28 December 2013

Between the woods and the water - From Orsova to the bridge of Traian

Patrick Leigh Fermor's entry on the Iron Gates gorge will guide us between Orsova and the bridge of emperor Traian in Turnu-Severin. This is the place where the Danube leaves the Carpathian Mountains, and flows on the Walachian Plains until reaching the Black Sea. You won't recognise anymore the landscape Fermor has seen. Since the Iron Gate dam was built in 1972 most of the landmarks mentioned in Fermor's journals are under water now.

28 November 2013

The duck of Linz

In the City of Wien, the people still remember the greatest flood along Danube, from Regensburg to the Kingdom of Hungary. They still remember, despite it happened 500 years ago, and the chance it would happen again is very low. In July and August of 1501. the heaviest rainfall hit the forehill region of the Alps in Austria and Germany causing a flood never seen before. North from the Danube basin, along the Elbe and the Oder vast deluge flooded the lands, just like back in Noah’s age.

High water mark collection in Passau (photo: cruises.about.com)

09 November 2013

Makovecz’s wooden mushroom at the Vác ferry

Aunties – like my grandmother used to be – are slowly dying out from our modern world. They used to rebuke without hesitation and fear the young vandals, those who swear, litter and drop their cigarette stubs. They used to notice immediately if a tile was missing from the church’s roof and the y hurried to the vicar to have it replaced. This entry is for the memory of these aunties. I hope one day we will be able to grow up to them from this recent „this is none of my business” mentality.

From zingel to pipefish - Tack diary of the 3rd Joint Danube Survey

We got to the end of September and the Joint Danube Survey 3 was also finished. The researchers have already gone home, the samples have been taken into laboratories and the ships have been navigated into their harbours. Then the work will continue within the four walls and the results are expected by the next year. On the one and a half month voyage new friendships, contributions of knowledge were born and there was a great pleasure for the Donau Inseln was shared in the researchwork. I have been thinking a lot what I should finish this expedition with, and at last I was led to the conclusion that I will end with the results of the concretest and the most spectacular project: the fish. Anyway they are hardly represented on this page, but in the gallery of JDS3 webpage many different types of fish can be seen which got in the boat and I have heard of them mostly from books.

24 October 2013

Almost everything about the Danube

"From the Black Forest to the Black Sea" and second part "Between Flood and Frost" represents almost everything the Donauinseln blog is about. Sediment crisis due to hydroelectric power plants, life on the floodplains, the Delta, the Iron Gates, fish, game, birds, urban landscape, river history, geology, the debate on the source of the Danube, the Rhine-Danube war over the catchment area, mayflower swarming, the Wachau, etc. I must admit that not every post had been translated yet from the Hungarian Dunaiszigetek blog, but until I am finished with the remaining 200 posts please enjoy this two nature films, the essence of my two blogs.


20 October 2013

The ten largest Hungarian island on the Danube in 1878

I happened to came across the catholic priest and Hungarian Academy member Tivadar Ortvay's (Theodor Orthmayer) decription on the islands of the Danube. This article was published in the 15 th volume of the "Mathematikai és Természettudományi Közlemények" (Bulletin for Mathematics and Natural Sciences) in 1878. The relation of the shape, direction, area and the height of the banks of the Hungarian Danubian islands was written in the style of the mid 19th century geographical view, with a lot of  statistic descriptions. This article became obsolete almost in the moment it was published! It had been written before the large regulation works started on the Danube naming almost all (!) of the Danubian islands. This time islands still moved, changed their shape, direction, area and the height of their banks. Despite all, this work gives us a priceless snapshot on the state of the Danubian islands in 1878.

In this post we only discuss the most interesting part: the aspects of the islands area.

