and a one-party system came into being, which ignored national traditions and slavishly copied the Soviet model.
On October 23, 1956 a popular uprising, which gradually turned into a revolution, broke out against the hated leadership and regime. It was crushed by Soviet troops, and in 1958 the leader of the 1956 revolutionary government, Imre Nagy, and several of his associates were executed. The dictatorship was restored with Soviet support and hundreds fell victim to reprisals. In the years of János Kádár´s leadership (1956-1988), after a period of retaliation for the revolution, the regime was consolidated, but even under these conditions of relative liberality and the so-called soft dictatorship, it became clear that socialism was not reformable and the country and its people were in need of change.

Democracy reborn.
Demands for a multi-party system were gaining strength and the collapse of the one-party state became inevitable. On June 16, 1989 a huge crowd gathered to witness a fitting reburial for the martyrs of the 1956 revolution. On October 23, 1989 Hungary was renamed Republic of Hungary. In the spring of 1990 - after 45 years of a single party regime - free elections were held. Since then, four coalition governments have led the country through fundamental structural, economical and social changes which resulted in the establishment of the firm democratic Hungary of today. Further, Hungary regained its active leadership role in the Central Eastern European region. In 1999 Hungary became a member of NATO. Hungary successfully concluded its accession negotiations with the European Union at the end of 2002, and will become a member of this organization on May 1, 2004.

Official Name: Magyar Koztarsasag
short form: Magyarország
int´l long form: Republic of Hungary
int´l short form: Hungary

ISO Country Code: hu

Time Zone: Central European Time (CET)
Actual Time: Tue-Mar-20 10:56
Local Time = UTC +1h (Summer: UTC +2)

Capital City: Budapest (est. pop. 2 million)

Other Cities:
Debrecen (220,000); Miskolc (208,000); Szeged (189,000); Pecs (183,000).

Type: Republic.
Constitution: August 20, 1949. Substantially rewritten in 1989, amended in 1990.

Location: Central Europe, near Austria
Area: 93,030 sq. km. (35,910 sq. mi.)
Terrain: Mostly flat, with low mountains in the north and northeast and north of Lake Balaton.

Temperate; cold, cloudy, humid winters; warm summers.

Nationality: Hungarian(s).
Population: 10.1 million.
Ethnic groups: Magyar 92%, Romany 4% (est.), German 2%, Slovak 1%, others 1%.
Religions: Roman Catholic 68%, Calvinist 21%, Lutheran 4%, Jewish 1%, others, including Baptist Adventist, Pentecostal, Unitarian 3%.
Languages: Magyar 98%, other 2%.
Literacy: 99%.

Natural resources: Bauxite, coal, natural gas, fertile soils, arable land.

Agriculture products: Wheat, corn, sunflower seed, potatoes, sugar beets; pigs, cattle, poultry, dairy products.

Industries: Mining, metallurgy, construction materials, processed foods, textiles, chemicals (especially pharmaceuticals), motor vehicles.

Exports partners: Germany 34.1%, Austria 8%, Italy 5.8%, France 5.7%, UK 4.5%, Netherlands 4.1% (2003)

Imports partners: Germany 24.5%, Italy 7.1%, China 6.9%, Austria 6.3%, Russia 6.2%, France 4.8%, Japan 4.2% (2003)

Currency: Forint (HUF)

Nearby Budapest: Medieval History,
Castles and Artists´ Colonies
Whether you decide to return to your hotel in Budapest or try one of the historic manor house hotels (with all the modern amenities) outside the capital, there are several wonderful places nearby that make for easy day trips by train, bus, car or even bicycle.
30 miles before it flows through Budapest, the Danube River turns sharply to the south. A cluster of towns at the Danube Bend offers a treasure trove of history, culture and architecture.
Szentendre is the closest, just 15 minutes by car north of Budapest. With its red-tiled roofs, narrow alleyways, brightly painted houses and Orthodox churches built by the Serbians who settled there in the 17th century, Szentendre became an artists´ colony in this century and today hosts many festivals throughout the year. Among the town´s many famous museums and galleries, the Margit Kovács collection of ceramics is particularly appealing. Hungary´s largest open-air folk museum, or skanzen, is also in Szentendre. Between April and October folk crafts are demonstrated in and around traditional houses, churches, mills and other buildings typical of small villages throughout the country.
Travel back to the 13th century as you climb high atop a hill in Visegrád to Solomon´s Tower, one of Central Europe´s largest and best preserved Romanesque castle keeps. With a commanding view of the Danube as it turns 90º, this spot was of strategic importance to the Romans, who also built fortifications here. Visegrád was the home of Hungary´s kings in the 14th and 15th century. The nation´s great Renaissance King Matthias Corvinus made Visegrád the capital and constructed a magnificent palace, now the Mátyás Király Museum, on the riverbank.
Further north and west is Esztergom, the birthplace of Hungary´s beloved first King, and later Saint, Stephen. The country´s first capital in the 11th century, Esztergom was - and still is - the nation´s ecclesiastical center. Dominating Castle Hill is the Basilica, Hungary´s largest church with one of the world´s largest altar paintings. An unparalleled collection of medieval and Renaissance ecclesiastical art fills the Christian Museum. Climb the dome of the Basilica for a unique view of the majestic Danube.
Two royal and aristocratic residences of a more recent vintage - both built in the 18th century - are only a short ride away from Budapest: the Grassalkovich Palace at Gödöllõ to the northeast and the Brunswick Castle at Martonvásár to the southwest.

