Photographer's Note

At the ‘Hungarian sea’, The Balaton

The Balaton and its surroundings are Hungary's most popular holiday area. Rest and recreation on the shore, historic and cultural heritage, folk traditions, bicycle and water tours, rare natural treasures, gastronomic specialities and spectacular programmes - all of these things are offered by and around the 'Hungarian sea'.

The Balaton region had already become one of the society centres by the 18th and 19th centuries. On the average the lake's water surface of the 590 square metres receives 2,000 hours of sunshine and the shallower waters quickly follow the air temperatures. Each summer the water temperatures of the lake reach as high as between 25 and 27 degrees Centigrade which is one of the reasons that it has become one of the favourite bathing lakes in Central Europe.
The southern shores of the lake are shallow, while the northern shores deepen quickly. The average depth of the water is between 3 and 4 metres, and the so-called well of Tihany is 11.5 metres deep, which is at the strait between the Siófok and Szemes Basins. The 'Balaton Riviera' stretches from Ábrahámhegy to Balatonfűzfő. The name stems from the fact that the area has natural conditions similar to the French and Italian Riviera.
The entire shore of Balaton is suitable for vineyards and thus it has developed into one of Hungary's significant wine-producing areas. On the north shore there are the Csopak-Füred and Tihany areas where the most famous wines of Badacsony are grown, the grey friar, 'szürkebarát'. The centre of the southern shore wine region is Boglár and Kőröshegy, where white and burgundy type grapes grow equally well, producing the basis of both white and red wines.
Each year water sports, the various sailing and swimming races across the lake, the famous balls and scores of events draw thousands of visitors to the lake's shore.
However, local hosts not only organise programmes for visitors in the summer; a variety of events take place all year round, such as excursions, gastronomic events and cellar tours on the Balaton Uplands, in Zala and Somogy. During the winter the lake is often covered by ice for a long time and this also makes it popular with those who favour winter sports.
A history of centuries has transformed the north shore into a virtual outdoor museum. The unparalleled natural endowments are enriched by historical heritage. The ruins of medieval churches and castles carry the messages of the past, including the remains of the castle of Szigliget, the stone pillars of Csobánc, the castle of Hegyesd perched on a steep peak, as well as the remaining walls of the castles of Rezi, Tátika and Zádor. The vernacular residences with their pillars and arched porches are gems of architecture as it was popular among the minor nobility of those days. (Source: Vendégváró)

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Additional Photos by George Rumpler (Budapestman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 8900 W: 3 N: 20435] (82620)
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