11 October 2013

Between the woods and the water - The cauldrons of Kazan

Patrick Leigh Fermor started his journey in the summer of 1934, from the Netherlands to Constantinople on foot. He was only 19 years old then. The young englishman arrived to Hungary at Easter, 1935 when crossing the bridge near Esztergom over the Danube. Thanks to the sympathy of the pro-British Hungarian aristocracy he had spent the time of his life. He was wandering through Hungary and Transylvania from castles to mansions. He was warmly welcomed everywhere, and he was really surprised that he could have spoken to everyone in his own mother tounge.  He wrote his journals during this trip in which he mentioned the life in the Buda castle as well as sleeping with nomad gypsies. He visited the cemetery of Segesvár (Sighișoara, Schäßburg) and watched the eagles soar above the Carpathian mountains. He did not know, but he described a condemned society which had less then ten more years before it completely disappeared. With all the rural beetle collecting aristocracy, just like in Agatha Christie's novels.  Mr. Fermor tells also a tale of a long lost view of the Lower-Danube, which we present you on the Donauinseln blog.

08 October 2013

Between the woods and the water - Rose-petal jam of Ada Kaleh

One of the most important parts of the journals of Patrick Leigh Fermor is describing Ada Kaleh between the two world war. This little island, drowned in the name of 'progress' comes alive once more. Turkish language fills the summer air with smell of coffee, they linger together on the narrows streets, we can hear the hodja's voice from the minaret stuck in the ground like a sprear, while the old river - the Danube gently embraces the fortress island. This ethereal view can only be observed through Fermor's lines.

After the bridge at Turnu Severin, the doctor travelled on to Craiova and I caught a bus back to Orsova, picked up my stuff, bought a ticket for the next day's boat, then walked a couple of miles downstream again and found a fisherman to scull me out to the little wooded island I had my eye on ever since rejoining the Danube.
I had heard much talk of Ada Kaleh in recent weeks, and read all I could find. The name means 'island fortress' in Turkish. It was about a mile long, shaped like a shuttle, bending slightly with the curve of the current and lying a little closer to the Carpathian than the Balkan shore. It has been called Erythia, Rushafa and then Continusa, and, according to Apollonius Rhodius, the Argonauts dropped anchor here on their way back from Colchis. How did Jason steer the Argo through the Iron Gates? And the the Kazan? Medea probably lifted the vessel clear of the spikes of magic. Some say Argo reached the Adriatic by overland portage, others that she crossed it and continued up to the Po, mysteriously ending in North Africa. Writers have tentatively suggested that the first wild olive to be planted in Attica might have come from here. But it was later history that had invested the little island with fame.

03 October 2013

Between the woods and the water - Ada Kaleh, the drowned island

It has been 40 years ago the Romanian authorities flooded dozen Danubian villages upstream the Iron Gate gorge in the name of „progress”. Patrick Leigh Fermor returned here once more, and devoted the epilogue of his book ’Between the woods and the water’ to this appalling devastation. Ada Kaleh, this little island with the Turkish inhabitants were forced to move to Simian Island downstream the hydroelectric station. Thier mosque has also been moved with the old fortress, but just like the old trees, their community did not survive. They disappeared in every corner of the world. Everything has fled.

Thoughts at a Café Table Between the Kazan and the Iron Gates

Progress has now placed the whole of this landscape underwater. A traveller sitting at my old table on the quay at Orsova would have to peer at the scenery through a thick brass-hinged disc of glass; this would frame a prospect of murk and slime, for he would be shod in lead and peering out of a diver’s helmet linked by a hundred feet of breathing-tube to a boat stationed eighteen fathoms above his head. Moving a couple of miles downstream, he would fumble his way on to the waterlogged island and among the drowned Turkish houses; or, upstream, flounder among the weeds and rubble choking Count Széchenyi’s road and peer across the dark gulf at the vestiges of Trajan on the other side; and all round him, above and below, th dark abyss would yawn and the narrows where currents once rushed and cataracts shuddered from bank to bank and echoes zigzagged along the vertiginous clefts would be sunk in diluvian silence. Then perhaps, a faltering sunbeam might show the foundered wreck of a village; then another, and yet another, all swallowed in mud.

He could toil many days up these cheerless soundings, for Rumania and Yugoslavia have built one of the world’s biggest ferro-concrete dams and hydro-electric power plants across the Iron Gates. This has turned a hundred and thirty miles of the Danube into a vast pond which has swollen and blurred the course of the river beyond recognition. It has abolished canyons, turned beetling crags into mild hills and ascended the beautiful Cerna valley almost to the Baths of Hercules. many thousands of the inhabitants of Orsova and the riparian hamlets had to be uprooted and transplanted elsewhere. The islanders of Ada Kaleh have been moved to another islet downstream and their old home has vanished under the still surface as though it had never been. let us hope that the power generated by the dam has spread well-being on either bank and lit up Rumanian and Yugoslav towns brighter than ever because, in everything but economics, the damage is irreparable. Perhaps, with time and fading memories, people will forget the extent of their loss.