Hungary´s favorite queen and Empress of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Elisabeth or "Sissi," spent much time at Grassalkovich Palace. Bavarian-born wife of Emperor Franz Josef, Sissi won the hearts of Hungarians with her advocacy of Hungary´s autonomy, her efforts to learn their language and her expert horsemanship.
At Gödöllõ, she insisted on stables with marble columns and windows designed so that flies could not enter to bother the horses. Nearly ruined by over 30 years of Soviet misuse as barracks, the Baroque-style palace and stables are now a museum where you can see the royals´ private rooms. Equestrian events are frequently held in the beautiful riding park.
Beethoven was the honored guest and music teacher at neo-Gothic Brunswick Castle. He dedicated the Appassionata Sonata in F minor and the Sonata in F sharp major to the Brunswick family. The Beethoven Museum displays his original sheet music and a piano he played. More than 300 species of trees are planted in the 170-acre English-style park and garden around the mansion.
These historical towns, with all their attractions, are eminently accessible from the capital. Have your breakfast in Budapest, explore during the day to your heart´s content, and be back by nightfall - just in time for dinner!
Castles and History in Northern Transdanubia
Nothing else so potently evokes dreams of days gone by than the sight of a crumbling castle perched on a hill. Nothing else is quite so European, quite so beyond the experience of North America, as the remnants of fortresses and mansions of royalty and nobility built long before the Old World discovered the New. And the care with which these castles and manor houses have been preserved, restored or rebuilt through centuries of wars, invasions, fires and other man-made and natural disasters speaks volumes about the great respect Hungarians have for their history.

More than 1,500 castles, palaces and manor houses have been built in Hungary over the centuries. It was after the Tatar invasion of the 1200´s that King Béla IV erected castles and strong fortresses throughout the country. The foundation of nearly all castles still standing or rebuilt today, including the Royal Palace in Budapest, date to that period.

The northwestern part of the country, Northern Transdanubia, is especially rich in these historical treasures and other architectural reminders of the distant past. Not only can you make daytime visits to castles that are monuments and museums, but you can also stay overnight in castle-hotels or manor house-hotels, where modern amenities have been added without detracting from the romantic atmosphere of ages long ago.

The Royal Palace sits on top of Castle Hill overlooking the Danube on the Buda side of Budapest. Inside is the Budapest History Museum, where you can walk underneath the existing building to explore excavated remains of different periods of this castle. While most of the above-ground present structure was restored after World War II bombing to look much as it did in the 18th and 19th centuries, there are older parts you can visit, including the Round Bastion, the "War Hammer" tower and Gothic Great Hall. The entire Castle Hill area has such a precious place in man´s history that it is part of the UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site, which includes the panorama over both sides of the Danube from Margaret Island to Gellért Hill.
Medieval and Renaissance Landmarks
From Budapest, drive to Lake Balaton to see the haunting ruins of two magnificent fortress-type castles. The first is Nagyvázsony, with a 90-feet high intact castle keep. Built in the 15th century, it belonged to the General of Renaissance King Mátyás. On the lake itself is the second, Szigliget - built in the 13th century on a 720-feet high hill. Nearby Budapest are the thatch-roofed houses from an old village. Nagyvázsony also has the 200-year old Zichy manor house - now a hotel with a riding school.
Heading northwest from Lake Balaton as you approach the town of Sümeg, the road is lined on both sides with poplars as far as the eye can see. Suddenly in the distance a hill rises, topped by the remains of a mighty stone fortress, and framed between the two converging rows of trees. One of Hungary´s largest and best preserved medieval castles, Sümeg, was built in the 13th century, the only fortress in Hungary north of Lake Balaton that the Turks were unable to capture. The cannon rooms, barracks, stables and bakeries in the partially restored fort hint at the life of soldiers from long ago. During the summertime Castle Festival, feasts and tournaments with participants in period costume are staged here.
From Sümeg, it´s a short distance to Sárvár with its pentagon-shaped Nádasdy Castle. Built in the 16th century on medieval foundations and with a bridge as an entryway - even though the moat was drained hundreds of years ago - this Renaissance mansion is richly decorated with centuries-old paintings and furnishings. It has an arboretum with trees that are more than 300 years old and a park with a modern thermal spa hotel, one of the most popular in all of Northern Transdanubia.

