The Hortobágy National Park (i.e., Hortobágyi Nemzeti Park) in eastern Hungary – the first ever in the country – is both a World Heritage site and a dark sky preserve, recognized by a silver tier Dark Sky Park designation from the International Dark Sky Association in 2011. The Hortobágy, a steppe located 94 miles (152 km) due east of Budapest, is Hungary’s largest protected area and one of the biggest continuous grasslands in Europe. The park offers regular “star walks and observatory programmes for the public,” says István Gyarmathy, Hortobágy’s dark-sky park coordinator; the schedule is posted here: http://www.hnp.hu/hu/szervezeti-egyseg/turizmus/hortobagyi-csillagosegbolt-park/. Mr. Gyarmath explained to EarthSky that the observatory “can be used at scheduled programs, but also can be visited if somebody writes a letter or calls our visitor centre,” using the online form at http://www.hnp.hu/en/szervezeti-egyseg/tourism/oldal/hnp-visitor-center/. Mr. Gyarmath further adds that stargazers can also benefit from periodically checking the following website: http://www.hnp.hu/hu/szervezeti-egyseg/turizmus/hortobagyi-csillagosegbolt-park/oldal/javasolt-megfigyelohelyek/.
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