Hollókő Protected Landscape Area

Hollókő Protected Landscape Area
Hollókő Protected Landscape Area
Hollókő Protected Landscape Area
Hollókő Protected Landscape Area
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Protected since: 1977

Area: 141.2 ha

Basic Data of the Protected Landscape Area

The Hollókő Protected Landscape Area was established in 1977, in Nógrád County. The purpose of the nature protection is primarily to preserve the landscape around the small village Hollókő, which is on the UNESCO list of World's Cultural Heritage. Another goal related to the previous one is to preserve the area's life communities and species, as well as its geological and topographical values.

The protected landscape prea only covers the administrative area of Hollókő settlement. The village and its surroundings is on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list with the total area of the protected landscape.


The protected area is located on the northern border of the Central-Cserhát region, to the north of which lies the Szécsény hill region.


The most striking geomorphological large forms of the area are the narrow, elongated lodes. The andesite rock material formed during the Miocene volcanism is very hard, so the area merges out from its environment of soft, sedimentary rocks with short, steep slopes. The hard andesite also protected the neighboring, soft side rocks in its immediate environment from destruction. The largest (about 2.5 km long) is the so-called Hollókő lod e, which carries the Vár(castle) Hill – Gomb Hill – Szár Hill range in a northwest-southeast direction. Some researchers consider Vár Hill to be a local eruption center formed on the lode. On the south side of the "big" spawning ground, there is a smaller spawning ground branching off from it. In the small quarry where it was discovered, the typical characteristics of the rocks can be well studied: in the volcanic rock material, we can see the inclusions of the side rock, and on the edge side rocks baked by the heat.

The water of the Vár (Strand) spring at the southern foot of Vár Hill is weakly carbonated (csevice-type spring) and characterized by iron and manganese content of high layered origin. In the Middle Ages, the spring provided drinking water for the inhabitants of the castle and its surroundings, between 1936 and 1965 it provided water for the "farmer's bath" established nearby, and between 1960 and 1989, the village was supplied with piped water from here.

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The share of pasture-cultivated areas is the largest (33%) in the protected landsacape, but a significant part of these are forests (enriched wooded pastures). Areas under forest cultivation account for 26%. The territorial share of the closed garden of Öregszőlő is large (28%), but the previous cultivation (grapes, fruit, garden, arable land) has already been almost completely abandoned. The inner area of Ófalu (old village) is present with a share of 11%, and the parcels of land taken in the outer area account for 2%.

Social characteristics

The area of the landscape protection district is characterized by a village settlement structure, the village of Hollókő itself, with a population of 380, belongs to the dwarf villages.

Even in the past, the small village border could not fully support the population of the village, commuting is still typical. Even with the increasing tourism utilization, the residents of Hollókő mainly participate in the tourist service as a side activity. Among the dwarf villages in Nógrád, Hollókő is better equipped (kindergarten, school, doctor's office, post office available), but the growing average age of inhabitants has not stopped yet.

The tourist orientation and the touristic role of the natural environment of the village significantly reduces the number of conflict situations between the population and the nature conservation manager. Unauthorized waste disposal and off-road activities are the most important nature conservation problems, but the latter are typically not carried out by local residents.


Due to the small size of the landscape protection area, its ownership (mostly state property and asset management by the national park board), as well as the objectives of the protection, the scale and method of management are greatly influenced by tourism utilization and the maintenance of landscape values. In state-owned forests, nature conservation forest management is carried out, and the small economic value of the few privately owned forests does not allow for a larger volume of forest. The areas preserved as pastures and restored by the national park board are utilized by local farmers by grazing them with cattle. The small size and grass yield of the pastures do not make it possible to increase their economic role, however, there is also an important touristic interest in the survival of the wooded pastures.

Natural values - Zoology

Despite the small size of the area, its wildlife is remarkable. Among the valuable insects of the landscape protection area, we should mention the oak hawk-moth (Marumba quercus) living in the oak forests, and the large peacock-eye weaver (Saturnia pyri) found on the fruit trees of Ófalu. In the old leaved trees of the wood pasture, the great capricorn beetle (Cerambyx cerdo) and the large stag beetle (Lucanus cervus) are common. Entomological values such as the violet click beetle (Limoniscus violaceus) and the panther-spotted antlion (Dendroleon pantherinus) appear in the hollows formed at the base of the old trees in the forest. The hairy stag beetle (Aesalus scarabaeoides) develops in rotting dead wood (mainly lying on the ground). The protected Hungarian hornet (Chlorophorus hungaricus) can be found in Öregszőlők, on the semi-dry clearing meadows formed on the site of abandoned vineyards.

