On January 1, 1977, a large part of Hungary's Bükk mountains was declared a national park, and to mark the 40th anniversary of the park’s founding, the Hungarian National Bank is issuing a 26.4 x 39.6 mm rectangular coin comes in two versions. The first is a 10,000 forint .925 silver proof issue (31.46 grams) and the second a 2,000 forint (30.80 grams) copper-nickel one in uncirculated quality. Each is limited to a mintage of just 5,000 pieces. This is the fourth coin issued in the National Parks of Hungary series.
The coin’s designer, Gábor Kereszthury, wanted to present the unique natural and cultural values of the park. The obverse bears the emblem of the National Park, the stemless carline thistle, while the reverse depicts Szeleta Cave, as seen from its interior. Szeleta Cave was the first site in Hungary where prehistoric human artefacts were discovered: after the Ice Age, the caves were inhabited for tens of thousands of years by members of the ‘Szeleta’ culture, which left behind bay leaf-shaped spearheads and other implements. One of these spearheads found in the cave and dated to about 40,000 years ago is shown in the composition on the back of the coin, separate from the main motif.Roughly 95% of the protected area is forested. The most common forest types in the Bükk mountains are turkey oak and oak, giving way to hornbeam-oak stands in higher regions and beech in areas above 1,950 feet. One forest reserve in the Bükk National Park (BNP) is the Old Forest, which has beech trees 180-200 years old. Extremely rare plants and animals live here, including the emblematic stemless carline thistle (carlina acaulis).
The mountains have been inhabited since pre-historic times, as evidenced by the finds of Neanderthal implements and bones in many of the caves. The practices of hunting and gathering were later replaced with mining (thanks to the highly calciferous stone), and lime-kilning, the production of potash glass, glass-working, iron smelting with bloomeries and foundries, timber and charcoal production (thanks to the large forests), and the making of handicrafts. Some of the peaks have earthen ramparts from the Iron Age, while others bear the crumbled walls of medieval castles.
The Directorate of the Bükk National Park is responsible for managing the protected natural values and areas, along with the areas protected under the Natura 2000 program and international nature protection conventions. The Directorate oversees one national park, 9 protected landscape regions and 14 nature preserves of national significance, as well as one World Heritage site (Old Village of Hollókő and Surroundings) and the nature conservation area ‘Ipolytarnóc Fossils’, which was awarded a European Diploma of Protected Areas. The world’s first cross-border geopark, the Novohrad-Nógrád Geopark, includes several protected natural areas. The goal of the geopark, which comprises 28 Slovak and 63 Hungarian settlements, is to preserve and present the geological, regional and cultural heritage of the area and its traditions.