Central Transdanubia, Hungary Attractions
Central Transdanubia is located west of Budapest and north of Lake Balaton. The region offers recreational opportunities, centuries-old monuments and archaeological sites, as well as historical and architectural landmarks.
Tác is a Roman settlement that has been excavated revealing residential houses, town walls and a cemetery. The basilica has been restored to highlight the wall paintings and floor mosaics.
The most important part of the Transdanubian Central Range is the Bakony, also called Bakony Forest. It extends north of Lake Balaton to the Little Plain (Kisaföld) and as far as the Vértes Hills, from which it is separated by the Mórer Valley. Both the Balaton Uplands running parallel to the north bank of Lake Balaton and the adjoining Keszthely Hills are part of the Bakony. The highest point of this wooded area of 4000sq.km (1544sq.mi.) is Koris, 704m (2309ft) high, close to the town of Zirc. The most valuable mineral in the Bakony Forest is bauxite. Mountains, woods and valleys add to the charm of the region as do numerous historical monuments in both the smaller and larger towns. The Bakony consists of two parts: the southern part with the largest town of the Central Range, the regional capital Veszprém, together with the towns of Várpalota and Sümeg and the northern part also called Upper or Old Bakony. There are unspoiled romantic places here for walking and excursions. The best known town in this region is Zirc. The chain of hills of the Bakony Lowland on the west edge of the range is also part of the Bakony Forest linking it to the Kisaföld. Papa is the largest town here.
This small town (310m (1017ft) a.s.l.; pop. 2920) in the Bakony, about 15km ( 9mi.) northwest of Veszprém, is famous for its porcelain of the same name. The firm was established in 1826 and taken over by Mór Fischer in 1839 who made its products famous throughout the world within a few decades. In 1851 he took his porcelain to the World Exhibition where it attracted a lot of attention. Queen Victoria ordered a Herend dinner service decorated with butterflies and flowers, inspired by Chinese porcelain painting. This pattern has since carried the name Victoria. Hand-decorated porcelain is still produced in Herend (factory visits by arrangement with the tourist office at Veszprém). A visit to the museum in the old main factory building is recommended. Selected pieces illustrate the 150-year-old history of the firm and the changing shapes of its products.
This border town (pop. 20,000) about 25km (16mi.) northwest of Tata on the expressway to Vienna on the right bank of the Danube, is linked to the Slovakian town of Komarno by a railroad bridge. For almost a century the Hungarian town and the Slovakian town were one settlement and capital of the former Komárom district only being divided into two by the peace treaty of Versailles-Trianon in 1920. The Hungarian part was originally a suburb of the present Slovakian half and has since fused with Szony, which was an important Roman camp in the province of Pannonia.
The castle at Komárom was laid siege to by the Turks several times but never conquered. During the Napoleonic wars the Austrian imperial court took refuge here. The former Igmánd castle houses the György Klapka Museum which contains interesting finds from the Roman military camp Brigetio.
After 2km (1 mi) is the turning for Majk Puszta where in the 18th C Kamadulens monks retreated to a hermit-like existence. A Baroque monastery was built and renowned architects such as Franz Anton Pilgram and Jakob Fellner were engaged in its construction and furnishing. The monastery consists of a main building (now a conference center) and 17 hermits' cells. Only the tower (end of 18th C) remains of the church.
On the road to Tatabány, 5km (3mi.) south of Tata on road 100, evidence of primitive man, who lived here about 500,000 years ago, was discovered in the 1960s. In the open-air museum bones and everyday objects of this culture are on display.
A short detour from Tatabánya into the Vértes Hills is recommended. From Oroszlány, about 15km (9mi.) southwest of Tatabánya, the road leads to Csákvar (former castle of the Eszterházys from 1823; today a sanatorium) through wooded hills.
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