Plane in Letenye
Species: London plane (Platanus acerifolia)
Age: 500 years years
Region: Letenye, Zala county, Hungaria
The five-hundred years old and 20 metres high plane tree is the most treasured possession in the castle park in Letenyi. The enormous park and the castle was built in the 18th Century by the dynasty of Szapáry earls that played an important role in forming and developing the town of Letenye. The plane has always played a central role in the public life of the settlement. It is a main symbol of the town and a beautiful place neighbouring the old castle and the new wooden library designed by Imre Makovecz and an outdoor thermal spa. Dates, balls, meetings, business meetings, town feasts, concerts and many other private and public events have been watched silently by this veteran. In the past, not only servants but also earls waited here for their beloved ones, now it is more teenagers who sitting on the benches with their mobile phone, laptop or MP3 player. These days, the plane still provides pleasure to everyone. Children like collecting leaves and crops there in the autumn and run around the tree every time of the year. Adults like taking a walk across the park and past the plane and newly wed couples take their wedding pictures in front of the tree. Earlier, outdoor balls used to be held in the shadow of the tree, these days people who achieved or did something outstanding with their work for Letenye are awarded here. Choir concerts, folklore events and rock concerts take place under the tree. The plane stands in the park, calm and majestic; everybody can feel the strength and power of the centuries. People of Letenye are very proud of it when they can show it to their guests and tourists. This old Methuselah well deserves care and attention, because it never complains about its wounds caused by time and irresponsible, thoughtless people. The people of the town try their best to protect the tree, its damage or destruction would be a big tragedy for everybody. The plane has inspired numberless poems, love letters, paintings and other works of art. In 2007, the 12-year-old Pálma Horváth was also inspired by the tree. In her short story, the trees in the park become alive every 125 year and have a feast. Some of the trees are dancing with the wind while others are telling stories to the younger trees about history the park. The high spot of their feast is when the old plane tree is talking about his childhood and a young, beautiful princess. Everybody is touched, they become silent. Then they have a last dance and the magic is over. The young narrator draws a conclusion that the nature is alive and the trees have a soul and a heart.