Countless tourists from all over Europe come to Lake Balaton for an unforgettable and chilling holiday in lovely lakeside towns, such as Siófok, the Hungarian Ibiza, or Tihany, the realm of lavenders. Yet, the main street of Balaton, Tagore Promenade can be found in Balatonfüred, which has a reputation of the capital of northern coast. Füred, how Hungarians just simply call it, by the way, counts as the sixth most popular city in Hungary - based on the number of tourist overnights. One of the main attractions that Hungarians know this place for is the town’s charming promenade. And it’s not accidental. This promenade is the most attractive in summer, but its winter side can also be wonderful by the shore of the “Hungarian Sea”. Please come with me and get to know one of my favourite Hungarian avenues - the greenest street at Lake Balaton.
First of all, you might ask, what Tagore could mean, and what a strange word it is. Well, Tagore was actually the surname of a former Indian Nobel-Prize-winner writer, Rabindranath Tagore, who spent about three weeks in a sanatorium in Balatonfüred. He was the very first non-European writer who received the prestigious Nobel Prize in literature back in 1913. Tagore visited a renowned sanatorium in Balatonfüred at the age of 65, due to cardiovascular complaints. After a three-week treatment he reached so much development with the help of his doctor, Sándor Korányi, that he wished to plant a tree by the town’s lakeside street. He even wrote a little rhyme to make his healing and his tree’s planting more memorable. Locals afterwards decided to rename their street after Tagore in the honour of their kind and acknowledged visitor.
Later on, numerous other well-known personalities followed Tagore’s example and planted their own tree here at the Promenade. To provide a few examples, Bertalan Farkas, the first Hungarian astronaut, Viktor Orbán, Hungarian Prime Minister, but even Tagore’s compatriot, Mahatma Gandhi has done it here. So, it became a unique tradition for famous and prestigious individuals, both Hungarians and foreigners, to plant at least one tree in Balatonfüred. Not to mention the local citizens, who have been considering their own mission to make Füred as green as possible, ever since Rabindranath Tagore’s visit. I firmly believe every single city in the world should have this kind of initiative.
Beyond the trees, another of the Tagore Promenade’s famous attractions is the statue of István Bujtor, a former Hungarian actor who passed away in 2009. To identify him the best possible way as a foreigner, he was the voice actor of Bud Spencer in Hungary. Of course, for Hungarians he was so much more, considering his always-gripping performances in countless Bud Spencer-like Hungarian action movies. The statue was launched in 2013, a century after Tagore’s Nobel Prize, and ever since, Bujtor has been able to guard the order for good. Altogether, there are about 50 plaques, 15 public statues, several monuments and uncountable trees planted in gratitude for different reasons. Balatonfüred is really a peaceful and gorgeous place and with its greenest street at Lake Balaton, it will always remain a beloved town for me.
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