10 July 2019

The Danube 50 years ago I. - From the Donauquelle to Budapest

In 1969, exactly half century ago the Slovakian Rudolf Fabry published "Dunaj, Donau, Duna" (the Danube), a book full of archive pictures of the Danube from the source in Germany to the Black Sea. This is a kind of a time travel through long lost countries. It's been only two generations and the Danube shows a whole different face. Staring at these pictures we can observe the familiar, but yet significantly changed Danubian landscape. Sometimes a bridge is missing, or a forest or the houses. We encounter unfamiliar cars, long-lost islands emerge from the river. This is the first part of our selection, a trip from the source down to Budapest. 

Swabian boy sits next to the source of the Breg — a headwater of the Danube —
near Furtwangen/Baden Württemberg.

These pictures were not necessarily taken in 1969, some of the might have been taken earlier. The authors are named in the book — mostly Slovakians, Romanians, Bulgarians and Austrians — but for example the Hungarian ones are taken from the country's news agency's archives. You might learn of the Danubian countries from short descriptions, showing an interesting asymmetry. There were only 8 countries on the Danube; Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Romania, Bulgaria and the Soviet Union. The description of Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union  weights the same length as the bigger Danubian countries. Some of these places were already covered on the Danubian Islands blog (mostly in Hungarian language), please click on the links for more details!

The pavilion of the source of the Danube in Donaueschingen was built in 1910. Inscription:
It looked like this earlier

The Danube still looks like a creek, meandering between limestone cliffs, Hausen im Tal neighborhood.

Outlook on Passau from the Veste Oberhaus fort, which was built on the right banks of the black-watered Ilz river.

The "Donaukraftwerk Jochenstein" on the border of Germany and Austria was built between 1952 and 1956.
Underneath the dam there is a statue of St. John of Nepomuk

Detail of the splendid Schlögener Schlinge in Upper Austria.

Building of the river regulation works underneath the castle of Grein.
A boat harbour has been built where the dredging ship stands.

Wachau. Old cars in Dürnstein.

Ruins of Greifenstein in the Wiener Wald.

A view on Vienna from the Kahlenberg. We see only one Danube with a wide floodplain.
The long Donauinsel is not even a plan yet.

The mouth of the Morava river next to the Devin castle. 

Bratislava in 1969 without the iconic new Danube bridge.
The Slovnaft refinery is operational in the background, and there are no 10 storey block buildings in Petržalka/Engerau.

Idyllic scenery on the Danube.

Aerial view on Győr. And on the Mosoni Danube with the disappeared Kecske (Goat)-zátony.
This picture was taken before 1969, because that time the island did not exist. 

The island of Helemba seen from the hills of Burda. Since then the riverine forest swallowed the whole island.
This picture captured the Little Helemba island (right), which has been fallen victim to the river regulation works. 

The barren lands of  Nagymaros and the castle of Visegrád before the reconstruction. 

The Luppa island at Budakalász and the Buda hills in the background.
Since then the Megyeri bridge was built next to the island which provides constant noise for the weekend houses. 

We say farewell at Budapest's barren Gellért hill and the reconstructed Elisabeth bridge. 

Link to the second part.