Aggtelek National Park (Aggteleki Nemzeti Park)

Aggtelek National Park



Location: near Sendra, Aggtelek Karst region Map

Area: 198.92 sq km

Tel. +36 48/503-000



Description of Aggtelek National Park

Aggtelek National Park is located near Sendra, Aggtelek Karst region in Northern Hungary. It covers an area of 198.92 km2 above ground. In 1995 it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list. Aggtelek National Park is particularly notable for underground caves and its biosphere. The longest cave is Baradla- Domica Cave that is 26 km long. About 8 km of the system extends into neighboring Slovakia. Area of Aggtelek National Park was inhabited by humans at least 7000 years ago. Today concerts are held here in a massive underground cavern. Its tallest stalagmite is Czillagvizsgalo (Hungarian for "Stargazer") reaches a height of 62 feet. Peace Cave was used since the early 20th century as a sanatorium for people suffering from asthma. A network of well marked trails allows tourists to explore the rich biosphere above ground. The longest trail Tohonya- Kuriszlán is 10 km long, Baradla 7.5 km, Szadvar 4.5 km "In Harmony with Nature" 4 km and Fürkész is only 1.5 km long. For more information you can visit Kúria Study Centre for more information on Aggtelek National Park.


Baradla Cave

1, 2, 4, 5, 7 hour cave tours

Open: April- Sept 9am- 7pm

Oct- Mar 9am- 4pm


Rákóczi Cave

Open Apr- Sept 9am- 7pm

Oct- Mar 9am- 4pm

Vass Imre Cave

Open: Apr- Sept 9am- 7pm

Oct- Mar 9am- 4pm

Beke Cave, Kossuth Cave, Meteor Cave

Open: by appointments




Its location
The national park is located on an area of ​​20,170 hectares in the Aggtelek karst, in the Hungarian part of the Gömör-Tornai karst. The area is basically located at a low mountain-hill level, with only a few points reaching the mid-mountain height.

Its landscape units
The main area of ​​the park is the Aggtelek Mountains, in addition to the Putnoki Hills in the southwest, the Alsó Hill in the northeast, and the Szalonnai Mountains, the Bódva Valley and the Rudabánya Mountains in the southeast.

Earth history and rocks
The geological development history of the area can be traced back to the end of the ancient geological period (Paleozoic), the late Permian (about 250 million years ago), when the long-existing land began to sink due to the opening of the Vardar Ocean. In the warm, dry climate, salts (gypsum, anhydrite) were released from the evaporating water of the lagoons, and in wetter periods, clay washed away from the land was deposited.

The area was largely inhabited during the Middle Ages (Mesozoic) Triassic, approx. It is built up of rocks formed 240-210 million years ago. At first, the rubble-sedimentary rocks (sandstone, shale) were deposited, later, with the deepening of the sea, more and more calcareous materials (marl, limestone, limestone) were deposited. Karst phenomena developed after the limestone surfaced and the destruction of young sediments covering it. Most of the Aggtelek karst region is a typical limestone plateau: in this relatively small area we can observe almost all forms of moderate belt karst development from the Pleistocene to the present day.

Lime mud settled not far from the shores of the marginal seas of the Tethys Ocean, which separated Eurasia and Africa. In some parts (such as Red Lake), the skeletons of the former reef-forming organisms are beautifully recognizable, while in other parts, the former bottom-dwelling and mud-eating animals have been turned through beyond recognition. The bituminous limestones and dolomites of the Gutenstein Formation are darker in color than the thick-bedded, excellently karsticized Steinal limestone, and the Wetterstein limestone, which is more than a kilometer thick.

In Crete (145-65 million years ago), strong crustal movements shattered, crumpled, and pushed the limestone mass into other rocks in blankets and scales. At the end of the period, the area became dry again; the present mountain range probably began to become karstic at this time. Later, in the Neogene, the lower spatial parts were again flooded by the sea several times, and on the present plateaus volcanic tuff fell several times (in the Miocene) and a large river spread its gravelly alluvium on it.

The remnants of volcanic tuff are the Mediterranean-style terra rossa (red clay) that has survived mostly as the filling of ancient ruins. Various surface and subsurface karst forms developed in the prominent limestone blocks. The products of the Pleistocene and the present are even debris cones, slope debris, stream sediments, as well as clay, gravel and tuff deposited in caves, an excellent spring limestone at the foot of the mountains. Characteristic surface shapes, rocky valleys and rows of ridges also developed in the Quaternary.

The properties of the rocks of the karst region make it difficult to delimit the individual river basin districts. The water flow of each karst spring also varies greatly depending on the amount of precipitation. On the limestone soil, mostly standing waters with a small area and depth were formed, which can be basically divided into two groups: the so-called stagnant water formed in the holes. multiple lakes (e.g., Red Lake) or stagnant waters formed in clogged sinks (e.g., Lake Aggtelek). Periodic lakes can also form in rainy weather. There are also artificial lakes in the national park, such as the popular Lake Tengerszem or the fishpond in the Ménes Valley and the Rakaca Reservoir.