Entire Towns Full of History
At the foot of the Alps on the Austrian border lie two towns rich in architectural history - Kõszeg and Sopron. In 1532, 800 men in Kõszeg withstood a 25-day siege by 60,000 Turks intent on conquering nearby Vienna. Come and marvel at the great stone walls, bastion and gate of Kõszeg´s Jurisics Castle, in existence since the 14th century but strengthened in the 15th. Wander through the charming medieval center of town. Here, too, tournaments are staged in summer months, as well as a Renaissance festival in August.
Still on the Austrian border north of Kõszeg, is a town the Romans first settled and called Scarbantia. In Sopron today you can see the excavated Scarbantia Forum, Renaissance and medieval houses, including a 13th century synagogue, tiny trading houses along concentric streets, a Gothic church and Baroque town square. Intricate wrought iron decorates shop signs, gates and doorways of the narrow streets. The town has done such an admirable job of preservation that it was awarded the Europa prize in 1975 for the protection of monuments. After exploring this jewel of a town, relax in Sopron´s soothing thermal baths and quench your thirst with fine red wines - particularly Blue Frankish - from its vineyards.
Close by, you can overnight in Nagycenk´s 200 year-old manor house hotel that was the family home of the great 19th century reformer, Count István Széchenyi, responsible for building Budapest´s famous Chain Bridge (also called the Széchenyi Bridge) and for founding the Academy of Sciences.
Another famous Hungarian aristocratic family - Eszterházy - built the country´s largest Baroque mansion in Fertõd, the next stop as we turn back east towards Budapest. Eszterházy Palace - the 18th century jewel often likened to Versailles - had an opera house, puppet theater, music hall, Chinese pavilion, small churches, riding hall, formal gardens and its own orchestra, directed by Haydn. Today the International Haydn Festival is hosted here, as well as many musical performances.

One Thousand Years Old Abbey
From extravagant, earthly splendor we turn to restrained religious devotion, as we travel from Fertõd to Pannonhalma, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here in 996, Benedictine monks founded a monastery and the first center of learning in Hungary. The Abbey at Pannonhalma is Hungary´s oldest standing building. It has the country´s only intact medieval cloisters, Gothic vaulting in its Basilica, Renaissance carving and one of the world´s largest Benedictine libraries. This is a place that has witnessed all of the nation´s history from struggles within the Árpád dynasty of Magyar founders to Tatar, Turkish and Austrian rule. Pannonhalma´s Benedictine high school is one of the most respected in the country.
Take one last look into the distant past at a marvelous castle in Tata before returning to Budapest. With picturesque Öreg Lake on one side and a moat on the other side, a castle appears to rise out of the water. First built in the early 15th century then enlarged and renovated by the great Renaissance King Mátyás, Tata Castle - the only one in Hungary completely surrounded by water - today houses a museum with rare exhibits on ancient and medieval times. This is truly an enchanted place, but then aren´t all castles?

Balaton the "Hungarian Sea",
is the people´s name for the 50 mile long lake with silky green-yellow water in the middle of Transdanubia. Lake Balaton is one of Hungary´s most precious treasures and most frequented resort. It is the largest lake in Central Europe. At its center, the depth is 52.5 ft. The southern shores are ideal for small children because of the shallow water. On the north shore the water gets deeper immediately. The summer water temperature of around 80 °F is warmer than the air in the morning and in the evening. The water and the silky mud of the lake are very good remedies for nervous complaints, anemia and nervous fatigue.
Rich vineyards in the region produce an assortment of excellent wines that go very well with the delicious local food. Large numbers of inns and restaurants welcome guests from home and abroad.
Hungary´s Mediterranean
Interwoven with intrigue and drama, the tapestry of Hungarian history also glistens with two distinctly civilized pleasures: fine art and great wine.
An Art and Wine Itinerary featuring Southern Transdanubia
Throughout Hungary you´ll find these two things in abundance. Budapest offers cultural treasures literally at every turn. Although vineyards may no longer be found in the capital, you can get acquainted with the full range of homegrown wines at the House of Hungarian Wines, located in the historic area near Buda Castle. Here you can explore exhibits about the 22 wine growing regions of Hungary and sample some of the 400 wines they produce.

