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Lake Balaton

Lake Balaton

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Lake Balaton is a freshwater
Freshwater
Fresh water is naturally occurring water on the Earth's surface in ice sheets, ice caps, glaciers, bogs, ponds, lakes, rivers and streams, and underground as groundwater in aquifers and underground streams. Fresh water is generally characterized by having low concentrations of dissolved salts and...

 lake in the Transdanubia
Transdanubia
Transdanubia is a traditional region of Hungary.-Traditional interpretation:The borders of Transdanubia are the Danube river , the Drava and Mura rivers and the foothills of the Alps roughly along the border between Hungary and Austria .Transdanubia comprises the counties of Győr-Moson-Sopron,...

n region of Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

. It is the largest lake in Central Europe
Central Europe
Central Europe or alternatively Middle Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe...

, and one of its foremost tourist destinations. As Hungary is landlocked (its coastline was severed after World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

), Lake Balaton is often affectionately called the "Hungarian Sea". The Zala River
Zala River
The Zala is a river in south-western Hungary. Its source is in the hills on the borders with Austria and Slovenia. Its length is 139 km and drains water from 2,622 square km...

 provides the largest inflow of water to the lake, and the canalized Sió
Sió
Sió is an artificial channel in central Hungary. It is the outlet of Lake Balaton. It flows out of the lake in the city Siófok. It flows along the city Szekszárd, and a few km east of this city it flows into the river Danube. The river Sió flows through the Hungarian counties Somogy, Fejér and Tolna....

 is the only outflow.

The mountainous region of the northern shore is known both for its historic character and as a major wine region, while the flat southern shore is known for its resort town
Resort town
A resort town, sometimes called a resort city or resort destination, is a town or area where tourism or vacationing is a primary component of the local culture and economy...

s. Balatonfüred
Balatonfüred
Balatonfüred is a popular resort town in Veszprém county, in Hungary, with a population of thirteen thousand, situated on the north shore of the Lake Balaton. It is considered to be the capital of the Northern lake shore and has significant yachting life. It is also a favorite location for coarse...

 and Hévíz
Hévíz
Hévíz is a town in Zala county, Hungary.- External links :* * * *...

 developed early as resorts for the wealthy, but it wasn't until the late 19th century when landowners, with their vines
Vitis
Vitis is a genus of about 60 species of vining plants in the flowering plant family Vitaceae. The genus is made up of species predominantly from the Northern hemisphere. It is economically important as the source of grapes, both for direct consumption of the fruit and for fermentation to produce...

 destroyed by lice, began building summer homes to rent out to the burgeoning middle classes.

Name


In Hungarian
Hungarian language
Hungarian is a Uralic language, part of the Ugric group. With some 14 million speakers, it is one of the most widely spoken non-Indo-European languages in Europe....

, the lake is known as . This name derives from the Slavic blato meaning 'mud' or 'swamp' (from earlier Pan-Slavic boltьno), and has no meaning in Hungarian. Slavic
Slavic peoples
The Slavic people are an Indo-European panethnicity living in Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, North Asia and Central Asia. The term Slavic represents a broad ethno-linguistic group of people, who speak languages belonging to the Slavic language family and share, to varying degrees, certain...

 prince Pribina
Pribina
Pribina was a Slavic prince whose adventurous career, recorded in the Conversion of the Bavarians and the Carantanians , illustrates the political volatility of the Franco–Slavic frontiers of his time...

 began to build in January 846
846
Year 846 was a common year starting on Friday of the Julian calendar.- Europe :* Nominoe occupies Nantes and Rennes, he makes raids in Anjou and threatens Bayeux...

 a large fortress as his seat of power and several churches in the region of Lake Balaton, in a territory of modern Zalavár
Zalavár
Zalavár is a village in Hungary, located in the Zala county. It is located around southwest of the Lake Balaton.-Name:In Hungarian, it is known as Zalavár, in Slovak as Blatnohrad, in Croatian: Blatnograd , in Serbian: Блатноград, and in German as Moosburg. It was also known as Mosapurc and Kolon...

