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Somogy County is one of the 19 counties of Hungary, located in the Southern Transdanubian region, between Lake Balaton and river Drava. The county spreads out over an area of 6,036 km², which makes it the fifth-largest region in Hungary, covering approximately 6.5% of its territory. Somogy County is situated in the southernmost parts of Hungary, connecting to the country's state border with Croatia. The county borders Veszprém County in the north, Fejér County in the northeast, Tolna County in the east, Baranya County in the southeast, and Zala in the west. The capital city, Kaposvár, is located in close proximity to the county's eastern borders. The county's other significant agglomerations are Siófok, Marcali, Barcs, and Nagyatád. Concerning the Somogy landscape, it is often considered relatively unified. The highest mountain complex is Külső-Somogy in the central part of the county; however, the predominant feature of Somogy territory is the lake Balaton, which poses the county's northern border. [1] The county is divided into eight self-governing districts. Somogy is inhabited by approximately 312,084, ranking 13th most populated county in Hungary. [2]

What Somogy is known for

The predominant attraction of the Somogy region presumably is the Balaton Lake. Balaton is situated on the northern border of the county. It is the largest lake in Central Europe. Thus, the lake attracts a number of tourists and visitors every year. Balaton offers a variety of activities, from swimming, boating, water skiing, fishing, and sightseeing. One such sight is the Water Tower in Siófok, built-in 1912. The tower is 45 m high and overlooks the city and Balaton Lake as well. During wars, the tower was used for distributing drinkable water from the lake. Nowadays, the tower no longer stores water but is used as a lookout tower and spot for entertainment and relaxation, easily accessible by the panoramic elevator. The highest part of the tower rotates and also features a tower bar. [6] Another notable sight in Siófok is the Lutheran Church and Clergy House, built-in 1990. The church is a popular touristic destination, presumably for its unique architecture and interior and exterior design. [7]

Somogy is also known as a "county of castles." Over 50 castles in the Somogy territory are under state protection, and there are also over 110 castles of local significance. Inkey Castle belongs among them being built in 1750 by Gáspár Inkey, in Iharosberény. The castle features relatively extensive gardens. During the war, a military hospital was established in the castle, and since 1950, the castle has been used as a middle school until this day. Széchenyi Castle is another predominant attraction. The castle was built around 1680 by György Széchenyi in baroque style. The castle offers local history exhibitions as well. [8]


Somogy County is considered to be one of the least fragmented landscapes in Hungary. The county can be divided into three segments, Inner Somogy with an average altitude of 173 m above sea level, Outer Somogy with an average altitude of 186 m above sea level, and Zselice at 211 m above sea level. The three areas are divided by numerous valleys, allowing more accessible transport to various parts of the territory. The highest peak of the Somogy territory is the Gyugy ridge at an altitude of 312 m above sea level. Gyugy ridge is part of the Külső-Somogy mountain complex, located in the northern central part of the region. [1]

The largest water area of Somogy County is Balaton, situated in the northern-most part of the territory. Balaton is a freshwater lake and also the largest lake in Central Europe. The area located to the south of the Balaton is relatively flat. The biggest tributary to Balaton Lake is the river Zala. Lakes' primary outflow is the Sió River. Another significant water flow of the Somogy territory is the river Drava, which forms the state border with Croatia to the south. [1]

The Somogy territory belongs to the Southern Transdanubian region, which is phytogeographical. A mixture of typical Hungarian and Western flora can be found there. Concerning the region's fauna, the features are of Central European character. Predatory fauna is represented mainly by wildcats and martens. Some of the rarer species are weasels and ferrets. The Balaton Lake area represents a significant reservoir of species diversity. Approximately 300 bird species and 50 fish species inhabit the Lake Balaton area. [1]

Somogy County is located on the Marine west coast and warm summer climatic area. The county's yearly temperature is 13.36ºC, which is a bit higher than the country's average. Somogy receives approximately 76.99 millimeters of precipitation and has an average of 122.09 rainy days throughout the year.[4] The warmest month is July, with an average daily temperature of 26°C. January is the coldest month, with an average temperature of 1.0°C. The driest month is February, with an average of 32.0 mm of rainfall. The most precipitation falls during June with an average of 84.0 mm. July, with 293 hours, gets the most sunshine on average.[5]


The archeological excavations have shown that Somogy county has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Roman settlements of a city historically called Pelso were found there as well; however, almost all of today's settlements bare some archeological remains of Roman settlements, as the area was part of Pannonia, a Roman Empire. A significant depopulation occurred during the Turkish occupation, as inhabitants fled the oppression. Serbs resettled the location under the orders of the Ottoman Empire. Somogy County, due to its' position, was crucial in most of the war conflicts. For example, during World War I and II, the troops were evacuated through Somogy. [1]

The dormant state of Somogy County was interrupted by the railway construction, leading to an increase in economy, business, and overall development. The first railway was built in 1861, alongside the shores of Lake Balaton. In 1872, a railway between Dombóvár and Zákány was completed, inducing the development of the capital city, Kaposvár. At that time, a sugar company and mill were established in the town, attracting not only traders but also inhabitants; however, World War I ended by signing off the Treaty of Trianon, prepared at the Paris Peace Conference. Its main objective was to provide war reparations from Hungary to its neighboring states. These events stopped the rapid development of Somogy County as well. By the fifties, Hungary became an “iron and steel” country as the heavy industry started to develop. Yet, in Somogy, the light industry was established. Such an example can be a textile plant in Kaposvár. [1]

Nowadays, Somogy County's leading objective is tourism due to the Balaton Lake and the number of thermal springs in its proximity. The county's economy is also influenced by agriculture. Somogy County exports cereals, grapes, fruits, and wood. Fish and game breeding play a role in the county's economy as well. [3]The population is composed of a number of minorities, the precedent of over 5% have Gypsies, followed by around 1% of Germans. Concerning religious composition, the predominant religion is Catholicism. Most of the Somogy County Council seats are occupied by conservative or right-wing parties. [2]