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The plateau of Jósvafő

Square · Aggteleki-karszt · 285 m · open today
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  • The corral for the stud with Nagy-oldal in the background
    The corral for the stud with Nagy-oldal in the background
    Photo: Áron Dömsödi, Magyar Természetjáró Szövetség
A plateau above Jósvafő, still at the bottom surrounding hills hides a vast majestic clearing. With the grazing hucul stud it may be the most beautiful meadow of the country.

The plateau

Looking around it may be hard to believe that you are on a plateau. The meadow is surrounded by wooded hills, so practically it is a basin, although the hike uphill from Jósvafő clearly demonstrates its elevated location. The contiguous forest cover on the slopes around and the treeless grassy meadow with dozens of dolines create an unmatched landscape. Together with the grazing hucul stud it truly presents a picturesque view

The small basin, actually, is a polje, that is the largest formation of karst depressions, which was probably formed by tectonic subsidence. Creeks running over previous caprock etched until limestone rock mass and formed sinkholes by solution. They later got clogged by sediment so creeks formed new ones finally making a series of them.

The most considerable hill called Nagy-oldal has the highest peak of Aggteleki-karszt (Fertős-tető, 604 m) and is easy to identify by the white karren field on the slope with scarce karst shrubland. With the top soil eroded carbonic acid etched narrow furrows on the limestone surface. This karren field is an inappropriate habitat for larger woody plants.

The hucul stud

The free range hucul stud grazing in the meadow is a jewel of the national park. The thick-set and tough horses are nicknamed as “the pony of the Carpathians” as due to their size and strength they were especially suitable for logging over hilly terrains. The name “hucul” derives from a Subcarpathian ethnic group. There used to be a large livestock of hucul horses in Hungary before the world wars, mostly for military use, however, the wars devastated most of it. In the 1970s Dr, Csaba Anghy, Director of Budapest Zoo, collected 10 of pure blood hucul horses and this was the beginning of the stud in the national park of Aggtelek in 1986. Breeding started with purchases from abroad and today the stud has around 200 horses. Horse riding or cart ride are available services at Kúria Hucul Lovasbázis in Jósvafő.

Opening hours

open today
Open all year round.

Price:

Free of charge
Profile picture of Áron Dömsödi
Author
Áron Dömsödi
Update: April 08, 2020

Public transport

  • Get off at bus stop “Jósvafő, autóbusz-váróterem”.

Getting there

From the center of Jósvafő there are three options to reach the plateau:

  • Follow the Red (P) markers (Total distance: 1.2 km, elevation gain: 63 m),
  • or the Blue (K) markers until Kossuth-barlang and then change to the Yellow (S) Trail (Total distance: 1.2 km, elevation gain: 69 m),
  • or the Blue (K) markers along the beautiful gorge of Tohonya Creek (Total distance: 1.7 km, elevation gain: 78 m).

Parking

  • Free parking in the center of Jósvafő, in front of the grocery store, or at the junction of Rákóczi Ferenc Street and Táncsics Street.

Coordinates

DD
48.494028, 20.547035
DMS
48°29'38.5"N 20°32'49.3"E
UTM
34U 466534 5371310
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