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Protected Landscape Area of Ócsa

The village of Ócsa is situated nearly 35 km from Budapest, at the intersection of the flatland of Alföld and the hills of Gödöllő. The Surrounding ‘’Turján’’ zone was set up in 1975, on the 3575 hectares of the Protected Landscape Area of Ócsa

The natural protection area covers the territory of three settlements, Ócsa, Inárcs and Dabas. The area was named after Ócsa, the richest of the three in cultural and traditional assets. The fortress church of the Premontre order was built in the 12th-13th centuries. It is still used as a church and as it was thoroughly reconstructed in 1996, visitors can admire its original beauty again. Past times will be revived when looking at the remains of the original fresco in the silence of the sanctuary.

The „old village” that is protected as part of the natural protection area is located near to the Protestant church. Here, traditional building patterns of the 18th century are still traceable, including the so-called double-croft development pattern with tiny farmhouses and thatched residential buildings. The central office of the Natural Protection Area of Ócsa was also set up in this environment, as was the House of Traditions, where the tools, daily life and folk traditions of the Ócsa people of the 18th-19th centuries are displayed, and visitors can take part in various crafts activities such as bulrush weaving, felting or basket-work. The office will provide information concerning all the other tourist spots of the protected area.

The Natural Protection Area of Ócsa is one of the most prominent remains of the once far-reaching marshes of the Duna-Tisza köze. Its unique plant and animal species have survived as a result of the continuous water supply left behind by unsuccessful draining efforts in the 19th century. The entire territory is characterised by a mosaic pattern, that is, an alternation of open waters, reed plots, meadows, forests and grasslands, along with the similar mosaic of the appropriate human activities.

The hayfields rich in natural assets took shape and were preserved as a consequence of human activity: regular mowing. This is also the way to maintain them in future. They are a splendid view all year round, assuming their highest beauty in springtime when the orchids typical of the area, including orchids (military orchis, marsh orchis), the Siberian blue-flag, as well as in lower set territories, the winter sedge etc.

The ancient forests of the area were created by the cultivation method that has by now mostly lost its significance, selection forestation system. The alder marshes represent most of the value of these forests. They are covered with water for most of the year, therefore the roots of the trees are crampons, called by local people „footed” alders. In higher altitudes, grove forests of oak, ash and elm are found, with lush undergrowth. Typical species include the blue-bell, the yellow dead-nettle, the snow-flake and the convallaria that at places occurs in large numbers.

The fauna of the area is remarkably rich in both species and in overall volume. Some characteristic species are present here such as the articulates (small stag-beetle and long-horned beetle), the centipede as well as the rare relic species, the inland asellid, which are less apparent to passing visitors. In the course of roaming around these parts, various butterfly species will be seen in reed and bulrush covered areas.

In addition to the fish species common to watery marshlands and channels, the ground-gudgeon and the bog umbra that once used to be characteristic of marshes, are also observable here. Hungary’s amphibians are represented by the pond frog which is found here in significantly high numbers. In the mating season of early spring, luckier visitors may be witness to its fabulous sky-blue splendour. Brown toads, forest frogs, spadefoots, tree-frogs, and in the waters, bull-frogs, crested and spotty newts are also present in the area.

Due to its richness in bird species, the major part of the natural protection area is subject to special, international protection, and is covered by the Ramsar Convention. The researchers of the bird watcher association have been conducting observations, assessment surveys and information seminars since 1983 in the territory of the Old Turján, where, subject to prior engagement, all visitors are welcome to participate in scientific research work in certain times of the year.

Bird species typical of the area include the aigrette, the heron, the brown harrier, the sakeret, ferruginous duck, the smaller loon, the peewit, the snipe, the red-shanks, the dipper, the reed-bunting, the nightingale, the warblers etc.

Among mammals, smaller rhodents, furred predators (weasel, ermine, beech-martin), as well as the otter, the roe, the boar and the red deer are characteristic of the territory.

Recommended tracking route:
Any tour should have as its starting point the central office of the natural protection area, where visitors will be informed, among other things, about possible tracking routes.

  • Having obtained appropriate information, we’ll start out from the edge of the village, following the red tourist sign, walking past the bog meadows, where we’ll return to the inhabited parts of the area, to the Protestant graveyard with carved wooden tomb posts. Continuing to cross the village in the direction of Inárcs, we’ll arrive at the cellars of the Öreg-hegy, with prominent features of traditional building patterns. These cellars are situated at the intersection of the watery Turján area and the sandy flatland. They were simply dug out of the flanks of the hill, and at their entrance, the hatch is covered with a gable roof. In between these cellars, visitors can admire the result of the traditional activities of local farmers. If we are lucky and get invited, we can enjoy their products as well. From the cellar hill, a lovely view opens to the forests and meadows in the marshes. From this spot, a train can be taken from the Ócsa Vineyards to Budapest or Kecskemét.
  • Having set out from the office of the natural protection area, we’ll now walk down Dr. Békési Panyik Andor street, and passing several bog meadows and forests, we’ll arrive at the car parking lot of the Nagy-erdő, from where a paved walking path leads us to the Selyem-rét meadow, while in the meantime we’ll also have an opportunity to study the diverse vegetation of the marshy forest. Here, there is a sports field and a place for setting up campfire as well. Walking back from the Selyem-rét, we’ll come to highway number 5, and find the nearest bust stop there.
  • You can join the tours of the bird watching association as well as other specialist tours subject to prior reservation of places. Tours are conducted by specialist guides.