 surrounded by forests and swamps along the river Zala. His extremely well fortified castle and capital of Balaton Principality
Balaton Principality
The Principality of Lower Pannonia was a Slavic principality located in the western part of the Pannonian plain, between the rivers Danube to its east The Principality of Lower Pannonia (also called Pannonia, Lower Pannonia, Pannonian Principality, Transdanubian Principality, Slavic Pannonian...

 that became known as Blatnohrad or Moosburg ("Swamp Fortress") served as a bulwark both against the Bulgarians
Bulgarians
The Bulgarians are a South Slavic nation and ethnic group native to Bulgaria and neighbouring regions. Emigration has resulted in immigrant communities in a number of other countries.-History and ethnogenesis:...

 and the Moravians.

The Romans
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 called the lake Lacus Pelso ("Lake Pelso"). Pelso derives from a local name for the lake, perhaps from the Illyrian language, as the Illyrians
Illyrians
The Illyrians were a group of tribes who inhabited part of the western Balkans in antiquity and the south-eastern coasts of the Italian peninsula...

 once populated the region. Paleolinguists surmise that "Pelso" meant "shallow" in Illyrian; this deduction is based on a surmised Proto-Indo-European
Proto-Indo-European language
The Proto-Indo-European language is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans...

 root *pels-.

The German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 name for the lake is . It is unlikely that the Germans named the lake so for being shallow since the adjective is a Greek loanword that was borrowed via French and entered the general German vocabulary in the 17th century. It is also noteworthy that the average depth of Balaton (3.2m) is not extraordinary for the area (cf. the average depth of the neighbouring Neusiedler See
Neusiedler See
Lake Neusiedl is the second largest steppe lake in Central Europe, straddling the Austrian–Hungarian border. The lake covers 315 km², of which 240 km² is on the Austrian side and 75 km² on the Hungarian side. The lake's drainage basin has an area of about 1,120 km²...

, which is roughly 1m).

Climate



Lake Balaton affects the local area precipitation per annum. The area receives approximately two to three inches (5–7 cm) more precipitation than most of Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

, resulting in more cloudy days and less extreme temperatures. The lake's surface freezes during colder winters. The climate around Lake Balaton has also made the region ideal for viniculture. The lake, acting as a mirror, greatly increases the amount of sunlight that the grapevines of the region receive. The Mediterranean climate, combined with the soil (containing volcanic rock), has made the region notable for its production of wines since the Roman period
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 two thousand years ago.

History


While a few settlements on Lake Balaton, including Balatonfüred
Balatonfüred
Balatonfüred is a popular resort town in Veszprém county, in Hungary, with a population of thirteen thousand, situated on the north shore of the Lake Balaton. It is considered to be the capital of the Northern lake shore and has significant yachting life. It is also a favorite location for coarse...

 and Hévíz
Hévíz
Hévíz is a town in Zala county, Hungary.- External links :* * * *...

, have long been resort centres for the Hungarian aristocracy, it was only in the late 19th century that the Hungarian middle class began to visit the lake. The construction of railways in 1861 and 1909 increased tourism substantially, but the post-war boom of the 1950s was exponentially larger.

Operation Frühlingserwachen
Operation Frühlingserwachen
Operation Frühlingserwachen was the last major German offensive launched during World War II. The offensive was launched in Hungary on the Eastern Front...

 was conducted in the region of Lake Balaton in March 1945, being referred to as "the Lake Balaton Offensive" in many British histories of the Second World War. The battle was a German counterattack by Sepp Dietrich
Sepp Dietrich
Josef "Sepp" Dietrich was a German SS General. He was one of Nazi Germany's most decorated soldiers and commanded formations up to Army level during World War II. Prior to 1929 he was Adolf Hitler's chauffeur and bodyguard but received rapid promotion after his participation in the murder of...

