"Őrség" National Park

Őrség National Park, which includes the Őrség and Slovene Raba regions and part of the Raba valley, which spans an area of 43926.8 ha, 3104 ha of which are under increasing nature conservation. The heavily dissected hilly landscape of the national park, which has been shaped by creeks and rivers and is enclosed by wet and barely accessible gravel hills, is unique in Hungary. The climate is humid and subalpine. Due to the annual precipitation of 700-950 mm this region is rich in rivers and creeks. The most important ones are the rivers Raba, which forms its river bed still today, the river Zala (Szala), which divides the national park into two halves, and the river Kerka, which provides a home for numerous dragonflies and insects. Due to the storage of creeks the well-known lake Hársas, which is a place of excursions to nature to many people, could be created near Márjaúifalu village.

Pinewood that is poor in lime and in which juniper, blueberry and bilberry, Mountain Germander, wild cherry, lycopod and evergreen plants grow, determine the natural scenery of this national park. This very national park is the only place in Hungary where green alder, Mountain Germander and Madeiran Orchid can be found. The creeks are seamed by alder meadows and rare Ostrich fern, the forest tracks however are bordered by pink ivy. In some parts of the national park one can come upon sphagnum, hill moor and moor meadow, witnesses of the ice age, the charateristic plant of which is the entomophagous, circle-petalled sundew. In spring, yellow lilies and irises, buttercups and various kinds of the Early Marsh-Orchid grow on the moor meadow. In fall, gentians bloom on the moor meadow. The Slovene Raba region is famous for its richly appareled flora (for example green alders). Thanks to heavy rainfall and high humidity Orség is one of the Hungarian regions that are extremely rich in mushroom sources. Apart from the well-known mushroom species, you can also find some rare mushrooms like the Blackening Waxcap and the Hygrophorus.

The animal kingdom of the national park is very multifarious. Hungary's richest butterfly and dragonfly fauna, which is also internationally protected, can be admired here. An oddity among the fish in Orség is the Danube lamprey. Likely, one can hardly come across amphibia and Alpine newts in the Slovene Raba region. Wood storks, honey buzzards, corn crakes and wood doves belong to the precious bird species. The otter can even be found near bigger creeks.

Furthermore, Őrség possesses a rich building and culture history. The arrangement of the villages consists of separate set of houses, which have been built on hill slopes. This structure of widespread set of houses perpetuates the villagescape, which started developing after the time of Hungarian land seizure. This village structure is also characteristic for the settlements in the Slovene Raba region. Impressive examples are: Kétvölgy, Orfalu and Apátistvánfalva. What is more, the skirt-shaped, wooden bell houses are significant for this region. The most famous house types are the ones having a black kitchen. Such houses can be visited in the open-air museum of Szalafo Pityersz.

Translated from German into English: Joël Gerber

The German text is based on: Information Board at lake Hársas