The realm of lavenders

Vivi Bencze | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Tihany’s lavender field, situated on the Tihany-peninsula, is Hungary’s first industrial lavender plantation, thanks to which levander has become a dominant symbol for the town of Tihany itself and for the peninsula as well.

To make it clear, the Tihany-peninsula is the great isle of Lake Balaton, stretching from the northern coast into the lake. It is one of the most varied and attractive places in Hungary, so the first landscape protection area was established here.

What to know about Tihany levander?

In the mid 1920's, Gyula Bittera, a renowned herbalist of his age, set the first lavender plantation in Tihany. He had brought the plants straight from France, and his skills were proved by the fact, that the essential oil content of the lavender, reaped in Tihany, was higher, than of the French. The success of Tihany lavender is also indicated by the fact, that it was even present on the stock exchange in certain times.

Lavender has practically no pest in the country, so no chemical is needed in the area. Its only enemy is weed, against what specialists defend on the one hand by mowing, and on the other hand by using sheep. A single bush can yield continuously rich crop even for ten successive years. In Tihany we can meet this popular plant not only on the field, but also between the houses, as spectacular decor of the gardens and the streets. As dry flower it can be used against moths, and as oil it has perfect anti-inflammatory and sedative effects. Levander is widely used in folk medicine, in soap making and in natural healing, which is becoming increasingly popular nowadays.

Lavender Festival in Tihany

On the turn of June and July, blooming lavender plantation is a special sight on the coast of Lake Balaton. According to locals, Tihany's inner island turns into a butterfly-valley around this part of the year. At the time of flowering, walking tours start, guided by professionals, to view the Lavender field on the Tihany-peninsula. As mentioned, lavender plays an important and prominent role in Tihany's life, of which growing and utilization have long tradition. In honor of this noble plant, Lavender Festival is organized annually on the shore of the inner lake, which also offers the opportunity for local amateur art groups to perform. A significant role is played by the folk fair and the handicrafts playhouse, where visitors can learn the different ways of processing lavender. The 2018 Lavender Festival will take place from June 29 to July 1. Lavender-lovers can even harvest the beloved plant in the National Park’s "Take it Yourself!" initiative from June 22 to 28 (up to stock).

Other tourist attractions in Tihany:

The Benedictine monastery of Tihany was founded by King Andrew I. in 1055, in honor of St. Ányos and Mary, the Madonna. The founding diploma of the monastery is the oldest Hungarian diploma in original form. In its Latin text, it describes several Hungarian words and phrases, when establishing the boundaries of the land. This Tihany-related linguistic relic is the most precious one, of which original copy is in Pannonhalma, where one of Hungary’s most outstanding historical monuments, the Pannonhalma Arcabbey can be found. There are other replicas of the founding diploma in several places though, for example here.

Another interesting historic attraction is the crypt of Andrew I. The three-aisled Romanic crypt, built by the king - at the time of the foundation of the monastery -, is the only royal burial place in Hungary, which has been survived safe and sound from that age. The king, who died in 1060, rests in this very crypt. Similarly to it, here is the mentioned founding letter of the abbey too.

Last but not least, I would like to point out, that in the neighbourhood of Tihany and this spectacular realm of lavenders, there is also the town of Balatonfüred, which is the sixth most popular city in Hungary, based on the number of guestnights.

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