The oldest national park of Hungary, an outstanding example of the harmonic co-existence of man and nature became a World Heritage Site in 1999. Hortobágy is a single vast continuous prairie/steppe in Central Europe. With its unbroken horizon, matchless flora and fauna, increasing stock of cattle, increasing number of shepherds and rich cultural traditions, it is one of Hungary's most important sites for tourism. For centuries, Hortobágy was used for extensive stock-farming where the shepherds living in harmony with nature developed unique methods and traditions of stock-breeding. The activities, the richly decorated household utensils and devices and the man-built environment which is characteristic of the sternly hierarchical society of the shepherds, have triggered international interest to learn more about this region. Despite the manifold increase of the stock of traditional livestock (grey cattle, nonius horses, ancient long-wooled sheep or racka, mangalica hogs, domesticated buffalo), people succeeded in preserving the clean water and air and the natural characteristics of this enthralling land of exceptional beauty. Hortobágy is the biggest ecologically controlled area and accommodates more than half of the livestock considered the pure gene bank preserved for nature conservation in Hungary. This is the place where tourists can visit the Nine-Hole Bridge which is Hungary's longest vehicular stone bridge and a landmark of Hortobágy. Also the more than 300 year old Hortobágyi Csárda (Inn), the Hortobágy Stud Farm with its rich and unique horse-breeding traditions, finally, the Herd of Grey Cattle which is considered a well-deserved symbol of the Hungarian animal husbandry can be seen here.
During a series of events regularly held between spring and Advent, both young and adult visitors can get acquainted with the lifestyle, dresses, traditions, cuisine, music and dances of the shepherds and with handcrafts related to animal husbandry. Some of the large-scale events that were first held during the past centuries have acquired international fame. These are the Fair of the Hortobágy Bridge (since 1892) and the International Equestrian Days (since 1965).
Best destination in Hungary in "Tourism and local intangible heritage", 2008
Hortobagy has been preserving existing and subsistent values.The sons and grandsons of shepherds and heardsmen have learnt to respect nature from the older generations, and do so even today.
Finalists in 2008
Municipality of Hollókő, the Multi-purpose Rural Development, Society of Mór, the Association for Tourism in Sárospatak, the Multi-purpose Rural Development Society of Siklós, the Municipality of Szekszárd, Tourinform Veszprém, the Multi-purpose Rural Development Society of Zalaegerszeg