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? 

Although this 430 meters is not an official data. As many sources we check as many values we find. According to Wikipedia the Moldavian Danube bank is between 134,14 – 133,57 river kilometers, this is altogether 570 meters. Another source states 480 meters. Which value is for real? Everyone can measure it on Google Earth. I measured 430 meters.

Nagyobb térképre váltás  
We are standing on the southernmost point of Moldova, where the East-Carpathian Prut river reaches the Danube. This short bank could be found south from Giurgiulesti, facing the Cat’s Elbow Island (Rumanian: Insula Cotul Pisicii), not even on the main branch. This is all that remained from the 134 kilometers river border of Moldova. In 1940 and 1944 not only the river bank, but Budzsak, the sea coast of Bessarabia was also ceded to Ukraine by Stalin.

This 430 meters is Moldova’s gateway to the world, most important part of the whole country. The chance of declaring it a nature reserve, making this a strand or a recreation area is approximately 0%. There is an important transit railway and road connection between Romania and Ukraine through Moldavian territory near Giurgiulesti. It is an interesting fact, that there is a ferry every Monday to Istanbul, which takes two days to get there on the Black Sea.

On this territory, enclosed by river connections, road and railway lines, and international boundaries a new free port is being built. This will be not only a port, but international logistic and business center with huge oil tanks, industrial buildings and warehouses (collectively referred as: Giurgiulesti International Free Port – GIFP). Due to lack of space these improvements are built partly on the Prut riverbanks. It is very hard to force every improvement in such small area. The port will have a 7 meter deep wharf, which enables sea ships to land. In just five years this wasteland has undergone a huge development. Silos tanks, sewage treatment systems, office buildings were erected, huge cranes put the ship’s cargo on freight trains and lorries and vice versa.
Since the Free Port was opened in 2007, the ordinary Moldavian people were cut off from the country’s largest river. In any other Danube countries an ordinary citizen – if they feel like – can go to the riverbanks to throw stones, walk their dogs or just admire the sunset. Fortunately other Danubian countries have much longer riverside, so they won’t have to be afraid of this situation.

But we hope that the poorest country in Europe will enjoy the benefits of this riverside development.

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