's 6.SS-Panzerarmee between March 6, 1945, and March 16, 1945, and resulted in a Red Army victory. Several Ilyushin Il-2
Ilyushin Il-2
The Ilyushin Il-2 was a ground-attack aircraft in the Second World War, produced by the Soviet Union in very large numbers...

 wrecks have been pulled out of the lake, remnants of the Soviet Air Force
Soviet Air Force
The Soviet Air Force, officially known in Russian as Военно-воздушные силы or Voenno-Vozdushnye Sily and often abbreviated VVS was the official designation of one of the air forces of the Soviet Union. The other was the Soviet Air Defence Forces...

.

During the 1960s and 1970s, Balaton became a major tourist destination for ordinary working Hungarians and especially for subsidised holiday excursions for union members. It also attracted many East Germans and other residents of the Eastern Bloc
Eastern bloc
The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Eastern and Central Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact...

. West Germans
West Germany
West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....

 could also visit, making Balaton a common meeting place for families and friends separated by the Berlin Wall
Berlin Wall
The Berlin Wall was a barrier constructed by the German Democratic Republic starting on 13 August 1961, that completely cut off West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and from East Berlin...

 until 1989. The collapse of Communism after 1991 and the dismantling of the unions saw the gradual but steady reduction in numbers of lower-paid Hungarians.

Tourist information


The major resorts around the lake are Siófok
Siófok
Siófok is a city in Hungary on the southern bank of Lake Balaton in Somogy County. The city is one of Hungary's most popular holiday destinations, famous for its beaches and nightlife. Siófok is one of the richest municipalities of Hungary due to tourism...

, Keszthely
Keszthely
Keszthely is a Hungarian city of 21,100 inhabitants located on the western shore of Lake Balaton. It's the second largest city by the lake after Siófok....

, and Balatonfüred
Balatonfüred
Balatonfüred is a popular resort town in Veszprém county, in Hungary, with a population of thirteen thousand, situated on the north shore of the Lake Balaton. It is considered to be the capital of the Northern lake shore and has significant yachting life. It is also a favorite location for coarse...

. Siófok is known often as the "Party Capital of Hungary", which attracts many young partygoers in summer due to its numerous large clubs. Zamárdi
Zamárdi
-Twin towns — Sister cities:Zamárdi is twinned with:- External links :*...

, a resort town on the southern shore, is the site of Balaton Sound
Balaton Sound
Heineken Balaton Sound is one of Europe's largest open air electronic music festivals. Held annually since 2007 on the southern bank of the Lake Balaton, Hungary, it features live acts and DJ's from all around the world, from established artists to new names...

, a major electronic music
Electronic music
Electronic music is music that employs electronic musical instruments and electronic music technology in its production. In general a distinction can be made between sound produced using electromechanical means and that produced using electronic technology. Examples of electromechanical sound...

 festival since 2007. Keszthely is the site of the famous Festetics Palace
Festetics Palace
The Festetics Palace is a Baroque palace located in the town of Keszthely, Zala county, Hungary. Its construction, started by Kristóf Festetics in 1745, lasted more than a century, during which the palace, built at first on the foundations of a ruined castle, was tripled in size, in two subsequent...

 and Balatonfüred is a historical bathing town home to the annual Anna Ball.

The high tourist season extends from June until the end of August. The average water temperature during the summer is 25°C, which makes bathing and swimming pleasant. Most of the beaches consist of either grass, rocks, or the silty sand that also makes up most of the bottom of the lake. Many resorts have artificial sandy beaches and all beaches have step access to the water. Other tourist attractions include sailing, fishing, and other water sports, as well as visiting the countryside and hills, wineries on the north coast, and nightlife on the south shore. The Tihany
Tihany
Tihany is a village on the northern shore of Lake Balaton on the Tihany Peninsula . The whole peninsula is a historical district....

