Hungarian videographer Peter Kallo recently sent his drone over Hortobágy, a national park in the east of the country. On the World Heritage List since 1999, this unique area is rich in cultural history and folklore, with the central village of Hortobágy hosting a staged recreation of the region’s gypsy folk history. The park’s distinctive plains are home to a host of wildlife too, as Peter discovered while making this beautiful short. He tells Lonely Planet how the project came about.
“The famous Hungarian poet, Sándor Petőfi, loved this flat, seemingly boring landscape”, he begins. “I was thinking a lot about what he would say if he saw it from a height. That was the main reason I created this short movie; it was the first time that anyone had filmed this area from above. Hortobágy lives in the Hungarian people’s national consciousness. Some see it as a boring straight plain, and don’t think about its hidden excitements.”
“It’s a very special place in itself”, he continues, “but its wildlife and living traditions make the landscape totally unique. Extraordinary wild and farm animals live there, like Hungarian grey cattle and mangalica pig. There are also wild horses unique to Hortobágy, while thousands of migratory birds, like crane, come in the fall.”
A well-known dish originated here too, says Peter. “The famous goulash soup came from the area’s local shepherds and their food – it’s traditionally made from grey cattle. The racka or Wallachian Sheep is known for its unusual spiral-shaped horns. The shepherds still keep them in the old traditions, sleeping with them in the wilderness. And this is not just a simple tourist attraction, but a real way of living today. The national park monitors the animals and shepherds, ensuring the continuity of this way of life.”