Among the vertebrates, the spotted salamander (Salamandra salamandra) that breeds in the Vár-spring stream, the blue-spotted legless lizard (Anguis colchicus), which mainly prefers fresh forests, and the burrowing birds, the black woodpecker (Dryocopus martius), gray sparrow (Picuscanus), middle woodpecker ( Dendrocopos medius), blue pigeon (Columba oenas) and ringed flycatcher (Ficedula albicollis). The barn owl (Strix aluco) regularly nests in the old, dying trees of the wooded pasture. The specially protected mammal of woodlands and abandoned vineyards is the Forest domouse (Dryomys nitedula). The highly protected wild cat (Felis sylvestris) also occurs in the area of the landscape protection area.


Phytogeographically, the area belongs to the Nógrád flora region (Neogradense) of the Northern Central Highlands flora region (Matricum) of the Pannonian flora region (Pannonicum). Here you can find beautiful stands of some of the characteristic plant associations of Cserhát, such as heat-loving oaks, silicate rock meadows, slope steppe meadows on the steep hillsides, and semi-arid clearing meadows in the place of abandoned vineyards. Among the protected plant species living in dry oak forests, we should mention the sub-Mediterranean Pilis vetch (Vicia sparsiflora), known from Nadám Hill, and the redish onion (Allium marginatum). The Pannonian-Carpathian endemic Hungarian thistle (Carduus collinus) and Hungarian sedge (Poa pannonica subsp. scabra) appear in the rock meadows of Gomb-hill, together with the yellow beard of jupiter (Jovibarba hirta), which also occurs on the rocks at the base of the castle wall. The rocks of Gomb-hil are decorated with rock bushes made of Black-berried cotoneaster (Cotoneaster niger). Rare species from broadleaved forests also occur in Cserhát, so the perennial honesty (Lunaria rediviva) living on Vár-Hill is not known from anywhere else in Cserhát, and the hazelnwort (Asarum europaeum) living in the same area has been found in only a few other places. The four-leaf herb paris (Paris quadrifolia) found in the valley of the Hollókő stream is also considered a rarity in Cserhát.

Cultural heritage

The old village (Ófalu) of Hollókő XVII-XVIII. The village with its simple, comb shape house sites structure,the whitewashed houses, built in the 19th century, have been preserved in their original condition to this day, and since 1987 they have rightly been part of the World's cultural heritage. One of the smallest protected landscape area in our country was created to preserve the landscape of the Palóc ethnic village: the hills surrounding Ófalu reflect the lifestyle, farming habits, knowledge and love of nature of the people living there. The first written records referring to Hollókő are related to the castle built on a 262 meter high rocky hilltop rising above the settlement and the castle estate. The castle with an irregular floor plan and an inner tower was certainly built after the Tatar invasion, in the XIII. It was built by the Kacsics family in the 19th century. The tower of the fortress offers a wonderful panorama: you can see a good part of the Ipoly valley, the Salgó fortress, the former guard hills all the way to Karancs. You can see long, narrow ribbon parcels of Öregszőlők vineyard extending down the slope on the side of the valley of the Hollókő-stream.

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According to historical maps, that area was already occupied by vineyards in the XVIII. century. The present-day image of the hillside was formed during the parcelling that took place in 1860, when the area of only 50 hectares was divided into 687 strip plots. After that, fruit trees were planted in the vineyards as intermediate plants. The area with steep, clayey soil produces small yields and its cultivation was very laborious work. Along with the aging of the village's population and the emigration of young people, a significant part of the plots have been abandoned to this day. Most of the traditional, stake-cultivated vines, as well as the ancient orchards that preserved varieties resistant to pests and diseases, have been destroyed, and only a few old specimens defy time. The plots left fallow are overgrown with weeds and shrubs. This specific production system contributed to the creation of a landscape with a specific structure and outstanding beauty, which – as the historical natural environment of the historic village – rightfully forms an integral part of the landscape protection area and the world heritage area. It represents a kind of transition of land-use between forest acorn cultivation and grassland grazing on Vár-Hill and Gomb-Hill with the thinning of the closed forest, presumably in the 18th century. The wooded area dotted with huge oaks dates back to the 20th century. For the last decades of the 20th century, with the cessation of grazing, it was almost completely reforested. The Bükki National Park Administration is making significant efforts to preserve this outstanding agrohistorical monument and landscape value. Small, but culturally significant, memories of the life of the people of Hollókő are the washing ponds and hemp soaking ponds found in the valley of the Hollókő stream, as well as the remains of the "farmer's bath" in the valley at the southern foot of Castle Hill. Their regular use in the XX. ceased in the second half of the century.

