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Tolna County is one of the 19 counties of Hungary, situated in the southern part of the Transdanubian region. Tolna is the smallest county in Hungary, comprising only 4% of the Transdanubian region. The area shares its western border with Somogy County. To the north Tolna is bordered by Fejér County, and to the south by Baranya County. The eastern border follows the river Danube, which separates Tolna from Bács-Kiskun County. Tolna stretches over 3703.31 kilometers squared of varied territory. A high diversity of geographical conditions characterizes the county. The eastern parts, situated in close proximity to the Danube river, are characterized by flat topography and floodplains.[2] The mountainous part of the region is represented by the Külső-Somogy hills, continuing to the Kapos-Koppány hills and the Tolna highlands in the west, as well as the southern outliers of the Mecsek Mountains. Some of the region's more prominent rivers in addition to the Danube are Kapos, Koppány, Sárvíz, Lajvér, and Donáét.[6] Szekszárd city has been the county's capital since 1905. Other significant agglomerations are Dombóvár and Paks. However, none of these cities exceed 34,000 inhabitants. The lack of big cities is another characteristic trait of Tolna County. The county itself consists of six self-governing districts, with a total population of approximately 227,996 inhabitants. [2]

What Tolna is known for

Gemenc Forest, situated in Tolna County, along the Danube river, is the largest floodplain forest in Europe. The forest is 30 km long and features a unique ecosystem, where rare species such as waterfowl, roe deer, wild boar, and red deer with world-record-sized antlers can be found. The forest is open for tourists and can be traversed by bicycle, canoe, on foot, or on a narrow-gauge forest railway.[7] Another unique natural sight of the region is Gyulaj Game Reserve, situated on 29,000 hectares of forests. The area is recognized for its wildlife, which Gyulaj Forestry & Hunting state company manages. The area consists of four different hunting grounds. The area also features hunting lodges, open for touristic accommodation.[8]

Concerning historical and cultural sights of the territory, the area of the Sárköz Region is predominant in that regard. A community of five villages situated alongside the Danube river is generally recognized for its distinctive style of folk art and costumes. The traditions and original houses are upheld in this region until this day.[9] Another historic site is the Castle of Simontornya, built in the 13th-century in Renaissance style. The castle was modified by practically every family that inherited it. During the occupation, the castle became a central part of the Ottoman-era sandjak. The castle nowadays features a museum open to tourists.[10]

Another sought-after destination is the city of Paks, located on the eastern border of the County, on Danube shores. The city has the only nuclear power plant in Hungary, which provides about 40% of the country's electricity consumption.[11] For this reason, an Atomic Energy Museum is located in Paks, featuring various expositions and hands-on experiences. [12] Paks is one of the main towns of the Tolna Wine District. It was settled by Swabian Germans and in current times the main Sárgödör Square features traditional Swabian press houses and wine cellars. [13]


Tolna County is described as being "one of the most diverse landscapes in the country." Tolna is situated at the confluence of the Transdanubian Hills and the Great Plain. The Danube borders it to the east. The whole territory is formed by a hilly, mountainous, and lowland landscape. The most uniform elevation in the county's territory is Sárköz, including the Danube floodplain. Sárköz stretches from the Sárvíz and the Szekszárd hills to the east. The surface is flat, divided by backwaters and gorges resulting from the proximity of the Danube. Gemenc Forest is what covers the floodplains in the area. Mezőföld is another significant plain of the territory, creating the westernmost part of the Great Plain. The southern parts of the Mezőföld are filled with water sediments, quicksand, wind furrows, and sand flats. Külső-Somogy, continuing to Kapos-Koppány hills and the Tolna highlands in the west and the southern outliers of the Mecsek Mountains, represent the hilly part of Tolna County, with an approximate height of 200-300 m. The surface is predominated by loess sediments and is divided by erosion valleys. Southern parts of the hills feature good agricultural areas. The most significant river in the Tolna region is the Danube, creating Tolna's eastern border.[2]

Tolna County doesn't dispose of any mineral wealth. Tolna has the second-largest food production in Hungary, as Békés County only surpasses it. Despite the fact that Tolna forest composition lags behind the national average. In the territory is situated the Gyulaj Game Reserve, a protected area, which is home to the rare European fallow deer. Gyulaj Hunting Hungary is a state-owned company concerned with big game management and belongs to Hungary's most significant big game companies.[4]

The climate of Tolna County is of temporary and variable nature. The climate of Transdanubian Hills is more balanced. The areas of Szekszárd experience more extreme conditions, similar to the Great Plain, typically.[2] 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]


Celtic tribes, mainly the Hercuniates tribe, inhabited Tolna territory since ancient times. The most significant settlement from that time is Regöly castle, where money was minted. By the first century BC, Romans settled the area of Transdanubia and Tolna territory as well. By the end of the first half of the century, a new Roman road network and settlement structure were established. The settlement structure is characteristic of that territory until this day. The Transdanubian area of the Roman Empire, called Pannonia, was essential at that time for Romans, primarily for military reasons. A fortified military line along the Danube was built, with lines securing the Empire's borders. Roman settlements were established in Tolna county as well, an example can be Dunakömlőd, Őcsény, Szigeth-puszta, and Várdomb. The Wosinsky Mór County Museum also houses several milestones and roadstones from that era.[1]

As a county itself, Tolna developed from a castle-centered manor organized during the time of St. Stephen. After the Tatar invasions during the Árpádian period, the new castles were built and served as shelters. During medieval times, Tolna County belonged to one of Hungary's wealthiest and most prosperous counties. The county's territory was larger than today and was inhabited by approximately 100,000 people. However, during the Turkish occupation in the 17th century, the county suffered losses, and development stopped. Only after the liberation did spontaneous resettlement and development occur again.[2] However, Tolna's territory decreased significantly due to the annexation to Baranya county. In the 18th century, several German families settled in the county. Simontornya was the capital city of Tolna until 1779. Nowadays, the county's capital is Szekszárd, which gained city status in 1905.[1]

One of the unique features of Tolna county is its absence of big cities. Except for the capital, Szekszárd, other bigger cities are Dombóvár and Paks. However, the population in any of them barely exceeds 34,000 inhabitants. Paks plays a role of an employment center, and Dombóvár is a transport hub. Concerning Tolna demographics, the county's most represented minorities are Germans and Romans, both contributing approximately 4% to the total population of Tolna. The most represented religion is Catholicism. More than half of Tolna County Council seats belong to the conservative right-wing coalition.[3]