The National Park in Hungary
Cooperation between Austria and Hungary has a long tradition – also in nature conservancy. Every other year, there were conferences held alternatingly in Burgenland and western Hungary. These meetings, known as the Neusiedler See - conferences, reflect the cross-border location of the steppe lake.
The formation of a bilateral National Park preparation committee in 1988 was merely a logical step. Since the formation of the National Park and its common official opening on April 24th 1994, the most important decisions are met by both the Austrian and the Hungarian National Park Commissions. Also the daily cooperation between the two National Park Administration Centres in Sarród and Apetlon is marked by a friendly and positive atmosphere.
The Hungarian part of the Neusiedler See became a nature protection area in 1977. In 1979 it became a MAB Biosphere Reserve, in 1989 a RAMSAR site. In 1991, the southern part of the lake (except the public swimming area in Fertörakos/Kroisbach) covering a total area of about 65 km², was declared a National Park by the Hungarian government. In 1994, the government was able to buy large parts of the Hanság that were included in the national park area. This increased the total surface of the national park and together with the smaller protected areas along the river Rabnitz, the National Park covers about 235 km².
The lake in the Fertö-Hanság National Park
The Neusiedler See offers a wide range of varying habitats which becomes clear especially in this part of the National Park: cloudy water, moved by the wind on the open lake offers different living conditions to the clear, standing water in the reed beds, or rainwater on the meadows near the lake. Birds, like the Great White Egret, Purple Heron, Spoonbill and Greylag Goose, nest in the reed belt. Breeding birds and migrating birds feed on insects, fish and amphibians. During autumn and winter tens of thousands of White-fronted Geese, Bean Geese and Greylag Geese use the south parts of the lake to roost.
Inundation areas near the lake serve as feeding ground for many wading birds. Here, Grey cattle, Water Buffalo and Racka (a breed of sheep with spiral-shaped horns) – typical Hungarian domestic animals – are used for pasturing. They are a part of the National Park’s habitat management measures and therefore contribute to the preservation of precious habitats.
The Fertö Hanság Nemzeti Park Administration Centre, the so-called Kócsagvár (egret castle) is located north of Sarród. It was built in 1993 and you can get there via Fertöd or by bicycle via Nyárliget.
There is a road from the Kócsagvár to the lock of the Main Regulation Channel and the area near the lake, where you can watch the rich variety of birds from the embankment or the high seat. Close to Fertöújlak/ Mekszikopuszta you can find former barracks that were transformed by the National Park into a visitors’ centre and a centre for ecological education.
The Hanság covers a total surface of 460 km² of which the largest part is on Hungarian territory. This former fen that formed from the silted up eastern part of the lake ranges from the Neusiedler See to the Danube. Until the early 20th century bodies of water, marshland and bog forests provided local villagers with food and other important resources. In winter they cut the reed to make slippers, bags and wall-coverings. Osier stakes were used to weave baskets and cattle grazed the meadows of the marshland. Fishermen and crayfish trappers lived from the natural diversity of the Hanság.
Water regulation and peat cutting transformed the Hanság almost completely into a cultivated landscape. Only in Király Lake or in the pools of the Tóköz you can still find Weather Loach, European Mudminnows and Tenches. In the reed, several kinds if herons and songbirds breed. Montagu’s Harriers, Curlews and Short-eared Owls nest in the open wet meadows..
The meadows of the Hanság are the last remaining retreat for the highly endangered Great Bustard and the Meadow Viper (Vipera ursinii). The woodland harbours Black Storks, Hobbies, White-tailed Eagles and Tawny Owls. Fen meadows can be beautifully covered with Bog Orchids, Fringed Pinks and Marsh Gentian.
Near Bösárkány, there is an effort to restore biotopes. A colony of cormorants as well as diverse ducks, terns and other species of birds live in these wet areas.
The southern part of the Hanság is close to the border crossing in Pamhagen. You can also access the area via Kapuvár. The northern Hanság can be reached via the border crossing near Andau.
We especially recommend walks to the small lakes that were formed by peat cutting. To find your way in the Hanság you will need a good trail map.
VISITORS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO LEAVE THE DESIGNATED PATHWAYS IN THE FERTÖ-HANSÁG NATIONAL PARK:
Do not enter meadows, forests or reed beds. Camping and caravan parking is only allowed on designated campgrounds. Tips for observation, trail maps and information material are available at the National Park Information Centre in Illmitz or at the visitor centre in Fertöújlak.
Fertö-Hanság Nemzeti Park
H - 9436 Fertöújlak
Tel. 0036-99-537-520, Fax -521