Simian, the "new Ada Kaleh" island

20 September 2013

Wild Szigetköz

One of the most beautiful nature film of Hungary was introduced two years ago by Zoltán Török. Wild hungary is also available in English language, and there was a teaser of it on the Donauinseln blog. The co-director and cameraman of Wild Hungary, Szabolcs Mosonyi now made his own nature film about one of Europe's largest Danubian floodplain area, the Szigetköz. This alluvium is situated in northwestern Hungary, near the Slovakian border. This film has mostly plants and animals as main characters, but humans and their effect to the enviroment could not have been ignored. The director also captured the effect of the changes in the environment of the last two decades which was caused by the Gabcíkovo hydroelectric dam. I hope you will like Wild Szigetköz as you liked Wild Hungary before. Do enjoy these two trailers, hopefully they will be narrated in English or other languages soon. The premier will take place at Uránia cinema in Budapest on the 3rd of October 7 p. m.

Good news, Zoltán Török has started the second part of Wild Hungary!

Information on the Wild Szigetköz (Hungarian language only) on facebook and Szabolcs Mosonyi's webpage.

04 September 2013

Danubian mayfly swarming, 2013

Last year finally the media also noticed blooming is not only the privilege of the Tisza river, the Ephoron virgo may-flies started to swarm on the banks of the Danube. Some may thought this was only an unique and unrepeatable event. They were not right. Despite the record flood this June we will not miss the little may-flies this year. Good news: the Danube will bloom this year as well.

We have already received pictures and description from Tahitótfalu and Budapest, but we expect more from our readers. It is worthy to take your camera with you when taking a walk next to the Danube!

27 August 2013

A day with the 3rd Joint Danube Survey

I got the opportunity to join the 3rd Joint Danube Survey (JDS3) for one day almost in the last minute from Béla Csányi, leader of the core team. This was going to be a freat chance to experience altt the samplong and preparation that is going on board of the two ships, Istros and Argus. The expedtition took off from Regensburg, Germany twoo weeks ago, and after an unscheduled stop at Göd (two of the hungarian members are from this town) we were taken to the ships at seven in the morning. The destination was the Deák Ferenc bridge downstream Budapest, which was the 22nd sampling site out of the total 68. 

15 August 2013

Macedonia's way to the Danube

Macedonia (the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) received an observer status in the Danube Commission (DC) in December 2013 on the commissions’ 79. session. The DC was formed in 1948, Beograd and their aim is to help river navigation. Until 1998 only those countries were members which had direct access to the river. Although Macedonia’s membership is less surprising than France, or Cyprus, but it still needs to be explained. Instead of analyzing the economic benefits of the status let us find the geographical link between Macedonia and the Danube.

The relief of Macedonia

06 August 2013

Community gardening by the Danube

Urban guerilla gardening? New kind of street art? Community gardening which uses every free square inch? Or maybe a civil movement to draw attention to the decaying Budapest embankments? Who planted vegetables under the Elizabeth bridge?

06 July 2013

Life on the floodplains of Kismaros

I did not know about this workshop in Kismaros, until Szilveszter Aradi sent me an e-mail that they had finished with this nature film. The Mátyásfa Environment Protection Association together with the Kisduna Newspaper made a 20 minute long film on the nature and species of the Kismaros floodpalins. The shooting started in February and lasted until May, so they have captured aspects of three seasons. I am quite happy about mentioning my name in this film, because the creators used some of my maps and aerial photographs previously published on the blog. It may help the audience knowing their way around.

03 July 2013

1956 - War against the Danube

The Hungarian People’s Army takes the main role in this half propaganda documentary film made in 1956 about the last ice flood in Hungary. The main characters are not the tommies filling sandbags on the levee, but real weapons. In this case “fighting the flood” means literally fighting. A bomb squad is laying mines on the ice beneath the Kossuth Bridge in Budapest, mortar men near the Yugoslavian border are bombing the accumulated ice shield. And since this is far from enough, also bombers of the Hungarian air force attacks the frozen river. This is like a mimic warfare in the Cold War era with real causalities. They say the lock near Tass was not damaged by the ice, but more likely it was destroyed by bombs.

