Austria / HungaryAustria / HungaryAustria / HungaryAustria / HungaryAustria / Hungary

Austria / Hungary

The section of the Iron Curtain Trail on the Hungarian and Austrian border begins at the triangle formed by the meeting point of the borders between Hungary, Austria and Slovakia. The main attractions here are the cultural sights, such as the sculpture park with works by Austrian, Slovakian and Hungarian artists near Rajka and Deutsch-Jahndorf. Then there is Bezenye, which is worth a visit for its multinational character; its three names – Hungarian, Croatian and German – testify to its eventful past. This border line was drawn after World War I, right through the middle of a vaiety of muliethnic settlements, villages and cities. In this regions nearly everyone speaks several languages.

Leaving this triangle, you cycle through charming country with a number of small towns of largely historical interest, such as Jánossomorja with its Baroque church and important altarpieces. A very unusual sight awaits you a few kilometres on in Fertőd: the Palace of Esterházy, once described as the Hungarian Versailles. A few kilometres further west you can visit Sopron, a place that played a major role in the Cold War. This is where the Iron Curtain was first pierced, on 27 June 1989 when the then Foreign Minister Alois Mock and his Hungarian counterpart Gyula Horn jointly cut through the border fence.  In August that year a border gate between Austria and Hungary was symbolically opened at the ‘Pan-European Picnic’.

Continuing south, you reach Hegykő, which is known for its thermal spas. You then follow the border, coming across places of historical interest where you may well want to stop off. Buildings such as the Baroque palace in Peresznye offers exciting insights into the colourful past of the region. Or you can take a trip to the beautiful nature reserve of Kőszeg that has inspired so many painters and composers. Retracing the past again, you can follow the Iron Curtain Trail to Bozsok to look at the Roman aqueduct. In Horvátlövő, a name that already suggests a large Croatian presence, you should pay particular attention to the war memorial in the centre of town, which commemorates the 1920 Treaty of Trianon, the victims of the two world wars and the 1956 revolution.

The journey continues southwards crossing over the border between Austria and Hungary on several occasions before eventually arriving in Szentgotthárd, the westernmost town of Hungary.  Situated on the Rába River, which is familiar both to fishermen and rafting enthusiasts, the town is home to much of Hungary's small Slovene ethnic minority.  From there the route travels through the Őrségi National Park, making its way to the border with Slovenia.

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  • 27/06/1989
    Horn and Mock
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    cut the Iron Curtain
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    in Eszterhaza Palace

 

  • Pan-European picnic park, Hungary / Austria

    On the Austrian-Hungarian border not far from the Hungarian city of Sopron, several monuments commemorating one of the first holes in the Iron Curtain stand tall. They remind visitors of the Pan-European Picnic peace demonstration which took place on 19th August 1989. This day, the Iron Curtain was been opened for three hours and 600 East German took the opportunity to flee to the West. Photo credit: brownmissionhungary.com

  • Eszterhaza Palace, Hungary

    The baroque-rococo Esterhazy Castle in Fertőd is one of the most beautiful castles and castle parks of Hungary. Apart from the castle building, there are many the other buildings and sights in the surrounding park that can be visited as well, including the Marionette Theater, the Rose Garden Pavilion, baroque well house, Chinese Pavilion and Opera House. Miklós Esterházy had the latter built and the world famous composer Joseph Haydn was employed as the family’s own composer and choirmaster! Located nearby is the village of Nagycenk, which boasts two interesting museums: the former castle of Count István Széchenyi - a great social reformer and one of the most influential Hungarians of the nineteenth century - and a short track railway, which forms part of a Museum of Transportation.

  • Garden of Remembrance, Austria

    The Garden of Remembrance is a memorial, which was built on the location of the destroyed synagogue of the vibrant Jewish community in Frauenkirchen. The memorial wants to inform and remember.

  • Bridge at Andau, Austria / Hungary

    Close to the Austrian village of Andau, a narrow wooden bridge leads over the Einser Canal. From the start of the Hungarian Revolution on the 23rd October 1956 Hungarians used this bridge as a means to cross the border into the West. In total, between 70,000 and 80,000 people crossed over here, with numbers increasing significantly when the Red Army began to violently suppress the revolution. The bridge was blown up on the 21st November and the border was then strongly manned by Hungarian and Russian border patrols. In the 1992 the “Association for International Understanding – The Bridge at Andau” was founded, which led to the bridge being reconstructed in its original site in 2006. Also located close by is the impressive new Baron Berg Gusztáv Bridge. Photo credit: Sonactive Andau (www.andau.info)

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