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A Martian landscape in Vértes – a must-see

GántGreater Budapest

The red open-cast mine of the Bauxite Geological Park in Gánt is an incredible place. No wonder it is regularly used as a location for Hungarian and international photo shoots and video clips. Once you’re there, walk along the geological study trail that entertainingly explains the millions of years of geological history and human mining activity in Vértes.

There are two abandoned bauxite mines in Vértes, at the southern tip of Gánt: nature has started to reclaim one of them, but the Danube-Ipoly National Park had a different goal with the other one. Today, an exciting study trail leads to an amazing location in the old open-cast bauxite mine at the foot of Bagoly Hill. As you walk along the path that was made to paint a picture of the open-cast mining that used to take place here, you can see mementoes left behind by various geohistorical eras. You can learn about what happened in this Martian landscape over millions of years. The colours, layers and shapes brought to the surface by the mining will enchant you: the mine wall is about 28 metres high and the dolomite bedrock has shades ranging from yellowish to purple-red due to the presence of various minerals.

When was the mine discovered?

A significant karst bauxite deposit was found in Gánt in 1920, and open-pit mining started in 1926. In the 1930s, this was one of the world's best-known bauxite mines, and its entire capacity was seized by the German military industry during World War II. At its peak production in 1953 the mine produced 600,000 tonnes. At that time, pits were being opened one after the other, and bauxite was mined in five places around Gánt. The sites were exhausted by the 1980s, and mining ended in 1987. 

Play and win

There are thirteen stops on the 3.5-km study trail, and it’s advisable to visit them in the right order as they have been organised for you by experts. By scanning the QR code on the signs at the stops, you will receive questions, each with three possible answers. You can collect points by choosing the option you think is correct, and if you add them up, you can receive a reward at the cash desk. You can also read the instructions of the game on the poster on the wall by the cash desk.

A great place for boys obsessed with trains

The exhibition on the history of bauxite mining in Hungary was opened in 1926 in a shaft on the edge of the former open-pit in Gánt. The museum presents the golden age of mining between 1914 and 1990. The collection consists of an open-air exhibition in the courtyard, where large mining machines are displayed, and an underground exhibition. The latter showcases a series of posters presenting the history of mining in the Vértes Mountains and the tools, machines and safety systems used in bauxite mining. If you come with children who are crazy about trains, they will love the two old bauxite locomotives standing in the courtyard.

How much time is needed?

The study trail has 13 stops, and you can go round it in one or one and a half hours at a steady pace. The museum takes about 25–40 minutes, depending on how long you muse over the objects.