25 June 2013

Rare pictures of the great Danube flood in year 2002

In connection with the recent Danubian flood articles often mention the record-breaking 2002. August flood. Indeed that was also a great flood, but later, in 2006 it was followed by an even greater flood in the Danube-bend, Hungary. But how high was the water in 2002? Standing on the riverside it is hard to imagine the size of the flooded area. When the Danube fills its riverbed, a human eye can tell which is the bank and which is the river. When flooding – except for towns and cities – riverside lost its meaning, the sharp boundaries between water and solid ground fades away on meadows and riverine forests. In these cases flying over the river makes easier to understand the extent of the flooded area.

Lines of trees outline the old island cores on The Szentendrei Island

22 June 2013

430 meters

430 meters. An adult walks this distance in about 3-4 minutes. The world record for 400 meters flat race is 43 seconds. Such wide is the Danube at Budapest, between Kossuth tér and Batthyány tér. Actually, this is not a great distance. Such long Danube bank was given to the Republic of Moldova, out of the rivers total 2840 kilometers. 0,015 %. What can they do with such short riverbank? 

03 June 2013

Pamätné tabule ľadovej povodne z roku 1838 v meste Ostrihom

Históriu spúšte ľadovej povodne poznáme najmä z udalostí v Budapešti. Barón Miklóš Wesselényi a gróf Széchenyi István v svojich pamätiach opísali udalosti takmer z minúty na minútu. Ako nastalo nakopenie ľadu, ako sa pretrhli hrádze, ako zaliala voda ulice. Preto sa často stáva, že túto povodeň nazývame Budapeštianska. Táto povodeň ale narobila škody po celej dĺžke Dunaja, od Nyergesújfalu až po Moháč. Medzi prvými zatopenými mestami bolo aj mesto Ostrihom. Ako pamätné memento ostali po celom meste v kameni zamrznuté ruky na mramorových tabuliach, ktoré ukazujú dátum a hladinu vody pri tejto udalosti. Vydajme sa spolu vypátrať, aký bol v tom čase skutočný stav Dunaja v tomto kráľovskom meste.


02 June 2013

Largest flood on the Danube?

Today, Sunday, 2nd of June 2013. the gauging station at Passau showed 1085 cm, a higher value than the 2002 flood, but still lower than the 1954 flood (1220 cm). According to the rising trend of the Passau gauging station we are sure that there will be a new record soon. The German Bundeswehr took control of the flood defence in the city, the major declared a state of emergency. In May, the precipitation was 178% of the long-term average rainfall, and the flood alert service forecasts heavy rains for the next days. Preparation is advised for countries along the lower section of the Danube.
Passau, Schaubling tower at flood and average water (source: commons.wikipedia)

30 May 2013

Fish in the tower – The sunken fort of Drencova

We already brought on the sunken Ada kaleh Island as a painful memento of the Iron Gate I. Hydroelectric Power Station, installed exactly 40 years ago. This small Turkish Island is the most renown victim of the 33 meter water level rise. Apart from this island, there were many other islands, castles, ruins, towns, roads which disappeared in 1972. This entry is about a small fort, soon to be disappear. East of the village Berzasca, Romania at the small ship-station of Drencova there is a stream called Suva Recka (Dry stream in Serbian). Here we find the ruins of Fort Drencova.

28 May 2013


The ancient Roman castrum of Lussonium is situated on a long hill over the Danube in Dunakömlőd, Tolna county, Hungary. While watching this animated film on the reconstruction of the old fort, we may recall, that the Roman Danubian Ripa (common: Limes Romanus) is possible to be a next UNESCO World Heritage site. This tender will not be submitted on national level, like Pannonhalma, but will join all the Danubian countries: Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria, from the source to the delta. The reason, we are interested in this matter, is the changes of the river course happened in the last 1600 years. Roman defensive structures, made by one will, at the same time draws the Danube’s course in the ancient times. Many of the watchtowers, legionary camps were partly washed away by floods, sunken in the river bed. By their locations we may conclude the places of old fords, water level and running of the ancient river banks.

