EDEN winner 2009

Írottkő Nature Park
www.naturpark.hu

Introduction
The Írottkő Nature Park is located in Vas County, in West Transdanubia.It was named after the highest peak of Transdanubia, i.e. the 883 meter high Írottkő across which the Austro-Hungarian border runs. The delightful landscape including the 15 villages of this region provides the Nature Park with a key attraction. The hillsides covered by forests are surrounded by orchards and vineyards. Key components of the landscape are the Kőszeg Mountains, the Calvary Hill, the Old House Peak, the Írottkő Peak and the Saint Vid Chapel. Protected areas, springs, meadows flanking the creeks and brooks, Methuselah trees and tended parks contribute to the diversity of land within the Nature Park. The centre of the Nature Park is a small town of historic importance (Kőszeg) whose downtown area constitutes a part of the national heritage. Its monument buildings, the intramural structure of streets recall medieval times, the churches, civic homes, the ancient walls of the town preserve eternal values. The traditions of winemaking are almost of the age of the town itself and the Annual Book of Grape Offshoot Drawings is a valuable piece of cultural history and renowned throughout Europe. Also the history of the local towns take the visitor back to bygone centuries: the Mountain of Saint Vid had been inhabited for three thousand years, as of the Bronze Age and one can view Roman and Avar remains at several places. Also the culture of national minorities is safeguarded within the premises of the Nature Park: German and Croatian people live here and keep their traditions and culture alive.

Events
The programs of the Írottkő Nature Park are designed to present from the beginning of Carnival until the Advent the beauty of nature, the benefits of eco-tourism, the values and traditions of wine-growing and gastronomy and the cultural diversity of the region. The series of such events include: the Nature Park Days, the series of festivities related to making new entries in the Annual Book of Grape Offshoot Drawings, the Kőszeg Theatre, the Seven Springs Picnic, the "Half Moon and Full Moon" Days of the Siege of Kőszeg, the Chesnut Fiesta in Velem, the "Nature Park Flavors" gastronomic festival and the Vintage at Kőszeg. "Spend your weekend in Kőszeg and the Nature Park": we invite particularly tourists arriving afoot or by bicycle, and offer them a variety of programs.

Best destination in Hungary in "Tourism and protected areas", 2009
A Nature Conservation Visitor Center and a school in the forest are operated within the area of Nature Park and 10 educational trails present nature's different dimensions (ornithology, flora, rocks, springs, villages). The Herb and Spice Garden can be visited near the Jurisics Fortress, in the vicinity of Nature's Shop where a complete assortment of handcraft products made in the Nature Park can be bought. In addition to the organization of environmental awareness programs, Outstanding Green Days and social actions, the Society maintains close co-operation with Hungarian and European destinations already awarded with the EDEN Prize and organizes the "Annual Days from EDEN to EDEN".

Finalists in 2009
Directorate of Balaton Opland's Nature Park, the Körös-szög Multi-purpose Rural Development Society, the Tourism Society of Orfű and the Tourism Development Society of Lake Tisza