There are ninety and large karst springs in the Aggtelek karst. The highest yielding watercourse in the national park is the Jósva stream near Jósvafő, which is fed by the largest karst springs (Jósva, Kis- and Nagy-Tohonya and Kajta springs), and flows into the Ménes- patak is. Jósva eventually opens into Bódva. The Telekes stream, which also flows into Bódva, also has a significant catchment area.



In 1940 and 1951, the surface of the Baradla Cave, in 1953 the Peace Cave, in 1956 the Freedom Cave, and in 1958 the Vass Imre Cave were declared a nature reserve. In 1962, all caves in the karst area were protected as a result of Legislative Decree No. 18 of 1961 on nature conservation.

In 1978, the President of the National Office for Environment and Nature Protection 8/1978. With the resolution No. OKTH, it established the Aggtelek Landscape Protection Area, which operated within the organization of the Bükk National Park. In 1979, UNESCO declared the landscape protection area a biosphere reserve in the HAC (Human and Biosphere) program, and designated two core areas in the Haragistya and Nagyoldal areas. The core area of ​​the biosphere reserve is about 2.35 km². In 1983, some areas of Estramos Hill were also attached to the landscape protection area.

The Aggtelek National Park was established on January 1, 1985 on an area of ​​19708 hectares, which was approved by the President of OKTH on 7/1984. (XII. 25.) on the site of the Aggtelek Landscape Protection Area. It was first based in the Tourist Hostel building in the reception area of ​​the Baradla Cave, then it was moved to Jósvafő. Later, the Aggtelek National Park was granted the first-degree nature protection authority, which is exercised in the assigned area of ​​competence - the area bounded by the Sajó, the Hernád and the state border. The park was expanded in 2001 to declare the whole of Mount Estramos protected, reaching an area of ​​20,170 hectares.

Natural values
The caves
The Gömör – Tornai karst features the moderate belt mid-mountain karst phenomena in a unique density and variety all over the Earth: about 1,200 caves are known in the area, 273 of them open in Hungary, within the borders of the Aggtelek National Park, 25 of which are highly protected. The caves are also extremely diverse: there are active creek, vertical and fissure mine caves and tufts. About two-thirds of the internationally accounted basic types of carbonate deposition can be observed in some caves: hanging and standing stalactites, stalactite columns, stalactite flags, helicites, limestone tuff, aragonite bushes, pea stones.

The caves of the Aggtelek Karst and the Slovak Karst were declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee at its meeting in Berlin on 6 December 1995, at the same time as the Carslbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico (USA). Previously, the cave was only listed twice as a natural value on the World Heritage List: first the longest cave in the world, the 560 km Mammoth Cave (USA, Kentucky), and then the world's largest underground riverbed, the Skocjan Cave in Slovenia, was declared a World Heritage Site. part of.

The World Heritage Convention states that only the most outstanding, most intact natural values ​​that can be preserved can apply for this title. The main professional arguments of the application material for the Aggtelek and Slovak Karst Caves, jointly prepared by Hungary and Slovakia and submitted to the World Heritage Committee, were the extreme diversity, complexity and relative integrity of the underground world.

The two caves of the National Park are also world records: the 25-kilometer Baradla-Domica cave system, which extends to Slovakia and is mostly located in Hungary, is the longest active stream cave in the temperate zone, and the Szilice-ice is .

The Meteor Cave is home to one of the largest underground halls in Hungary, the Titans Hall, which is named after the huge stalactites in the middle.

Surface karst phenomena
The most common karst form of the plateaus, the multi-layered, funnel-like limestone plate - is called dolina in Slovak, but in Hungarian the word dolina refers to another surface karst form (blind valley). We can also find various arm fields - also known as devil's plows - (root arm, lattice arm, slope arm, rock arm), especially on the side of the Tó Hill in Aggtelek. The sinkholes formed on the karst plateaus, in the ridges and dolins ensure the replenishment of the caves.


The Aggtelek Karst is an independent flora tour on the border of the Pannonian and Carpathian flora regions. In a relatively small area, the flora is extremely diverse and rich in species. This is due to the varied terrain: the karst plateaus, the southern slopes, the caves, the deep gorge valleys and the multi-hole holes with an extreme microclimate all provide a different kind of living space for creatures with different needs.

In the Aggtelek National Park, a 1,327-hectare forest reserve was established; its core area is 596 hectares. Its most common forest association is hornbeam-sessile oak (Querco petreae-Carpinetum), mid-mountain beeches and gorge forests grow in the deeper gorges, and linden-ash rocky steppe forests grow on the plateaus. In the southern, slightly warmer regions, there are fluffy oak bush forests alternating with rocky grasslands and sloping steppe patches.

Of the herbaceous species, the highly protected, endemic gymnastic blood is one of the park’s most feared treasures. Austrian dragonflies, which are also highly protected, are also a rarity. Common plants in karst fields are the common anemone, early white carnation, and cockscomb.

In the stream valleys, relatively large marsh meadows, contiguous highlands and high pathos, and alder groves grow on the shores. Valuable, rare plants live on woolly marsh patches formed on layer sources that are constantly leaking at the edges of the valley bottoms.

