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Lake of Megyer Mountain: a small miracle in Zemplén

I knew about the existence of the kake in the Megyer Mountain a decade before it became a touristic attraction and was chosen as a natural wonder of the country in 2011. I did my high school studies in Sárospatak and often took trips to this lake on weekends. Contrary to its name, the natural attraction indicated in the title is not a lake, more precisely a montbretia, which is a result of the melting ice, but it’s a mining lake. However, this does not detract from its value, as the view of the 4000 m2 of water that is cut between the rocks speaks for itself.

 

Zemplén is undeservedly overshadowed by other popular destinations in Hungary. Not only because I spent my high school years here, but I’m saying that also as a traveling blogger. It is my aim to present the hidden treasures of the country and the world and not only the most visited and Instagrammable places. Therefore, after many years, I visited again my beloved city of Sárospatak.

There are two routes to Megyer Mountain and to the montbretia: from Károlyfalva via the red tourist sign, or from Sárospatak on highway 37 through the Park Forest of Botkő or the Millstone Factory Road.  I’m just writing this not to hit the target in the Wazze navigation app. It turns you into a road where you eventually can’t go any further.

During my 3-kilometer walk I stumbled across completely untouched eco-organic elderberry bushes from which I took flowers for elderberry syrup later. I also walked up the hillside among beautiful Zemplén vines, which are made of world champion furmint, linden-leaf, yellow-muscat and chardonnay white wines. This vineyard belongs to the Hegyalja and Tokaj regions and, as we know, good wine needs no bush.

Before we arrive at the breathtaking panorama of the lake, here’s a little information package about it. After all, if you are going on a trip somewhere, let’s collect some valuable information not just to take beautiful pictures. The history of Megyer Mountain, which is 303 meters high 4 km from Sárospatak, dates back to ancient times. 15 million years ago, volcanic activities in the Miocene emerged from the sea into a cone rich in liparite. We jump forward in time, around the 1440s, when people discovered that this material can be used to make very high-quality millstones, which were essential tools for the operation of water, wind, dry and hand mills.

In the 17th century, the millstone mine was owned by  György I. Rákóczi of the Lorántffy family, under whom the mining began flourishing. Until the beginning of the 19th century, Hungary had about 90,000 mills, which were provided with grindstones from 5 Hungarian millstone factories, including from here, the Botkő mine. The peak annual output of the mine was 4-500 pieces and 20% of the stones made here were taken abroad. The quartzite-based millstones from Megyer Mountain were made of one piece and were considered very valuable. The pieces made for the 1862 World’s Fair in London were even awarded a special award.

Former homes of stone minersSince the mid-1800s, the mill industry has declined as a result of rapid development of the milling industry, until the mine closed in 1907. However, its traces are preserved by lake of Megyer Mountain to this day. The double of rain and groundwater accumulated between the 70-metre cliffs is truly an impressive sight for visitors. Crystal clear water varies in color from greenish black to light green depending on the weather and reaches a depth of 6.5 meters.

On the edge of the lake, the millstone hiking trail leads around, which is easy terrain and railings make sure that no one accidentally fall from the steep cliff face into the water. Although this attracts someone in the place, as from summer 2020, the Megyer Mountain will also be opened to rock climbers with a 700-metre-long zipline. This will make it the fourth place in Hungary where via ferrata lovers can leisure sports and try their skills and strength.

If you want to go even higher after the rocks, heated by adrenaline, I recommend visiting the Megyer Mountain lookout tower at 318 meters, which offers beautiful views of Bodrogköz, Sátoros and Tokaj Mountains, but in clear weather you can also see the peaks of the Eastern Carpathians.

The lake was declared a nature reserve in 1997 due to its rich flora and fauna. When I left the latter, I also got a taste of a family of woodpeckers whose chicks, sitting in a den, demanded food loudly. The natural housing alarm only stopped for a moment while they were eating, and then they continued to siren. However, the noise certainly does not keep away “intruder” hikers, in fact. Rather, it enriches those who want to immerse in the panorama and stunning cliffs of Megyer Mountain with a fresh patch of color.

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