 Peninsula is a historical district. Badacsony
Badacsony
Badacsony is the name of a region on the north shore of Lake Balaton in western Hungary, and a town in that region. The entire area is recognized for its wine, with vineyards dating back to Roman times....

 is a famous volcanic mountain and wine-growing region as well as a lakeside resort. The lake is almost completely surrounded by separated bike lanes to facilitate bicycle tourism.

Although the peak season at the lake is the summer, Balaton is also frequented during the winter, when visitors go ice-fishing or even skate, sledge, or ice-sail on the lake if it freezes over.

Balaton was served by Sármellék International Airport
Sármellék International Airport
Sármellék International Airport , also known as FlyBalaton Airport, is an international airport in Hungary located west of Lake Balaton south-southwest of the village of Sármellék, Zala County and Keszthely...

 (Fly Balaton) until 2009.

Chief resorts include: Badacsony
Badacsony
Badacsony is the name of a region on the north shore of Lake Balaton in western Hungary, and a town in that region. The entire area is recognized for its wine, with vineyards dating back to Roman times....

 - Balatonalmádi
Balatonalmádi
Balatonalmádi, a town of 8,500 inhabitants, is a popular resort town near the northeast corner of Lake Balaton, in Hungary.- History :The town developed from four, previously separated villages, which were united by combining Balatonalmádi and Káptalanfüred in 1952, and Balatonalmádi and...

 - Balatonboglár
Balatonboglár
Balatonboglár, in Hungary, is a resort town situated on the south shore of Lake Balaton. It is the professional centre of the Balatonboglár Wine Region, and is often called the "town of grapes and wine."-History:...

 - Balatonfüred
Balatonfüred
Balatonfüred is a popular resort town in Veszprém county, in Hungary, with a population of thirteen thousand, situated on the north shore of the Lake Balaton. It is considered to be the capital of the Northern lake shore and has significant yachting life. It is also a favorite location for coarse...

 - Balatonlelle
Balatonlelle
Balatonlelle is a popular tourist town located on the southern shore of Lake Balaton, about 35 km west of Siófok. Attractions include a beach over 3 km long, an aqua-park, go-cart course, and annual wine festival. It is easily reached from Budapest by direct train . It is a family...

 - Fonyód
Fonyód
Fonyód is a town and holiday resort on the south shore of Lake Balaton, in north-west Somogy, western Hungary, with over 5000 residents.- History :...

 - Keszthely
Keszthely
Keszthely is a Hungarian city of 21,100 inhabitants located on the western shore of Lake Balaton. It's the second largest city by the lake after Siófok....

 - Siófok
Siófok
Siófok is a city in Hungary on the southern bank of Lake Balaton in Somogy County. The city is one of Hungary's most popular holiday destinations, famous for its beaches and nightlife. Siófok is one of the richest municipalities of Hungary due to tourism...

 - Tihany
Tihany
Tihany is a village on the northern shore of Lake Balaton on the Tihany Peninsula . The whole peninsula is a historical district....

 - Vonyarcvashegy
Vonyarcvashegy
Vonyarcvashegy is a town and tourist resort on the north shore of Lake Balaton, in western Hungary. The settlement was created when the former Vonyarc and Vashegy settlements were united in 1850. At that time, the inhabitants dealt primarily with viticulture and fishing...


Towns and villages



North shore


From east to west:

Balatonfőkajár
Balatonfokajár
- External links :*...

 - Balatonakarattya - Balatonkenese
Balatonkenese
Balatonkenese is a little town in Veszprém county, Hungary, by the Lake Balaton.- External links :*...

 - Balatonfűzfő
Balatonfuzfo
- History :The earliest settlements in the area were founded by the Celts, Avars and Romans. Material findings dating from the Middle Ages have been unearthed, which evidence the existence of settlements subsequently destroyedin the 17th century. The growth of the settlement accelerated in 1908...

 - Balatonalmádi
Balatonalmádi
Balatonalmádi, a town of 8,500 inhabitants, is a popular resort town near the northeast corner of Lake Balaton, in Hungary.- History :The town developed from four, previously separated villages, which were united by combining Balatonalmádi and Káptalanfüred in 1952, and Balatonalmádi and...

