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The Visegrád Mountains

<p style="text-align: justify;"><span lang="FR">The main difference between the Visegrád Mountains and the Pils is that they are volcanic in origin. The tectonic stresses caused by the uplift of the Carpathians were resolved by intense volcanic activity during the Late Miocene Epoch, some 20 million years ago. The lava blankets of this brief volcanic activity - which took place over a million years - covered the mountain building rocks of the Pilis, the Dachstein limestone and the main dolomite layers. An early example of volcanic activity is the Csódi Hill in Dunabogdány, formed by volcanic activity that only caused uplift but could not break through the rocks covering the surface at that time.</span></p>

This volcanic activity links the Visegrád Hills to the Börzsönnyel: the geological events that preceded the glacial appearance of the Danube were identical in the two mountains. In the mountains surrounding both banks of the Danube, andesitic rocks - agglomerates, tuffs - and slate limestone formed along the islands, as well as tuff, a common underwater formation of volcanic dust and marine calcareous deposits, are found. The mountains as we know them nowadays are formed by former craters and huge volcanoes that are thousands of meters high, and which have been eroded over the last ten to eleven million years into mountains of a few hundred meters. The highest peak in the range, the Dobogok Stone, is only seven hundred meters high.

The Visegrád Mountains were separated from the neighbouring Börzsöny by the early glacial breakthrough of the Danube, but geologically, in terms of its formation and rocks, the Visegrád Mountains are part of the North Central Mountains. Over the course of nearly one and a half million years, the river has cut deeper and deeper into the hard volcanic rock, the remains of which are still visible today in the form of terraces. The remains of such Danube terraces include the Great Hill of Visegrad, the Little Hill of Visegrad and the Castle Hill.

The fauna of the mountain range and the neighbouring Pilis is very similar, despite the different geological structure. For centuries, vineyards and orchards have been cultivated in the hilly areas. These were abandoned from the beginning of the last century until the middle of the century, and gradually began to be covered with steppe. In addition to the species of dragonflies and fescues, many species of plants with beautiful flowers have settled on the former plantations. One of them is the Hungarian rattle-grass, a rarity that is found only in a few parts of the country. The glacial ice sheet also provided habitat for many rare plants, this is why cat's-paw can be found on the loessy foothills and sides or plateaus; and the Irish noble liverwort is found in the easternmost habitat of the local hornbeam-oak and beech forests. On the sand-covered remnants of the Danube terraces, which can be found at altitudes of two to three hundred metres, there are also species of lowland plants, such as the sandy catkin, which also grows on the rocks of the Red Rock.

The saw-whet grasshopper also lives here in some of the mountain meadows. A beautiful beetle of the hornbeam-oak forests, the great horned titmouse. The rare Pannonian lizard is found in several places, and there is a rich birdlife. In the Visegrád Mountains, there are several rare and highly protected species. The black stork is a hidden breeding species in the old forests. This bird, which is essentially a man-eating bird, nests mainly in the old trees of deep valleys and often hunts along streams during the day - increasingly seen in the streams running through the mountain villages. Perhaps even rarer is the sight of the scaup, also spending the winter in Africa. This large bird of prey is best seen in flight holding its prey - a large glider. A less common nesting bird on rocky hillsides is the Mediterranean whiskered kite. Often breeding in loose colonies, it is a covert singer, although its distant song often signals its presence.

This area has been inhabited since ancient times and was an important frontier of the Roman Empire. It has played a strategically important role in Hungarian history from the Árpád era onwards, and was the center of the ecclesiastical and later royal administration (Esztergom, Visegrád). The area is rich in religious, local historical and archaeological monuments and sites (remains of the Roman Limes, the Visegrád Citadel and Solomon's Tower, the Esztergom Basilica, etc.).