THE “ORMÁNSÁG” – an overview

The area called “Ormánság” is located in the south-western part of Hungary, in Baranya county, bordered by the river Drava, on the south, and partly by Somogy county, on its western side.

The area is predominantly plain, its most part belonging to the tide lands of the river Dráva. The villages have been built on the so-called “ormá”-s, the small hills emerging from this watery land, the name of the area derives from this term.

Due to its peripheral position, its closeness to the border, this microregion has been shut off from fast processes of economic growth, being, at the same time, able to preserve its landscape intact, as well as natural, ethnographic and architectural values due to this position.

The flora and fauna of the Ormánság is exceptionally rich. Numerous populations of rare species can be found in some of the places. The vegetation present along the banks of the river Dráva, the willow and poplar groves, oak, ash, and elm groves are an exceptional landscape while being rather remarkable from an ecologic perspective, as well.

Two species typical of the Ormánság area are the Slavonic oak and the Hungarian ash tree. Other noteworthy tree species, typical of the Ormánság are the elm, poplar and the blue beech. The furze thicket provides appropriate habitat for the sword-flag and the water-chestnut, while protected plains host a vast variety of lily and iris species. Bird and game population is also exceptionally rich. Bird species typical of the area are the black storck, the bald eagle, the black kite, the falcon, the short-winged hawk, the ant-catcher hawk, the bank swallow and the common kingfisher, most of them being protected by law.

Watercourses flanked by alder thicket provide a home for beautiful specimens of deer, fawn and wild boar. The river Drava and the fishponds provide excellent opportunities for line-fishing.

Natural treasures are further enriched by built heritage such as the Draskovich Castle, located in Sellye, and its surrounding park, the prime botanical garden in the South-Transdanubian area, which hosts a wide variety of rare plants.

Built heritage of the area consist mainly of examples of folk architecture. Construction of the so-called “footed houses”, typical of the area, must have emerged due to adaptation to the natural conditions of the area, including frequently occurring floods.

The treasures that put the Ormánság on the map are its churches. For centuries, the Ormánság has been inhabited by Hungarians of Protestant faith. Their churches — with ceilings covered in painted wooden “cassettes”— are a great value. The symbolism displayed by the decorative motifs painted with tempera on pinewood has its roots in original, old Hungarian symbolism. The most beautiful highly decorated churches can be found in Drávaiványi, Kórós, Adorjás and Kovácshida.