 - Alsóörs
Alsóörs
-External links:* *...

 - Paloznak
Paloznak
Paloznak is a village in the region of Balatonfüred, Veszprém county, Hungary. It was first mentioned in the Veszprém Valley Monastery's Deed of Gift around 970 a. D. According to archaeological findings the place was inhabited since 5000 years. According to the 2001 census, population is about...

 - Csopak
Csopak
Csopak is a village in Veszprém county, Hungary at Lake Balaton. It is famous for its wine, usually and traditionally made of olaszrizling....

 - Balatonarács - Balatonfüred
Balatonfüred
Balatonfüred is a popular resort town in Veszprém county, in Hungary, with a population of thirteen thousand, situated on the north shore of the Lake Balaton. It is considered to be the capital of the Northern lake shore and has significant yachting life. It is also a favorite location for coarse...

 - Tihany
Tihany
Tihany is a village on the northern shore of Lake Balaton on the Tihany Peninsula . The whole peninsula is a historical district....

 - Aszófő
Aszófo
-External links:*...

 - Örvényes
Örvényes
- External links :*...

 - Balatonudvari
Balatonudvari
- Location :Balatonudvari is situated by the shore of Lake Balaton, between Örvényes and Balatonakali, to the west of the Tihany Peninsula.- History :...

 - Fövenyes - Balatonakali
Balatonakali
- External links :*...

 - Zánka
Zánka
Zánka is a village in Veszprém county, Hungary.-Etymology:Zan is an ancient Hungarian personal name, and the original name of the settlement. The diminutive suffix -ka was added later.- History :...

 - Balatonszepezd
Balatonszepezd
Balatonszepezd is a village in Veszprém county, Hungary, on the northern shore of the Balaton.-History:Balatonszepezd was first settled in the 13th century as a fishing village. It was first the domain of royal stewards, then of local nobles, and later on the bishop of Veszprém and the Benedictine...

 - Szepezdfürdő - Révfülöp
Révfülöp
Révfülöp is a town in Veszprém county, Hungary, located on the northern shore of the Balaton. Révfülöp is well-known as the starting point for an annual long-distance swimming race across the Balaton to Balatonboglár.-Etymology:...

 - Pálköve - Ábrahámhegy
Ábrahámhegy
-External links:*...

 - Balatonrendes
Balatonrendes
Balatonrendes is a village in Veszprém county, Hungary. It is one of the least populated locales on the northern shore of Lake Balaton, having lost much of its population over the course of the 20th century due to urbanization. One of the last permanent sources of work in the village, a local...

 - Badacsonytomaj
Badacsonytomaj
Badacsonytomaj, with 2,300 inhabitants, is located at the eastern foot of the vulcanic Badacsony hill along the Lake Balaton in Hungary.The greatest sight in the village is that of the hill itself, with its spectacular 60-70m high basalt organs...

 - Badacsony
Badacsony
Badacsony is the name of a region on the north shore of Lake Balaton in western Hungary, and a town in that region. The entire area is recognized for its wine, with vineyards dating back to Roman times....

 - Badacsonytördemic
Badacsonytördemic
- External links :*...

 - Szigliget
Szigliget
-Settings:The village can be found on the northern bank of the lake Balaton in the vicinity of Badacsony and Keszthely. The village was built between and on volcanic hills. It can be reached by car on the 71 highway or by train on the Székesfehérvár–Tapolca-railway stopping at...

 - Balatonederics
Balatonederics
- External links :* - www.élet-mód.hu* * - Pictures of Balatonederics...

 - Balatongyörök
Balatongyörök
Balatongyörök is a village in Zala county, Hungary. Balatongyörök is located on the north shore of Lake Balaton, not far from Keszthely.-External links:*...

