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!