Pécs: City of Culture
At the foot of the Mecsek Hills, just two-and-one-half hours by train south of Budapest, is Pécs (pronounced PAYCH), Hungary´s fifth largest town. Even if it were not graced with a Mediterranean climate, the genuine warmth of Pécs would win you over. It may be 2,000 years old, with the ancient Roman burial vaults to prove it, but this is an easygoing place. Student life animates the city, which is fitting when you consider that Hungary´s first university was founded here - in 1367. A richly textured past suffuses the city with a gentle sophistication, from its delightful shops and restaurants to its wealth of cultural treasures.
Founded by Romans under the name of Sopianae, the town became the largest one in the Roman province called Pannonia Inferior. In 1009, nine years after he converted the pagan Magyars to Christianity, King Stephen founded a bishopry in Pécs. This led to the city´s rise as a religious and cultural center. The Turks occupied the city for a century and a half, and afterward a mix of Schwabian Germans, Serbs and Croats filtered in. This multicultural city earned the UNESCO Peace Prize in 1998 for the harmony that comes so naturally to it.
With its atmospheric winding streets, lined with Baroque edifices, open squares and red tile roofed buildings, Pécs is a beautiful city. Its heart is Széchenyi Square - at once stately and exotic, one of the most attractive city squares in Hungary. On the northern side, the imposing Pasha Gazi Kassim Mosque, the largest Turkish structure still standing in Hungary, is now used as a church. A row of fig bushes in front amplifies the Mediterranean atmosphere. At the opposite side of the square you´ll find the unusual Zsolnay Fountain, an Art Nouveau civic masterpiece of locally made Zsolnay porcelain. It features the distinctive iridescent glaze called eosin, named, appropriately enough, for the ancient Greek goddess of dawn. Pause for a pastry and coffee in café Virág, facing the square. Then make your way to Király utca, the pedestrian-only main shopping street in Pécs. The street may be bustling, but there´s no need to rush. A short walk in the opposite direction brings you to the mosque of Jakovali Hassan, with its minaret still intact. Built in the mid-1500s, the mosque now houses a museum of Turkish artwork and artifacts.

A Street of Museums
Leave ample time to explore Pécs´ "street of museums", Káptalan utca. A short walk north of Széchenyi Square, this quiet, leafy avenue is packed with an eclectic array of fine arts museums housed in a series of rambling, pastel-colored medieval houses. In the Zsolnay Museum, housed in a 14th century Gothic residence, you´ll find displays of some of the finest pieces of award-winning Zsolnay porcelain, which has been produced in Pécs since 1853. If it whets your appetite for more, check out the Zsolnay boutique in Pécs, just off Széchenyi Square.
The Vasarely Museum boasts a formidable collection of works by Victor Vasarely, the Pécs native who pioneered op-art. Nearby, the Csontváry Museum houses a sizeable collection of works by Tivadar Csontváry, who Picasso once called "the other artistic genius of the twentieth century". Csontváry´s paintings are like a mirror of Central Europe´s past, fusing expressionism, symbolism and romanticism into a colorful but haunting vision - evidenced in such master works as the "Lonely Cedar Tree". As you approach the nearby Modern Hungarian Art Gallery, you´ll see the striking sculptures of Pierre Székely. Inside, there are works by important 19th and 20th century Hungarian painters. Another museum showcases artifacts from Renaissance Pécs. Other museums on Káptalan utca include the Martyn Ferenc Collection, featuring the works of this abstract painter, the surrealist paintings of Endre Nemes, and the sculptures and ceramics of Amerigo Tot. Give yourself a day or two to absorb it all, then another day to explore the 11th century cathedral and the eerily elegant late Roman sepulchres - which contain 104 Roman graves and two separate burial vaults.

