The application documents, in cooperation with the Kaptárkő Nature Protection and Cultural Association, were made by the Bükk National Park Directorate (BNPD), operating the starry sky park.
The Bükk Mountains, and the Bükk Plateau, is the area with the highest average height in Hungary, which, together with its very little light pollution, is especially suitable for night observations, since through the thinner air layer the dimmer sky phenomena at night can be seen more clearly. From the Bükk Mountains, emerging from the stratus occasionally filling the Carpathian Basin, you can make observations even when there is no possibility for this in any other part of the country.
Besides the phenomena of the sky, also the wonders of the dark forest, like the swarming of fireflies, can be observed excellently in the starry sky park. The operation of the park contributes to the decrease, or the elimination of light pollution, and to the protection of the special wildlife, among them with priority of the bat population of the Bükk Mountains on the long run. All the more so, that in the management project of BNP there are directions with priority about preventing, eliminating light pollution, as well. In the past years, the replacement of lamps was carried out in many places in order to decrease light pollution. The most spectacular stage of this was when the lighting of Répáshuta was modernized in 2018, and the complete public lighting system of the settlement became free of light pollution.
That was the time when the idea about setting up an astronomical visitor center in the heart of the Bükk Mountains started. There were several locations considered as the most ideal place for the Bükk Astronomical Observatory, then we picked an area 635 m high, known as the “smithy” by the locals. A local public forum in Répáshuta took place before actually we chose the place of the observatory, and it turned out, the local community was very happy with and supported the development plans of our directorate. For several decades, along this mountain ridge, lime-burning and charcoal-burning was carried out, and after these activities stopped, the abandoned pits were unfortunately used as garbage dumps, which also got weedy. On this troubled location the construction of the Bükk Astronomical Observatory started. With the stone cover of certain parts of the building, and with the lime-stone, and also with a reconstruction of a lime-burning pit we would like to render a tribute to the past, thus acknowledging and paying respect to the craft not existing any more in the Bükk Mountains. From the infrastructural point of view, it was very important that the place must be easily accessible (it can be found directly along road 2505), and all the public utilities essential in the operation of a 21st century visitor center must be available. A new bus stop was also built, so the Bükk Astronomical Observatory is available by regular buses, without transfer, even from the capital city of the country. There was an almost 350-meter long overhead cable in front of the observatory, and it was replaced with underground cables, so to help astronomical observations, and this way the cables will not disturb the perfect view. From the point of view of the surrounding area, the building beautifully blends into the landscape of the Bükk Mountains, it is not ostentatious. However, its outward appearance, its spectacular contour makes it unique and unmistakable.
Architect of the observatory: Csaba Németh – Timpanon Architects Office
Contractor: Magyar Mélyépítő Kft. and Peracto Kft
The budget of the investment and its supporter: HUF 1,275 million, Government Commissioner’s Office Responsible for Active Hungary
Beginning and end of construction: Apr 15, 2020 – Jan 30, 2022