Lake Balaton and Herend
Lake Balaton is a freshwater lake in the Transdanubian region of Hungary. It is the largest lake in Central Europe, and one of the regions foremost tourist destinations. The Zala River provides the largest inflow of water to the lake, and the canalized Sió is the only outflow. The mountainous region of the northern shore is known both for its historic character and as a major wine region, while the flat southern shore is known for its resort towns. Balatonfüred and Hévíz developed early as resorts for the wealthy, but it was not until the late 19th century when landowners, ruined by Phylloxera attacking their grape vines, began building summer homes to rent out to the burgeoning middle classes.
In Hungarian, the lake is known simply as Balaton. Lake Balaton affects the local area precipitation every year. The area receives approximately two to three inches (5–7 cm) more precipitation than most of Hungary, resulting in more cloudy days and less extreme temperatures. The lakes surface freezes during winters. The microclimate around Lake Balaton has also made the region ideal for viniculture. The lake, acting as a mirror, greatly increases the amount of sunlight that the grapevines of the region receive. The Mediterranean-like climate, combined with the soil (containing volcanic rock), has made the region notable for its production of wines since the Roman period two thousand years ago.
While a few settlements on Lake Balaton, including Balatonfüred and Hévíz, have long been resort centres for the Hungarian aristocracy, it was only in the late 19th century that the Hungarian middle class began to visit the lake. The construction of railways in 1861 and 1909 increased tourism substantially, but the post-war boom of the 1950s was much larger. During the 1960s and 1970s, Balaton became a major tourist destination for ordinary working Hungarians and especially for subsidized holiday excursions for union members. It also attracted many East Germans and other residents of the Eastern Bloc. West Germans could also visit, making Balaton a common meeting place for families and friends separated by the Berlin Wall until 1989. The collapse of Communism after 1991 and the dismantling of the unions saw the gradual but steady reduction in numbers of lower-paid Hungarian vis
The major resorts around the lake are Siófok, Keszthely, and Balatonfüred. Zamárdi, another resort town on the southern shore, has been the site of Balaton Sound, a notable electronic music festival since 2007. Balatonkenese has hosted numerous traditional gastronomic events. Siófok is known for attracting young people to it because of its large clubs. Keszthely is the site of the Festetics Palace and Balatonfüred is a historical bathing town which hosts the annual Anna Ball. The peak tourist season extends from June until the end of August. The average water temperature during the summer is 25 °C, which makes bathing and swimming popular on the lake. Most of the beaches consist of either grass, rocks, or the silty sand that also makes up most of the bottom of the lake. Many resorts have artificial sandy beaches and all beaches have step access to the water. Other tourist attractions include sailing, fishing, and other water sports, as well as visiting the countryside and hills, wineries on the north coast, and nightlife on the south shore. The Tihany Peninsula is a historical district.
Badacsony is a volcanic mountain and wine-growing region as well as a lakeside resort. The lake is almost completely surrounded by separated bike lanes to facilitate bicycle tourism. Although the peak season at the lake is the summer, Balaton is also frequented during the winter, when visitors go ice-fishing or even skate, sledge, or ice-sail on the lake if it freezes over.
The Herend Porcelain Manufactory is a Hungarian manufacturing company, specializing in luxury hand painted and gilded porcelain. Founded in 1826, it is based in the town of Herend near the city of Veszprém.
In the mid-19th century it was purveyor to the Habsburg Dynasty and aristocratic customers throughout Europe. Many of its classic patterns are still in production. After the fall of Communism in Hungary the factory was privatized and is now 75 owned by its management and workers. As of 2006, the factory is profitable and exports to over 60 countries of the world. Its main markets are Italy, Japan, Russia and the US.
The factory at Herend was founded in 1826 by Vince Stingl as an earthenware pottery manufacturing factory, but also he had been carrying out research experiments on porcelain making. Stingl ran out of funds and subsequently went bankrupt, his creditor Mór Fischer took control of the factory in 1839. The new owner of the manufactory, Mór Fischer, being very ambitious and having new ideas, started artistic porcelain manufacturing in the same year. At that time it was almost impossible to replace broken pieces and supply old, classical porcelain dinner-sets from the Far East and from Europe, but Mór Fischers efforts met the support of the Hungarian aristocracy already in 1840.
The artistic demand, the effort of manufacturing the first true pieces in Herend succeeded in a very short time. The First Hungarian Applied Art Exhibition, the Vienna Exhibition in 1845, the Great Exhibition in London, 1851, the Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations in New York, 1853 and the Exposition Universelle in Paris, 1855, brought the highest appreciation for Herend. This appreciation appears in the orders made on behalf of several royal courts (Queen Victoria, Francis Joseph I., Maximillian, Mexican emperor etc.).
The name of well-known patterns refer to the first customers (Queen Victoria, Esterházy, Batthyány, Rothschild, Apponyi). In 1865 Francis Joseph I gave noble title to Mór Fischer, appreciating his results and work in porcelain art. From 1872 Mór Fischer Farkasházy, Purveyor to the Royal Court, was entitled to use the shapes and patterns of the Manufactory of Vienna, which had closed down. That was the first golden age of Herend.
In 1874 Mór Fischer gave the management of the manufactory to his sons. After this, the level of production started to decline, due to repressing the artistic aspects. The factory had several owners, and went almost bankrupt as a result of withdrawing from the artistic aspects. Development came only at the end of the century, when the grandson of the founder, Jeno Farkasházy, became the owner of the factory. Jeno Farkasházy was a trained ceramist, who gained experience in foreign factories and wanted to follow the founders concepts. Having excellent taste, he gave new life to traditions and in addition, introduced novelties in 1900 Paris and 1901 St. Petersburg.
Between the two world wars, limited reproduction of traditional products, from the age of Mór Fischer, was continued. Hungarian figures were also manufactured, after the work of the best Hungarian sculptors.In 1948 the company was nationalized. In 1993 it was privatized, and 75% is now owned by the management and workers. Herend products are made from hard-paste porcelain using a mixture of kaolin, feldspar and quartz.
After cleaning, decorating and drying, it is first fired at 830 degrees Celsius. The fired pieces are then immersed in a glaze and fired again, this time at 1410 degrees Celsius. This results in white, translucent porcelain. At this stage it is ready for painting by hand and then, depending whether it has been painted with colors or with gold, it is finished off with one or two more firings. The design artists, potters, painters and modelers add the value that has won this porcelain 24 grand and gold prizes in world exhibitions between 1851 and 1937. Perhaps the most well known Herend pattern was presented at the London World Exhibition in 1851, the Chinese-style butterflies and flowery branches painted in joyful, lively colors. The British Queen, Victoria, ordered a dinner set with its gold medal-winning pattern for Windsor Castle. Hence the patterns name “Viktória".
The Herend Porcelain Manufactory was purveyor to the Habsburg Dynasty and the aristocracy, both in Hungary and abroad. The factory consciously preserves traditions and therefore the quality of Herend Porcelain is consistent.