Time for Wine - and Surprises
You may wish to stay at one of the charming after stimulating your senses with history and fine art, indulge them with an excursion to Hungary´s scenic southernmost wine country: the Villány-Siklós Wine Route. The southernmost Hungarian wine country, Villány-Siklós is located 40 minutes south of Pécs, a pastoral paradise of gentle green hills, oak forests and the scent of juniper interlaced with historic cities and villages.
Romans produced wine in this scenic pocket of Europe 2,000 years ago, and today over 5,000 vineyards yield some of the finest wines in Hungary. The mild Mediterranean-like climate of the region, along with its fertile soil, helps endow the wines with their sunny southern flavor. Villány and Villánykövesd are known for their ruby-toned red wines, including Blue Franc, Blue Portuguese, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Siklós is best known for its white wines, such as Italian and Rhine Riesling, Chardonnay and Traminer.
You may wish to stay at one of the charming family-hotels, such as the Cabernet, Gere or Polgár, nestled next to a dramatic double row of tiny white houses, each of which has its own wine cellar. Cabernet´s kitchen in Villánykövesd turns out unforgettable treats, such as homestyle chicken vegetable soup and poppyseed cherry strudel. Down the road the Kocsi Csárda, a convivial tavern-like setting, is a wonderful place to enjoy an apricot or strawberry palacsinta (crepe) dessert and a shot or two of fruity, fiery pálinka, a robust Hungarian spirit. In Villány, pay a visit to the Wine Museum or, even better, an actual winery.
All along the Wine Route cellars and country wine bars await travelers. Cellars throughout the villages are open to anyone interested in a tasting, and many of the cellars are home to charming and supremely affordable bed-and-breakfast style accommodations. Among the best are Bock, Tiffán, Gere and Polgár wineries. Taste some of their award winning wines: Blue Portuguese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Which will be your favorite? Only a thorough tasting will tell.
In Siklós, visit the medieval Batthyány Castle, a fortress that has resolutely stood its ground since 1190. Cross the drawbridge and enter another era as you ramble over to the 500-year-old web-vaulted chapel or survey the vineyards from atop the castle battlements. Not far from the castle gates there stands another reminder of the area´s past: a small but beautifully restored Turkish mosque.
All is not antiquated on the Villány-Siklós Wine Route, how-ever. Just a few minutes from Siklós you´ll come across the village of Nagyharsány, an unlikely setting perhaps for a dramatic sculpture park of international renown. The park is spread out over one side of the Szársomlyó Hill beneath a striking 90-feet tall cliff.
As you look out across the lush vineyards, listen to the sounds the sculptors make as they chisel fine art out of solid rock: one can almost conjure Károly Lotheringans´ soldiers battling the Turks in the valley below, centuries ago. The Southern Transdanubian landscape stirs the imagination as readily as it calms the soul - whether your tastes turn to wine, art, history or all of the above.

Great Plain (Hortobágy)
Hortobágy is the largest continuous natural grassland in Europe, which means that it was not formed because of deforestation or river control. The first Hungarian national park (established in 1973), it is the country´s largest protected area (82 thousand hectares). A significant part of it is Biosphere Reserve and a quarter of its area enjoys international protection.
A major part of the area of the National Park is formed by natural habitats, alkaline grasslands, meadows and the marshes lying between them. them. From the point of view of nature conservation, the artificial wetlands, which cover a much smaller area, are of considerable importance: these are the fishponds, situated on 6 thousand hectares

The marshes and fishponds are bird nesting habitats and migration sites of European significance. The appearance of 342 bird species has been registered in Hortobágy so far, of which 152 species nest in the National Park. The symbol of the Park is the crane; undoubtedly, one of the most spectacular sights here is the cranes´ autumn migration. Tens of thousands of cranes can be seen every October as they fly above the grasslands to their overnight roosting places.

A large number of tough, undemanding longhaired sheep and grey cattle can be found here. Less ancient species are the curly-bristled mangalica pig and the Nonius horse.
The herdsmen living on the grasslands do not have permanent buildings for themselves or their animals. Most of the ancient herdsmen´s buildings are very simple but also practical, made chiefly of reeds. The sweep-pole wells for watering the animals have become symbols of the Hungarian grasslands.

Inns were built 10-12 km apart along the commercial roads crossing the plains, where travelers could rest and the herdsmen turn in for the night. Tourists still like to visit the inns where they can taste the excellent herdsmen´s dishes and other specialties of the cuisine of the Great Plain. In the Hortobágy village, tourist centre, in the former cart stall of the Nagycsárda (Great Inn), there is today a Herdsmen´s Museum where the history and memorabilia of the herding life shown. A stone bridge was built across the river Hortobágy on the road connecting Budapest with Debrecen in 1827, and from the number of its arches it is known colloquially as Kilenclyukú híd, which means bridge with nine holes.
Of the regular programs, the best known are the International Horse Days and the Hídi Fair in August.