24 May 2013

Tunnel under the Danube between Nagymaros and Visegrád

There are many legends in the Hungarian folklore about tunnels under the Danube. Where once a Roman watchtower, a medieval castle, or any kind of bigger ruin stood on the banks of the Danube we can be sure that the locals have the knowledge about a mysterious tunnel leadning to the other side. Most of these tales are just fantasies, in any era it was much cheaper to row, than to dig. I know about only one tunnel under the Danube that exists. And fortunately its owner, The Danube Regional Waterworks Co. opens this tunnel for the public once a year. After short organizing twenty-three of us started our 550 meter (600 yards) journey. 

It is always a great experience to cross the Danube on dry feet. Between Visegrád and Nagymaros this opportunity existed only once, when Emperor Franz Joseph personally lead a combat training exercise, which had a part to construct a pontoon bridge across the river.

18 May 2013

The mysterious disappearance of the Great War Island in 1941

It happened on the same day, when German battleship, Bismarck sunk Hood, the pride of the British fleet at coasts of Greenland. On May 24th, 1941, the Royal Hungarian 1./3. TF flying squadron conducted aerial photography over the recently occupied Serbian capital, Beograd. With these pictures the Hungarian High Command wanted to refresh the outdated sections of the Third Military Survey (made before 1914.) The photographed area overstreched the current borders of Hungary, they flew over Serbia, western Romania and Southern Transylvania. It was very likely that these countries were forgotten to inform about this action.

This is how the Serbian capital looked like from a bird’s eye view on may 24th, 1941. According to the shadows on this picture we can tell that the photos was taken early in the morning, from which the cartographers later joined this 6065/3 section. We still see traces of war, even from this height. The middle of the railway bridge, overarching the Danube towards the Banat is missing. The bridge I. Alexander leading to Zemun is also disappeared, probably sunken in the Sava river.

Fig. 1. Section 6065/3 Beograd. Archives of the Hungarian Military Museum

28 April 2013

Like wax on a dead island's face - last drawings of Ada Kaleh

In summers of 1964, 1965 and 1967 the Romanian island, Ada Kaleh was swarmed by students. They arrived from the Ion Micu University, Bucharest and their task was to make an achitectural survey of the area which will be flooded by buliding the Iron Gate hydroelectic power plant. Their aim was to document the monuments to be demolished, and to make plans for those buildings to be reconstruct later. It was like pouring wax on a dead island's face. The drawings remained in a hand-written, photocopied folder. With these artworks we can look inside the last days of this disappeared island. When these students put down their pencils, the deconstruction took place immediately. 

27 April 2013

Sea of flowers in the Danube bend

Spring has come late and gone early this year. At first signs of good weather increasing number of cyclists started to run over the Danube bend. Since the bike path was finished between Szob and Budapest every year more and more townspeople are itching to go to the nature with their bikes. Fortunately or unfortunately many of them are not stopping to admire the subtle beauty of nature. This way the flowers are not being tread on, and the wild animals are not disturbed. That’s why I was insecure and stalled to write this post for two years now. After the bike path leaves Kismaros, from the left a beautiful but hidden meadow stretches towards the Danube. This is the Duna Rét-Island, a colorful sea of flowers.

Tall buttercup, meadow buttercup (Ranunculus acris)

05 April 2013

Farewell, little island!

The other day, someone shared this short animated film on the Danube Islands facebook page. I watched it immediately, and in the subsequent absolute silence I told myself that others must see this! Ada Kaleh, the small Turkish Danubian island found its watery grave 40 years ago, when the Iron Gate dam was built between Romania and Serbia.

