Along with, the Hortobágy Tavern, and the Shepherd’s Gate Museum, one of the must, site-seeing places when visiting Hortobágy is the Nine Hole Bridge. This year, the bridge is 188 years old, and it shows but in the coming weeks, the bridge is to be restored with support from the Ministry of Innovation and Technology.
The bridge has a long history, it is not only the longest and most beautiful stone road bridge in Hungary but in the whole of Europe. Its total length is 167.3 meters, the bridge body itself is 92 metres. The stone used for construction was brought from Tokaj to Tiszacsega on the Tisza, and from there it was transported to the site by wagons. The necessary 400,000 bricks were made locally with wood from the oak forest of Ohat.
Historically, the Hortobágy river was always the main route through the Hortobágy, connecting Transylvania with Pest-Buda. The development of the town of Debrecen further increased the importance of this road for the transport of salt and the trade-in cattle.
Even before the nine-hole bridge, there was a wooden bridge here, where tolls were collected. The wooden bridge mentioned in writings from the 14th century was completely restored in 1702, but then it was still made of wood.
In 1825 the city of Debrecen gave permission to replace the existing wooden bridge with a stone bridge and in 1827, the Debrecen council decided to build the stone bridge, built according to the designs of Ferenc Povolny. It was opened in 1832.
Hortobágy is a cultivated cultural landscape that is an outstanding example of harmonious cooperation between man and nature. Its claim to fame is that it is Europe’s largest contiguous natural grassland. In recognition of this fact, in December 1967, in the framework of the Pro Natura action, 22 world-renowned scientists wrote a memorandum to the Hungarian government asking it to preserve the unique natural and cultural heritage of the Hortobágy in the form of a national park. As a result, Hungary’s first national park was created 40 years ago, and now covers an area of 82,000 hectares.
The renovation is to be carried out by the Hungarian Public Roads Nonprofit Zrt. The Mayor of Hortobágy Ádám Jakab said that the aim is to improve the aesthetics of the bridge: the sidewalls of both bridge decks will be renovated, the external plaster will be replaced and the missing parts will be filled in.
The bridge works are likely to cause delays but these will be of short duration. We hope that, if time is kind to us, the aesthetic renovation of the bridge will be completed this year,” said the mayor.