08 December 2012

The gothic Zichy chapel of Lórév

Those who wander often on the danubian floodplains, will soon receive immunity against finding weird things in the riverine forests and meadows. I have seen many extraordinary things, such as mororcross tracks, alpine flowers, thujas escaped from gardens, trash thrown out of ships, slag from ancient steamboats, 30 million years old fossils, and even malls. Well, now I have seen one gothic chapel too.

This small chapel next to Lórév can be recognised from the opposite side of the Danube. It floats as an ethereal spectacle, and one can not understand how did this phenomenal catholic building got here, next to this small village, inhabited mostly by orthodox serbs. It is as weird, as if we find a thatched house in downtown Budapest.

This chapel is part of the danubian landscape since 1859. It stands right where count Ödön Zichy was executed by Arthúr Görgey on september 30th, 1848. The count was member of the Főrendiház (hungarian house of lords) and had royalist documents and propaganda with him in his coach in time of the Hungarian revolution. Despite the revoultions main demand: free press, the count was hanged. Upon his gallows and grave a small neo-gothic chapel was built by the orders of emperor I. Francis Joseph. Since this place was a floodplain then, they had to build a mound first, so the high waters can not reach its gate. So this chapel is also a sign of the XIX. century high water mark. Thats why man has to climb uphill first, then take the stone steps to get to the entrance. The keys can be found at the ferry house, next to the Adony crossing. When visiting the ferry house, man should take the time to look for the scratched water mark on the wall.

In the sanctuary only a white gothic altar and a rough and ready exhibition on local history can be found. These six information tableau are the only fixtures in the room. Alas, the old furniture was destroyed and no picture remained of it. Behind the chapel, there is the levee, which protects the Csepel Island from the Danube. It is much higher than the chapel mound. Aspen plantation stands between them.

When we looked around we saw shining water ponds on the fields. If the scratching on the ferry house is right, the whole meadow as well as the aspen trees are covered by the Danube when flooding. 

When the chapel was built, there were two islands on the Lórév side, somewhat downstream from the ferry. These islands have seen the count taken from the Transdanubian side to his execution. Both became part of the Csepel Island later. 

It is a miracle that the Zichy chapel survived the revoultions and regime changes. I. Francis Josephs name was stripped off the facade, its sanctuary was destroyed, statues were crushed by the modern age barbarism. but the building remained intact and it has been renovated years ago. Despite the roof is leaky again and the mortar is falling from the walls like tables it still stands. With a little care it could be a popular tourist attraction in the southern Csepel Island. Because it is the most attractive monument of the Hungarian danubian floodplains.

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