The diversity of habitats and plants brought with it the diversity of animal species living here. There are 413 protected and highly protected animal species in the ANP area. The large game population of the forests is rich, the main representatives are red deer, deer and wild boar. It is gratifying that large carnivores such as the wolf, [1], or lynx have also recently re-established in the Northern Central Mountains. Among the small mammals, it is important to mention the ground squirrel population, as it serves as a prey for birds of prey in the area - mouse hawks and rare imperial eagles. The only species of grouse nesting in Hungary, the emperor, breeds in the forests of the national park, but we can also find bullfinches, woodpeckers and yellow-headed queens - the latter mainly in the planted pine forests. A relatively large number of kingfishers live along the waters, but we can only rarely see aquatic thrushes. The typical birds of the open areas are the gypsy pike and the prickly pear.

The ANP is also home to many reptile species: forest, aquatic, checkered, and copper gliders also occur here. Of the lizards, the Pannonian lizard is the most valuable, and of the amphibians, the spotted salamander in the coat of arms of the park should be highlighted. The fish stock of karst waters is also very rich: 42 species have been counted so far, 13 of which are protected. For example, the stone strip and the bottom-passing sparrow live near the spring, and the characteristic inhabitants of the lower sections are the looking-up sparrow and the Petényi barbel, or the Tisza ingola, which also parasitizes the former.

The insect world is also very diverse. The number of butterflies alone exceeds two thousand! The largest domestic herd of the small Apollo butterfly lives in the national park, but protected swallowtail and swordfish are common. Among the straight-winged ones, the Transylvanian short-winged grasshopper or the large predatory saw-footed grasshopper should also be mentioned. Only here in Hungary does the green heron occur. The warm demanding praying locust can also be found on the south-facing slopes.

The caves have separate, unique wildlife. There are more than five hundred cave-dwelling and cave-loving species in the Aggtelek karst region, many of which are rare (for example, the Hungarian blind foxtail, the Agteltelek blind fleas, the grain-shaped tern and the earthworm species Allolobophora mozsariorum, which has so far only been found in meg). Of the 28 bat species living in Europe, 21 occur in caves in the national park.

The only state-owned huculmen of Hungary with more than 120 horses can be seen in the park.

Cultural values
The area of ​​the Aggtelek National Park is rich not only in natural, but also in cultural and historical curiosities. The prehistoric site of Rudabánya is also of outstanding importance in the world. The anthropoids found here (Rudapithecus hungaricus) lived in this area 11.5-10 million years ago.

Representatives of Homo sapiens have been present in the area since prehistoric times. Farming began in the Neolithic era. Tools referring to the culture of Bükk, the remains of pottery with line decoration were found in large numbers. From the Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age, many gold objects, bracelets, rings, and pieces of black pottery have survived.


The surrounding settlements are of medieval origin. We can find beautiful memories of the reconstruction after the Tartar invasion in the karst region. On the outskirts of Martonyi, in the woods, is the Pauline monastery, founded in 1347, the restoration of which is still underway. The bacon can be seen in the Árpádian round church of 12th century origin, later expanded with a semicircular apse, the murals of which were made in 1426 by the master András of Spiš. The twin-sanctuary church in Tornaszentandrás is unique in the history of Hungarian architecture, and similar solutions can only be found in the vicinity of Merano, Italy. Rakacaszend, Zubogy and Ragály boast a Romanesque church.

Szádvár, one of the largest castles in Hungary, built in the 1250s, is located in the territory of the national park. Béla was raised to defend the tournament estate. The older past is evoked by the remains of earth castles (such as Mohosvár in Kelemér), while the Baroque-style castle of Tornanádaska, the counts of Gyulay and then the Hadik family are newer. One of the monuments of modern history is not far from Szádvár: the Polish village of Derenk was liquidated in 1943 to create a hunting ground where the remains of houses, a cemetery and the ruins of a school still stand.

It is worth mentioning the diverse offer of folk architecture, which presented the settlements of the area with the folk motifs, decorated porches and facades typical of the Palóc buildings.

Environmental education
The management of the Aggtelek National Park attaches great importance to the environmentally conscious education and dissemination of knowledge among young people. To this end, the educational center opened its doors in Jósvafő in 2004, which organizes lectures, classroom and field exercises, tours and a forest school. On the tours we can get acquainted with the villages, surface, flora and fauna of the park.

The park awaits the visitor with performances and hiking programs on prominent conservation days, such as World Water Day, Earth Day or Bird and Tree Day. Under the auspices of the National Park, the Jósvafő handicraft camp, the nature knowledge camp and the bird migration research camp are regularly organized, where those interested can immerse themselves more deeply in the wonders of nature.

The ANP takes care of informing and training not only the youth, but also the teachers. It also provides space for scientific research.

Educational trails
ANP's seven study trails:
Baradla educational trail (1983),
Tohonya-Kuriszlán Educational Trail (1995),
Lower Hill Zsombolyos Educational Trail (2000),
Szádvár educational trail,
Badger educational trail,
Scouting educational trail,
Bódva Valley educational trail (2005, renovated: 2011).
Along these, several information boards and showrooms have been set up.