Practical nature conservation - Habitat management

The National Park Directorate carried out a restoration project on wooded pastures Between 2008 and 2010. In the course of the project, about 19 hectares of deforested/overgrown wooded pastures were restored, the areas are utilized by a local farmer through a leasing contract. In addition to grazing with beef cattle, the area also requires regular pruning, which is also carried out by the tenant. The Directorate regularly controls invasive woody plants in both grassland and forest areas. The purpose of nature conservation forest management in the property of Bükk National Park Directorate is to preserve forest biodiversity, assist the natural processes occurring in forests, and restore the structural and functional characteristics of natural forests. This goal is currently largely achieved in the area of the Hollókő Landscape Protection District by avoiding interventions and suppressing invasive species. The natural state of the forests here can be further improved in the future with well-planned, targeted management interventions. Restoration of smaller wetlands (places where spotted salamanders breed) with manual tools has already taken place along the Hollókő stream in several cases.

Species protection

The preservation of the most important protected and highly protected species of the landscape protection area is largely served by the habitat management and restoration described above. One of the most important parts of the species protection measures is the establishment of the time and space order of own treatments, and (in the case of other farmers or operators) the time and space restrictions.The Directorate promotes the protection of some protected species of birds and mammals by placing artificial nest boxes.

Nature conservation issues

One of the main problems in the enforcement of nature conservation aspects is the presence of non-native invasive species. The main concern is the presence of the white acacia (Robinia pseudoacacia), primarily in forest habitats. Among the herbaceous species, the role of Canadian goldenrod can be highlighted as one of the main threats to grasslands. The drastic increase in the number of big game over the last decade is a major threat to the preservation of the biological diversity of forest habitats. Red deer, wild boar and mouflon are causing an increasingly serious nature conservation problem in the landscape protection area. Among the illegal activities, off-road motor sports and waste dumping have the most significant adverse effect on the natural state of the landscape protection area. Problems related to lawn management occur primarily in the absence of lawn management. The valuable patches of lawn in the abandoned Öregszőlő formed due to natural succession will gradually become forested and disappear without treatment. Pedestrian tourism is an extremely important form of utilization of the area, which only appears as a risk factor (trampling small-scale sensitive habitats) to a small extent.

Research, education

The Hollókő Protected Landscape Area was previously considered to have only outstanding cultural-historical and landscape values, and the natural value of its wildlife was not significant. However, the botanical and zoological surveys of the last decades have shown that, despite its small size, it has a fairly rich flora and fauna. Most of the investigations were carried out by the employees of the Directorate, commissioned external specialists only investigated one or two groups of insects. Researchers from Szent István University conducted a series of surveys on the wooded pasture, mainly to monitor the effects of restoration activities. The Cserhát Nature Park Public Interest Fundation and the Bükki National Park Directorte jointly carry out the assessment and saving of the old fruit varieties still in great variety on Hollókő, with the involvement of pomologist researchers. Presenting the natural values of the Hollókő Landscape Protection District and the work of the national park directorate is currently supported by two nature trails managed by the directorate and the Hollókő Landscape House.


The entire area of the protected landscape area can be visited freely, which is supported by several tourist trails(including the National Blue Trail).Four nature trails help you get to know the area's natural and cultural-historical values. The Vártúra (castle tour) nature trail presents the geological properties, values and history of the landscape, the Holló (Biological) nature trail presents the botanical and zoological properties and values, and their conversion is in progress. A separate stop is the presentation of the andesite terrarium.The Vár-alja (castle-bottom) nature trail leads from the Vár-forrás (castle-spring) down along the stream to the Rimóc road. On this trail, we can primarily study the wildlife of habitats connected to water, as well as the history of the Castle spring. On the Kertek alja (bottom of gardens) nature trail, created in the valley of the Hollókő stream, we can first of all get acquainted with the memories of traditional villige life and farming, but also include elements showing the living world.The Landscape House, under the management of the Bükki National Park Administration, has been open to the public for several decades in Ófalu. Currently, due to operational difficulties, it is only open for written request.


Bükk National Park Directorate: 3304 Eger, Sánc u. 6. phone: 36/411-581; e-mail: titkarsag@bnpi.hu Area Management Center of Nógrád-Ipoly Nature Conservation Landscape Unit: 3067 Garáb 66 hrsz, e-mail: nite@bnpi.hu