The director, Sándor Reisenbüchler not only commemorates the loss of Ada Kaleh (Fortress Island in Turkish language). There were other “riverside developments” in years 1986/1987. We may recall the story of the small Transylvanian village, Bözödújfalu (Bezidou Nou). The communist regime in Romania decided to build a reservoir in its valley. They begin to relocate the Hungarian villagers in 1985. Clothes, patterns, houses and the people appearing in the animated film are a clear reference what has happened in Bözödújfalu. The church tower emerging from a lake is a symbol of this devastation.
But there is another meaning of this film. In those years the Czechoslovakian government has just began to construct another dam on the Danube at Bős (Gabcíkovo). There is a feeling, that once happened in the Iron Gates can happen again, now in the Szigetköz (Hungarian-Slovakian border) and in the Danube Bend. The Islands of Zebegény, Helemba, Fogarasi and Törpe could also disappear. Fortunately emerging waves of protest caused this plan partly abandoned when the communist regimes were collapsed in Central Europe. Perhaps because they also watched Farewell, little island then!

This film is not for the faint-hearted!

Thanks for the link, Pál Szabó! And thanks for sharing!

29 March 2013

The evanescent Pap Island of Szentendre

Szentendre is a small town, situated just north from Budapest, on the banks of the Danube. Whenever you have the chance to visit this small and beautiful baroque town take your time to visit also the town’s popular leisure center: the Pap Island. It has seen better times, concerning its existence as an island. Once the Danube had so wide and deep side-branch that man could pull vessels upstream on it. But nowadays, especially in autumn, when the river usually has very little water this side-branch is almost completely dried out (apart from some deep holes in the riverbed). My last trip on this island has made me think that the Pap Island is very much likely will disappear from the maps, unless there is an intervention. There is already a willow-forest connecting the trees of right bank with the riverine forests of the island, grown in the muddy river-bed. The silt bank is at least 3 feet high, which prevents the flow of fresh water into the dry side-branch.

13 March 2013

Most beautiful bridge in the world

There are times, when words mean nothing. In this post, there will be no data, date, paragraphs of law, engineering plans and documents. Only plenty of old photographs selected from fortepan.hu of the Erzsébet bridge in Budapest, most beautiful bridge in the world. 

01 March 2013

Count Marsigli and the Danube

Cover of the first edition, 1726
Count Luigi Fernando Marsigli embodies a long vanished kind of people, very dear to my heart, those we simply call a polymath. During his long life, he was a military engineer, military historian, general of the Habsburg army, diplomat, cartographer, meteorologist, ornithologist, mineralogist, anatomist, archaeologist, hydrologist, historian, marine scientist, ethnographer, art collector, geographer and botanist.

His major work is the reason why I devote an entry on him on the Donauinseln blog. The Danubius Pannonico - Myscius Observationibus geographicis, astronomicis, hydrographicis, historicis, physicis perlustratus was published in Amsterdam, 1726 in six volumes, more than twenty years after it was completed.

Marsigli first came to Hungary as a member of the dragoon regiment of Savoy in 1683, and fought throughout the war which lead to Hungary’s liberation from the Ottoman Empire. He fought at the liberation of Buda, and was a member of the Habsburg delegation at the Karlowitz peace treaty. In this context he worked as a cartographer drawing the new border between the two empires in southern Hungary. Together with Turkish cartographers they mapped the frontier within two hours walk on both sides of the border.

02 February 2013

Erected for the rolling Danuvius...

...by Tiberius Haterius Callinicus. I read this weather-beaten inscription on a stone altar at the lapidary of the Aquincum Museum in Budapest (image on the left). People from the antiquity worshipped the Danube river as a God - I first read about this in a József Révay book (Walks in the roman Hungary, 1965) Besides carving altars for the river-god, they proudly named their children after it. Danuvius, son of Diassumarus is known from a stele, erected next to the Danube, and there was a Caius Retonius Danuvius, a pontifex of the emperors cult in Aquincum.

The Danube, as a deity existed earlier, in the Hellenic era too. Its name was Istros (Ιστριη), which meant strong and swift mediated from Thracian language. Istros was the river-god of the north and Scythia according to the Greek mithology. His parents were Oceanos and Tethys, his brothers were the Nile, Eridannus (Po) and Alpheus (Alfíos on the Peloponnesos)

Istros used to be the name of the lower section of the Danube, from the Iron Gates to the Delta. There was also a greek colony with the same name Istros south from the Delta, founded by Miletian merchants and settlers. Some say, thet Istros has a common root with Isar (German), Isére (French), Isarco (Italian) and the slav Bistrica. I’m not sure if it is true, but Greeks do not use this form for the Danube anymore.