 - Vonyarcvashegy
Vonyarcvashegy
Vonyarcvashegy is a town and tourist resort on the north shore of Lake Balaton, in western Hungary. The settlement was created when the former Vonyarc and Vashegy settlements were united in 1850. At that time, the inhabitants dealt primarily with viticulture and fishing...

 - Gyenesdiás
Gyenesdiás
Gyenesdiás is a village in Zala county, Hungary. Gyenesdiás is located on the north shore of Lake Balaton, next to the town of Keszthely.-External links:**...

 - Keszthely
Keszthely
Keszthely is a Hungarian city of 21,100 inhabitants located on the western shore of Lake Balaton. It's the second largest city by the lake after Siófok....


South shore


From east to west:

Balatonakarattya - Balatonaliga - Balatonvilágos
Balatonvilágos
- External links :*...

 - Sóstó
Sosto
Sosto is a mountain in the Lepontine Alps, located in the canton of Ticino, Switzerland.-External links:*...

 - Szabadifürdő - Siófok
Siófok
Siófok is a city in Hungary on the southern bank of Lake Balaton in Somogy County. The city is one of Hungary's most popular holiday destinations, famous for its beaches and nightlife. Siófok is one of the richest municipalities of Hungary due to tourism...

 - Széplak - Zamárdi
Zamárdi
-Twin towns — Sister cities:Zamárdi is twinned with:- External links :*...

 - Szántód
Szántód
Szántód is a village in Somogy county, Hungary.- External links :*...

 - Balatonföldvár
Balatonföldvár
Balatonföldvár is a small town in Somogy county, Hungary. It is situated on the south side of Lake Balaton, approximately 120 km southwest from Budapest...

 - Balatonszárszó
Balatonszárszó
Balatonszárszó is a village in Somogy county, Hungary.- External links :* *...

 - Balatonszemes
Balatonszemes
- External links :*...

 - Balatonlelle
Balatonlelle
Balatonlelle is a popular tourist town located on the southern shore of Lake Balaton, about 35 km west of Siófok. Attractions include a beach over 3 km long, an aqua-park, go-cart course, and annual wine festival. It is easily reached from Budapest by direct train . It is a family...

 - Balatonboglár
Balatonboglár
Balatonboglár, in Hungary, is a resort town situated on the south shore of Lake Balaton. It is the professional centre of the Balatonboglár Wine Region, and is often called the "town of grapes and wine."-History:...

 - Fonyód
Fonyód
Fonyód is a town and holiday resort on the south shore of Lake Balaton, in north-west Somogy, western Hungary, with over 5000 residents.- History :...

 - Bélatelep - Balatonfenyves
Balatonfenyves
- External links :* The village has the longest beach on lake Balaton with its about . No entrance fee needed....

 - Balatonmáriafürdő
Balatonmáriafürdo
- External links :*...

 - Balatonkeresztúr
Balatonkeresztúr
Balatonkeresztúr is a village in Somogy county, Hungary.- External links :*...

 - Balatonberény
Balatonberény
Balatonberény is a village in Somogy county, Hungary, with a popular nudist beach. The country village had a population of 1,200 in 2011.-General history:A late Bronze Age cemetery has been found near the town....

 - Fenékpuszta

See also

  • Geography of Hungary
    Geography of Hungary
    With a land area of 93,030 square kilometers, Hungary is a country in Central Europe. It measures about 250 kilometers from north to south and 524 kilometers from east to west...

  • Balaton Uplands National Park
    Balaton Uplands National Park
    In 1997 a protected ecological system embracing the adjoining area of the Balaton Uplands was established with the connection of the already protected areas which had been separate for a long time...

  • Balaton Principality
    Balaton Principality
    The Principality of Lower Pannonia was a Slavic principality located in the western part of the Pannonian plain, between the rivers Danube to its east The Principality of Lower Pannonia (also called Pannonia, Lower Pannonia, Pannonian Principality, Transdanubian Principality, Slavic Pannonian...


External links





Festivals: