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Tokaj, the capital of its historic wine region (Tokaj)

Among the best-known Hungarian towns after Budapest, Tokaj is the capital of its historic wine region. Few places in the world can boast, as Tokaj can, that thanks to its wine its name is mentioned in the National Anthem. In 2002 it was listed a World Heritage Site along with the Tokaj-Hegyalja Wine Region.

The town's name is thought to have originated from the Slavic 'stokai'

(confluence); the town does indeed lie at the confluence of the rivers Tisza and Bodrog. Historian writer Anonymous recorded that Chieftan Árpád granted the land to his chieftain Tarcal.

From Sigismund to Matthias, most of the Hungarian kings visited the town. Moreover, the Turkish, the Hajduk foot soldiers of Bocskai's army, Bethlen's troops, Rákóczi's Kuruc soldiers, and the German and other nationality mercenaries of Basta and Caprara were all here at one time or another. After the Szatmár Treaty the settlement was passed to the Treasury as a confiscated Rákóczi Estate, and remained so until 1860 when the village redeemed itself.

From the late 19th century, Tokaj became one of the centres of viticulture in Hegyalja. Today the settlement has preserved its small town atmosphere and it is an attractive tourist destination.

Its natural setting is stunning and its architecture reflects centuries of flourishing trade and loving care. A walk in Tokaj could well start with the wine cellars, continuing on to the centre which is full of architectural heritage buildings. The townscape is dominated by 18th- and 19th-century town houses and churches.

The public beach on the Tisza shore and the landing stages serve fans of water sports, while the protected natural assets of Kopasz Hill (Great Bald Hill), which stands above the town, offer plenty to see during outings here.

The town offers numerous cultural and leisure-time events from spring through to autumn, such as the Wine Festival (borfesztivál) at the turn of May and June, and the autumn Harvest Week (szüreti hét) in late-September, early October. In July the campsite over on the other side of the River Tisza is the venue for the Hegyalja Festival, one of the most highly-ranked pop events for the young. At the same time, Tokaj is also home to the Writers' Camp (Írótábor).

The confluence of the rivers Tisza and Bodrog is at Tokaj and the bridge here across the River Tisza is an important crossing toward Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg County.

 

SIGHTS

Tokaj MuseumTokaj Museum

The comprehensive collections on the history of viniculture and local history are set in a special display area. The material on ecclesiastical history, and the art section are however also significant.

There are three permanent exhibitions in the museum building. There is a wonderful aquarium containing the fish of the River Tisza as part of the exhibition on angling, and showcasing the flora and fauna of this important river which runs through the town.

The ecclesiastical history collection reflects the glorious past of this market town in several ways. Consisting of the artefacts of North Hungarian Baroque-style religious arts and of the Hungarian Byzantine heritage this is perhaps the museum's most valuable and most spectacular material. Its icon collection is also valuable.

The third permanent exhibition entitled 'The Grapes and Wines of Tokaj-Hegyalja' (Tokaj-Hegyalja szőleje és bora) shows visitors the territorial delineation of Tokaj-Hegyalja, and see which former market towns belong to this historical wine region.

In the huge attic space visitors can familiarise themselves with the various ways in which wines were and are stored, transported and handled, with some references to the most important grape wine types and to wine cultivation.

Part of the wine exhibition of the Tokaj Museum is naturally housed in the cellar. Here the tools of storing and serving wine are displayed, and the viticulturists of the Tokaj-Hegyalja wine region are introduced through bottles of their best quality wines.

 

Karácsony-Szaszaráth House

The comprehensive collections on the history of viniculture and local history are set in a special display area. The material on ecclesiastical history, and the art section are however also significant.

There are three permanent exhibitions in the museum building. There is a wonderful aquarium containing the fish of the River Tisza as part of the exhibition on angling, and showcasing the flora and fauna of this important river which runs through the town.

The ecclesiastical history collection reflects the glorious past of this market town in several ways. Consisting of the artefacts of North Hungarian Baroque-style religious arts and of the Hungarian Byzantine heritage this is perhaps the museum's most valuable and most spectacular material. Its icon collection is also valuable.

The third permanent exhibition entitled 'The Grapes and Wines of Tokaj-Hegyalja' (Tokaj-Hegyalja szőleje és bora) shows visitors the territorial delineation of Tokaj-Hegyalja, and see which former market towns belong to this historical wine region.

In the huge attic space visitors can familiarise themselves with the various ways in which wines were and are stored, transported and handled, with some references to the most important grape wine types and to wine cultivation.

Part of the wine exhibition of the Tokaj Museum is naturally housed in the cellar. Here the tools of storing and serving wine are displayed, and the viticulturists of the Tokaj-Hegyalja wine region are introduced through bottles of their best quality wines.

 

Accommodation in Tokaj: http://www.hungaryrooms.com/hotels/Tokaj/

Map of Tokaj: http://www.hungaryrooms.com/map/Tokaj/

Eger-Tokaj Hilly Wine Region - Every step is a new adventure, Renáta

Here we find the country's highest mountain, and smallest village, the first Hungarian language bible from the 16th century, and the oldest railway from the 19th century. The world renowned Hungarian wine, the Tokaji aszú, ages in the cellars of this region, while one of Europe's most beautiful horse tracks and biggest cave systems is also found here. Three of Hungary's eight UNESCO listed world heritage sites can be found here. tovább »

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