01 February 2013

Survivor of the 1838 flood - The horse-apple tree on the Margaret Island

Between March 6th and 18th, 1838, the Margaret island between Buda and Pest ceased to exist. For two weeks the whole island, a property of Archduke Joseph, the Palatine of Hungary was under water, while the moving ice-shield completely devastated it, on the 13th march. After the flood went down, replenishing works took place, clearing away almost all of the memories of the devastation. After the II. World War, the small, yellow palatine summer house was torn down, with the marble slab marking the high water mark of 1838. In the 1920s Gyula Krúdy, a known Hungarian writer described the “Seven chieftain sycamore tree”, which was broken in the icy flood, then grew 7 new branches. This tree has also disappeared since. Only one tree remained on the Margaret island, which still bear the marks of the flood, an old Horse-apple tree. 

24 January 2013

City of three rivers - Dreiflüssestadt Passau

In hydrological point of view the German section of the Danube offers many interesting places. First of all: where does the Danube come from? There are two branches, the Breg and Brigach, and a wonderful well at Donaueschingen. Then there is the “Donauversickerung” phenomenon. This is the place where the Danube simply decides, that this time it flows right into the North Sea, rather than the Black Sea. And at Passau, the city of three rivers we find the estuary of the Inn river. You have to know, Inn has a discharge 7% more than the Danube. Moreover at first sight Inn is wider and somehow its color is different. Despite all, the Danube can keep its name and the Inn dissolves in the smaller river.


23 January 2013


It all started, when I found a piece of pottery on a Visegrád hillside with dense shrubs. At least it seemed like one. This piece of pottery is a meaningless garbage in ones hand, but it starts to talk in another persons hand. It tells a tale of the Danube, of wars, of mighty rulers, of huge forts and of the final collapse of an empire.

19 January 2013

A Danubian saint - St. John of Nepomuk

Earlier I haven't noticed these statues. I walked them by as anybody else these days. Moreover I did not even read the inscription below them, of if I did I forgot soon this complicated name. Later on, as I walked more and more on the banks of the Danube, at the back of my mind there was a déja vu - Wow, I might have seen this statue before. Since then, any place I have been wandering near the Danube, orhave I been crossing ot on a ferry, I greeted St. John of Nepomuk as an old friend of mine.

17 January 2013

Roaming the Croatian Danube-bend

The "Croatian Danube-bend expression in the title may not considered as an existing geographical name. I am not sure if anybody has used this expression before me. In this case it is not the scenery, or the rangy landscape that might resemble us the Hungarian Danube-bend, but it is because of the sudden change in the rivers direction. Let us look at this map, and explore this section of the river between Kopacki Rit and Vukovar (fig. 1.).
1. The Croatian Danube-bend and the mouth of Drava

15 January 2013

Lighthouses of the Danube

Heartly I admit that until last week I had no knowledge of the Danubian lighthouses. At least I had a suspicion that maybe I have seen one in Vienna. I was quite sure that there must be some in the Danube-delta, one for every branch, but those are belonging to the Black Sea – I thought. Then I came upon Béla Vályi’s monumental map on the Danube valley in the known Hungarian geographer, Jenő Cholnoky’s heritage. As I was browsing these sections I saw something strange in the mouth of the Tisza river: a lighthouse! Wow, does it still exists?


05 January 2013

Fallen star of the Danube - The ephemeral Tündér Island

In the Szentendre Danue, opposite the Luppa Island, there was a small island, which praises the work of Hungarian water construction and river regulation works. It praises it, because few similarly effective regulatory objects were built in the neighborhood. The Tündér (means Fairy in english) Island cross dam and some other works in less than 50 years made disappear a whole river branch together with its islands.
Do you see the 4 islands? In the middle, the entrance of the Fairy Island’s branch.

01 January 2013

Summary of the year 2012

If I had to briefly summarize the year of 2012 from the point of view of the Danube Islands, I would only say: it was very good. However, as not even the most withdrawn school director would say a one-sentence speech at the year closing celebration, let us see more in detail what happened in this year on the hungarian version, the Dunai Szigetek.
We climbed up the Megyeri bridge, Budapest