The folk art of Hungary springs from a lively tradition of creativity found in many forms in the countryside. The spontaneous desire to delight and entertain, passed on from one generation to the next, in music, dance, crafts and costume is at the heart of Hungary´s culture. And while in some places in the world you will see folk art confined to the museum, in Hungary it is a living tradition.
Master craftsmen and women with a host of skills from saddling to wood carving, basket making to egg painting, will welcome you to their workshops, and even introduce you to some of the skills of their trade! In several important areas, Hungarian folk art is revered worldwide. Halas lace, for example, from the Southern Great Plain, is unique in its intricate technique, and Kalocsa embroidered folk costumes have an ancient motif that shows up in pottery and wall painting. All of these can be seen exactly where they are made, as tradition continues in the local markets and cottage workshops.
Between the rivers Danube and Tisza, you will find the greatest variety of folk costumes, and you will experience the fascinating intertwining of Serbian, Swabian, Slovakian, Romanian, and Romany traditions that influence Hungarian folk art.

The bulk of Hungarian folk embroidery is done on linen. The embroidery art of Mezõkövesd (Northern Hungary) developed over the last 150 years. The needle-women cover the whole surface of the material to create the many-colored, shiny Matyó needlework, as well as the famous Matyó costumes. Another favorite embroidery center is Kalocsa in the Great Plain region. Originally the old Kalocsa embroidery was white, with open-work. The colored Kalocsa embroidery of today first appeared after the turn of the century. This branch of folk art is closely connected with the painting and wall-painting style of this part of the country.
In Hódmezõvásárhely (Southern Great Plain) today the flourishing embroidery style of the l7th-l8th century is being revived and made suitable for contemporary home furnishing. Old cushion-ends are embroidered with wool of many colors: golden brown, dark brown, pink, cornflower blue, and a little black and green.
On the northern fringe of the Great Plain the cross-stitch embroidery of Bereg was developed from the blending of many different styles.
The red and blue Palóc embroidery was and still is occasionally the main decoration of aprons, sheet-ends, fancy towels and kerchiefs presented as gifts. After Sárköz, the most famous among the flourishing embroidery centers of Transdanubia are Rábaköz and Buzsák.

Pottery is another widespread folk-craft. Weddings were the most important occasions when people bought these attractive, decorated pottery dishes. In some districts it was not unknown for the family to order a whole kiln-full of pottery. When the potters made the ornamental dishes specially for wedding gifts, they quite often painted the couple´s name on-them.
The famous pottery centers of the Great Plain have many special characteristics in their wares. Ochre glazed water jars from Mezõtúr have floral decorations. Brown, green and yellow pitchers are made in Hõdmezövásárhely. Plates with flower, bird and star patterns, which line the walls of rooms, come from Tiszafüred. And, the characteristic ´Miska jugs´ and drinking vessels are from Mezõcsát.
Nádudvar is the center of the black pottery-making tradition.
In Western Transdanubia, the pottery wares of Csákvár and Magyarszombatfa in the Õrség region are of very high quality.

There is modern style of architecture which draws upon the folk tradition and humanitarian aspects of Hungarian life called Organic Architecture. It comes from the same lineage that has inspired the music of Béla Bartók and many artists in the visual and vocal fields.
Though very contemporary, Organic Art uses traditional motifs and themes from the past. One of its leading practitioners is Hungarian architect, Imre Makovecz who was born in Budapest in 1935. Makovecz has said: "Trees are the most complete representation of life. Branches are supernatural aspirations and roots represent the mysterious unconscious."
By visiting the houses and churches he designed you can get a flavor of this fascinating form of Magyar architecture. The buildings are living organisms, providing physical and psychological shelter that is enhanced by a folkloric component. He draws upon myth and legend to give shape to his projects. Look at the emergence of detail in the most popular art motifs. Tulips are among the common detail we find as part of his traditional style. Makovecz reproduces these themes on the entrance gate together with a moon and stars, very typical Transylvanian designs. The circular staircase in one house is yet another symbol. In the language of Rudolf Steiner, the Austrian philosopher and architect who has inspired Mr. Makovecz, the circle is an expression of calm and repose. Look for examples of Organic Architecture at: the Stone Chapel on Budapest´s Gellért Hill; the Community Center in Sárospatak and Kakasd; the Puszta Center in Hortobágy; the Camping in Visegrád; the Catholic Church in Paks.

