Margaret Island Budapest – Margitsziget Budapest

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Margaret Island is 2.5 Km long and at its broadest part there is a huge park 500 m wide. The island is one of Budapest's most popular places for walking, bathing, amusement and sports. It is likely the once the Romans occupations the island, for remnants of villas and watchtowers dating back to Roman times have been found here. During the Middle Ages the Templars of St. John built the castle-monastery in the southern part of the island. The Dominican order was also established here, in which King Bela IV's daughter, (St.) Margaret lived and died. It was from her that the Margaret Island at one time called Rabbit Island, received its present name. The medieval buildings were destroyed during the Turkish occupation and only since the end of the 18th century has the island become a well-cared-for park. The owner of the island at that time Palatine Joseph planted here flowers, trees and plants and had summer homes built here. At the end of the 19th century deep-drilling operations brought medicinal thermal water to the surface and Margaret Island subquently developed into an internationally-known bathing (SPA) and recreational area.

Arpad Bridge spans the Danube river at the northern tip of the Margaret Island and there is a road leading from it to the island. The length of the Arpad Bridge is almost 2 kilometers and its length over the water is 928 meters. It was completed in 1950 but has since been enlarged.

Private cars can be driven onto the island only across the Arpad Bridge and only as far as the car park next to the Grand Hotel Margitsziget and the Danubius Thermal Hotel Margitsziget. However any part of the island can be reached by means of bus, taxi (cab) or mini bus service.

The Danubius Thermal Hotel was built on the northern part of the island near the road leading to the Arpad Bridge next to the charming Japanese Garden. The Grand Hotel Margaret Island is situated nearby. The Open-air Theater of the State Opera House where opera and ballet performances and concerts are held every summer is located in the center of the island. The stage which is surrounded by ancient trees has an area of ​​1,400 square meter. The Water Tower overlooking the theater was built in 1911.

The former Premonstratensian chapel near the Grand Hotel is reconstructed historic monument of medieval origin. The 12th century Romanesque church was destroyed during the Turkish occupation and was reconstructed in 1930-1931 by making use of the remaining walls. (The south wall of the nave with the two windows ending in a semicircle is from the original building.) Busts of prominent Hungarian authors and artists line the neighboring promenades. In the middle of the Margaret Island ruins of the 13th century Franciscan church have survived. Recent excavations have uncovered additional sections of the sanctuary the sacristy and the former monastery. Next to it stands the walls of Palatine Joseph's former palace. The church of the Dominican nuns (east of the Water Tower) is another monument worthy of interest. The evidence of the unearthed remains suggests that was originally one-aisled with en octagonal tower on its western side. Beside it there stand the remains of the convert yard the cloisters and convent halls.

The island can be approached from the south across the Margaret Bridge built in 1872-1876 according to the plans of E. Gouin. The underground passageway leading from the bridge to the Margaret Island was added in 1901. The bridge was blown up by the fascists at the end of 1944 during rush-hour. It was rebuilt in 1946-1848 .. (The N ° 4 and 6 tram stops are located at the entrance to the Island. Bus N ° 26 carries passengers to the island from Nyugati ter next to the West Railway station.)

A bronze monument (by Istvan Kiss) issued in 1972 in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of unification of Pest, Buda and Obuda greets visitors arriving at the south entrance of the island. Behind it there is a fountain illuminated every night in color.

On the left hand side of the island (on the bank towards Buda) is located a sport stadium (named Pioneer's Stadium in the socialistic era).

The next sports establishment is the National Sport Swimming-Pool the scene of international swimming competitions and water polo matches. The builder Alfred Hajos was a swimming champion at the first modern Olympic Games held in 1896. The establishment has one indoor and two outdoor pools and a third one with a high diving board and seats 6,000 spectators. Except during times of training and competitions the swimming pool is open to the general public.
Across the island on the bank facing Buda is situated the Palatinus outdoor public swimming pool with cold and warm water pools and swimming pool with artificial waves. The bathing facilities cover an area of ​​70,000 square meters and can accommodate up to 20,000 people. Across Margaret Island in Obuda we find the remnants of the Aquincum which dates back to the Roman times.

For photos and more information about the mentioned places on Margaret Island visit my Budapest updated blog site.

Source by Arpad Domonkos