Lake Balaton

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Lake Balaton is a freshwater lake in the Transdanubian region of Hungary. It is the largest lake in Central Europe,[1] and one of its foremost tourist destinations. As Hungary is landlocked, it is often affectionately called the "Hungarian Sea". The Zala River provides the largest inflow of water to the lake, and the canalized Sió is the only outflow.

The mountainous region of the Northern shore is known both for its historic character and as a major wine region, while the flat Southern shore is known for its resort towns. Balatonfüred and Hévíz developed early as resorts for the wealthy, but it wasn't until the late 19th century that landowners, their vines destroyed by lice, began building summer homes to rent out to the burgeoning middle classes.[2]

Contents

Name

In Hungarian, the lake is known as Balaton (nicknamed Balcsi). This name derives from the Slavic blato, mud, swamp (from earlier Pan-Slavic boltьno), and has no meaning in Hungarian.[citation needed] The Romans called the lake Lacus Pelso ("Lake Pelso").[citation needed] Pelso derives from a local name for the lake, perhaps from the Illyrian language, as the Illyrians once populated the region. Paleolinguists[who?] surmise that "Pelso" meant "shallow" in Illyrian; this deduction is based on a surmised Proto-Indo-European root *pels-.[citation needed]

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