The   extinct   volcano   remnants   shown   above   were   last   active   several   million   years   ago, when   the   area   of   present   day   Hungary   was   covered   by   a   shallow   sea,   known   as   the Pannon   Sea.   These   mounts   were   volcanic   islands   of   that   sea.            Now,   they're   just   hills (300-400   meters   in   elevation)   on   the   north   shore   of   Lake   Balaton,   the   biggest   lake   of   mid- Europe.    Balaton    is    relatively    young    (approximately    (20,000    years    old)    and    is    not associated   with   the   former   sea.   The   hills   are   famous   for   their   wine,   each   one   having   its own   brand   --   the   Somlói   ('Shom-law-ee')   being   the   highest   rated.   In   the   valleys   between these   hills,   sedimentary   rocks   of   the   ancient   Pannon   Sea   harbor   a   superb   tasting   mineral water.
Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar
The   Heviz   Lake   is   the   largest   natural   and   biologically   active   thermal   lake   in   the   world,   with   an   area   of   around   4.4   hectares. This   is   fed   by   a   thermal   source   from   a   crater   at   a   depth   of   38   meters.   The   source   is   productive   with   410   liters   per   second,   so that   the   water   is   completely   exchanged   within   72   hours.      The   water   temperatures   of   the   lake   are   about   33   to   36   °   C   in   the summer,   23   to   25   °   C   in   winter. This   makes   it   possible   to   spend   the   entire   year   in   the   open   air. The   thermal   bath   is   open   daily. Beautiful   water   lilies,   brought   to   Hungary   at   the   end   of   the   19th   century,   dot   the   lake,   supporting   the   eco-life,   with leaves slowing down evaporation, and creepers protecting the medicinal mud on the bottom of the lake.
Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo. Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar
The   Tihany   Peninsula   divides   the   Balaton   into   two   basins.   The   characteristic   view   of   the Mediterranean   landscape   was   formed   by   volcanic   eruptions   millions   of   years   ago,   as   shown today   by   two   giant   calderas.   The   remains   of   these   craters   form   little   lakes,   without   outlets and   higher   than   the   water   level   of   Balaton:   Belső-tó   (Inner   lake)   and   Külső-tó   (Outer   lake). The    Inner    Lake    is    situated    directly    under    the    village,    with    its    clear    water    surface    almost perfectly   circular.   It   lies   26m   above   the   level   of   Lake   Balaton   in   the   sunken   caldera   formed after   a   volcanic   eruption.   The   Outer   Lake,   once   formed   in   the   main   crater   of   the   peninsula's volcano, is a heavily-filled shallow lake 116m above sea level.
Photo: Rolf Cosar
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September 2005
Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo:Rolf Cosar