Lake Tisza
Smooth water, huge bays, backwaters and islands, rich fish and wild stock-this is Lake Tisza. In the middle of the Great Plain, Lake Tisza is the second largest surface of water in the country.
The Lake is situated on what was a flood-plain, and on the flooded territory of the River Tisza. In between water dams, there are sixteen islands and ten water channels. The shallow water areas, which warm up easily, are suitable for bathing. The deeper parts are for water sports such as sailing, water skiing and surfing. Lake Tisza is also the only Lake in Europe where you can speed around by powerboat and jet-ski. Along the riverbank (approximately 50 miles) there are recreation areas, open-air baths, camp-sites and places to hire equipment.

Abádszalók, at the southern corner of the lake, is a sport and recreation paradise. On the huge water surface of the Abádszalók Bay, fans of powered sports devices can speed freely. The Puppet Museum in the Village House, with more than 250 puppets in folk costumes of the Carpathian Basin, is a fascinating experience.
Dream Beach
On the right shore of Lake Tisza is one of the most spectacular holiday areas of Tiszanána. The Dinnyés Ridge is known for its pleasant bays, backwaters and smooth open-air pools. Landscape artists are actively shaping the landscape, in a way that is sympathetic to the surroundings. They are setting up wonderful parks, fishing sites and new recreation areas.
Visitors can learn about the ethnography of the region in the Village Museum of Kisköre, a place noted for its garden parks. The varied summer program is enriched by majorette, Roma gypsy and folklore festivals. Thousands of anglers and lovers of delicious fish dishes are attracted to the angling waters of Poroszló and Sarud, by cat-fish in spring and by pike in the autumn.
Berekfürdõ is a pleasant, family-friendly recreation area. Its Thermal and swimming baths have an indoor thermal spa with two pools and an open-air spa with seven pools. The town glass factory is world-famous. Its frosted glass is made using an original technique which produces a pattern of hairline surface cracks. Products are on display in the factory´s exhibition area.
Karcag is a typical market-town of the Great Plain. Potters, quick-fingered lace-makers, folk artists of felt coat embroidery, cooks preparing excellent mutton-paprikás and women baking Karcag cake, made this town famous. The history of the region and its rich folk art can be seen at the Gyõrffy István Nagykun Museum and in the Regional House of the Nagykunság, a traditional Cumanian (Kun) peasant house. The works of the most significant potter folk artist, Sándor Kántor, recipient of international and domestic prizes, is exhibited in the Pottery House. Among his exhibits are the typical Miska jugs of Karcag.
At the southern entrance of the Hortobágy National Park is the Windmill Reception House with the special flora and fauna of Hortobágy. Nearby stands a 19th century windmill, the only one remaining out of an original sixty.
The thermal water of the town can be enjoyed at the open-air bath and swimming-pool.
Tiszacsege`s most valuable asset is the 81 °C thermal water springing from a depth of 1150 metres, suitable for easing rheumatic and muscular pains.
The Kácsa (Duck) Island is a protected area, where the rich flora and fauna of the Tisza Region survive untouched. The Dayman House presents the typical way of life of the region. On the picturesque Tisza river, the Csege motor ship takes passengers to Tokaj or Kisköre.
Tiszafüred is one of the most popular recreation areas of Lake Tisza.Water lilies decorate the backwater of the Tisza. The smooth sand of the river beach and the frequently changed water of the open air baths and thermal bath offer pleasant bathing opportunities. The first village museum of the country was established here in 1949: the Kiss Pál Museum, exhibiting the typical "Füred saddle" of the shepherds of the Great Plain. In the Pottery House the workshop of the most famous Füred potter dynasty can be seen.
The Meggyes Csárda Museum (Tiszafüred-Kócsújfalu) is the only authentically furnished and restored `Hortobágy csárda` (restaurant) with open chimney. Large and small white egrets, spoonbills, black cranes and the very rare lanner falcons are permanent inhabitants of the near-by, strictly protected bird reserve.
Tiszaújváros, at the junction of the rivers Tisza and Sajó is only 30 years old. The ice-rink here is open winter and summer. One of the most modern thermal baths, an adventure bath equipped with the latest technology, and an open-air bath welcome guests.
Tiszavalki Basin
The bird reserve of the Tiszavalki Basin is a strictly protected area, is home to more than a thousand pairs of herons, egrets, night herons and cormorants. The visitor who takes part in a river tour starting from any of the 15 ports will enjoy the calming and refreshing experience of this romantic water-world.

