Magyar

Megyer-hegy Tarn

The Megyer-hegy
Surroundings area of Sárospatak
Tokaj and Nyíregyháza

Among the hiking spots in the Zemplén Mountains, the lake on the 324 metre high, volcanic Megyer‑hegy is one of the most popular. The tarn was previously a millstone mine; its remains are visible to this day. Let’s head for the northeastern corner of Hungary.

As long as you’re in the Tokaj‑Hegyalja region, visit the Megyer-hegy Tarn, near the town of Sárospatak, also known as ‘Athens on the shores of the Bodrog’. Shaped by natural forces and human hands alike over the years, it became a nature reserve in 1997. A millstone mine operated on the volcanic hill from the 15th century until 1907. As rainwater collected in a pit carved into the tuff, it formed a pond, with massive rock walls towering from the waters. Signs of the hard-working miners who lived here for many years are everywhere: their small ‘stone flats’ are still evident today, as are some half-finished millstones. Put on some comfortable hiking boots and make your way up the 324 metre high hill. You will be well rewarded: the rock cauldron rising from the middle of the forest is truly an imposing sight. In 2011, the tarn was chosen as the most beautiful natural wonder in Hungary. Currently, rope bridges and the longest via ferrata in Hungary are also under construction.

 

As long as you’re visiting the World Heritage sites of Tokaj‑Hegyalja, it would be worth taking a little detour to the tarn on Megyer-hegy, the hill rising above the ancient town of Sárospatak, affectionately known as ‘Athens on the shores of the Bodrog’. The long, uphill hike is well worth the effort: the mere sight of the rock cauldron bursting forth from the forest is enough to give one chills. The sight is both beautiful and terrifying, a testament to the shared power of natural forces and human hands.

A tarn carved in tuff

Filled with rainwater, the lake presents a gorgeous sight in all seasons. It is surrounded by vertical rocks, 70 metres tall in some places. Its maximum depth is 6.5 metres. The tarn is a true testament to the shared power of natural forces and human hands, and in 1997, it became an official nature reserve. It operated as a millstone mine from the 15th century to 1907, as the Megyer-hegy is made of rhyolitic tuff, which was permeated by silicic acid solutions during the hill’s post-volcanic activity. As a result, the tuff hardened, the quartz particles inside giving it excellent characteristics for polishing and milling. The miners carved small dwellings in the rock for themselves, which are still there today, along with a few half-finished millstones.


The tarn is accessible via several different hiking trails. Whether you’re arriving from the vineyards of Tokaj‑Hegyalja or the village of Botkő, you would do well to put on a pair of comfortable hiking boots.In addition to the longest via ferrata in the country, rope bridges and a bicycle path, a lookout tower is also under construction at the tarn’s highest point. A showroom is also planned, displaying the history of millstone manufacturing in the 15th-17th century to visitors. Currently, the water-filled rock cauldron is visible from the edge of the mine and can be viewed from behind safety railings. Visitors can also walk all the way to the edge of the lake – that is, inside the old mine – through a narrow passage that was originally used to transport rocks from the mine.

A tarn near the romantic wine region

If you’re up for an all-day hike, you should definitely try the Malomkő (Millstone) tourist path. This is a 4-5 hour hike from Sárospatak, starting off from the school garden of the Reformed College. Its total length is approximately 12 kilometres. The environmental educational trail includes 17 stations. Among others, it passes by the lovely little Swabian village of Hercegkút, the Megyer-hegy Tarn, Király-hegy, the geyser cone at Nagy-Bot rock, the historical wine cellar systems of Gomboshegy and Kőporos, and also presents the natural and artificial flora present in the region. The tour concludes at the castle garden of Rákóczi Castle in Sárospatak, where you can admire an ancient Japanese pagoda tree, the trademark species of the region.

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