Tanya – The isolated farm

The isolated farm (tanya) is the traditional style of housing on the Great Plain of Hungary.The main house, consisting of residential and agricultural buildings, is surrounded by extensive fields and meadows, not unlike an island in an ocean.

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The family spends most, if not all of the year here, tending the garden, fields, and stock. In bygone days, it was disparaging to say that someone “came from an isolated farm,” since it implied that the person was poor, backward, or even slow-witted.

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Now, however, the meaning of the phrase has changed and it awakens feelings of nostalgia. If poultty and eggs offered for sale on markets are tanyasi (from an isolated farm), this is desirable, since it brings to mind idyllic scenes of hens scrabbling freely in open fields, rather than of poultry factories and battery farms.

And increasing numbers of stressed city-dwellets spend vacations with friendly farmers in the countryside, to seek peace and rest.