Food and Wine
The Hungarians are hospitable people, always ready to offer guests delicious food and excellent wines. In the 1996 Chef´s Olympics, Hungary´s team won the silver medal overall, as well as numerous other honors. Hungary´s chefs are rigorously trained through an apprenticeship process dating back to the medieval guild system. Hungarian wines have earned a reputation for high quality, garnering first prizes in a number of international competitions.

The country´s unique cuisine has influences from the Central Asian Magyar founders of the nation, Turks, Germans, French, Austrians, Czechs, Slovaks, Serbians, and Croatians. The simple agrarian and shepherd lifestyles of the Hungarian Plain and mountains have also helped shape the country´s unique dishes.

While many popular restaurants in Budapest have adapted their cooking to today´s lighter style of eating, traditional Hungarian cuisine is for those with hearty appetites.

Sauces rich in sour cream, delicacies such as goose liver and an emphasis on meats, including game such as boar and venison, are often on the menu. Fish - especially Lake Balaton Pike, eel stew or a thick and sometimes peppery fish soup - is also quite popular. Other traditional favorites include veal paprika stew and roast chicken with cottage cheese noodles. Fabulous desserts, served with strong espresso, include strudels, tortes and the legendary Gundel pancakes with chocolate rum sauce.

Wine connoisseurs are familiar with the most famous of Hungary´s wines - the sweet white Tokaji Aszú and strong red Bull´s Blood (Egri Bikavér). Hungary boasts 20 wine-producing districts which make a wide range of wines,including Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Gris, Merlot, Riesling, Chardonnay, sparkling, rosé and other unique Hungarian varieties. Favorable natural conditions make our country a prime location for the production of smaller quantities of premium wines.

You can also visit the vineyards and wineries in almost all regions of the country. The most beautiful landscapes are to be found where the best wine is produced. Visit the Somló wine region, guarded by a dead volcano and the ruins of a castle. The vineyards of the Eger and Mátraalja regions stretch along the romantic foothills of the Mátra and Bükk mountains. The Eger red wines - such as the renowned Egri Bikavér (Bull´s Blood) - are characterized by attractive color and pleasant tannin content. During the several years of aging in large wooden casks in the cellars, these wines become fullbodied wines rich in aroma.

Tokaj vineyards rise from a landscape where the Bodrog and Tisza rivers meet. Since the middle of the 16th century, thank to the Aszú wines, Tokaj-Hegyalja has been famous the world over for the quality of its wines. "Winum regnum rex vinorum" - "The wine of kings, the king of wines" - exclaimed Louis XIV when first tasting Tokay Aszú, which became popular wine specialty of royal, papal and aristocratic tables through the centuries.

At any time of the year you can wander from wine cellar to vineyard, tasting different vintages and learning about the production of Tokaji. Only four white grape varieties are permitted: Furmint, Hárslevelû (original Hungarian varieties) Muscat Lunel and Oremus, from which seven wine types are produced: Aszú, Szamorodni (dry or sweet), "Fordítás", Aszúesszencia, Natúresszencia (Nectar) and champagne. In October you can help in the actual making of the wine - a very enjoyable excursion.

On the sand of the Great Hungarian Plain (Alföld) lighter wines ripen faster. These white and rosé wines are for everyday consumption but provide a gastronomical delight for feasts. Grapes and wine have always formed an integral part of life in the Balaton Region, intertwined with a variety of activities, including work, celebration and mourning. Lake Balaton, the largest shallow lake in Europe was born 10-12 thousand years ago and the area surrounding the Lake is ideally suited for growing grapes. Seven famous wine regions have been formed around the Lake. On the North, the combination of basalt volcano peaks and the water surface of the Lake make the area the most spectacular site of Hungary. Fine wines are produced here from the best grapes: Italian and Rhine Riesling, Pinot Gris, Tramini, Pinot Blanc, Kéknyelû - Blue Stalk, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Kékfrankos - Blue Francs, Zweigelt and Merlot.

The wine trail associations help orient and inform travelers and professionals and provide a uniform set of criteria for wine tasting and sales. Tourists can enjoy the wide variety of festivals and cultural events. When you plan your trip to Hungary, do not omit wine tasting from your program, while you enjoy the Hungarian landscapes and gastronomy.

Rólunk Céljaink Hírek Eseménynaptár Támogatók, Linkek Tagfelvétel Fórum Galéria Magazin Főoldal