10 October 2015

Extreme low water on the Danube 2015

This year's hot summer combined with lack of precipitation have brought extreme low water levels on the Danube river. The blog asked its readers to send pictures if they found something interesting emerging from the riverbed, or they only find the landscape different from the usual. It looks like the low water will last well into autumn and with the drained catchment area we have to prepare for even lower water levels. 

Lowest water level measured at Budapest in 2015.

According to the summer forecasts the level of the Danube was far from the lowest value ever measured, but we advised not to leave our camera at home. During September and October the water level fell steadily to the value of 63 cm at Budapest which is only 12 cm above the lowest. 

But why are we interested in shallow water? - usually the floods draw more public attention. In times of low water Danubian depths reveals itself. Sand and gravel bars, holes in the riverbed, dykes etc. But while walking on the riverbanks you might find wrecks of ships, artifacts sunk long ago. The diving archaeologists are happy, they can work without their work-clothes. Europe's largest river shows us a different perspective, rather a desert than a river. 

There are also those who are not quite happy with low water. For example those shipmen who can not work for weeks in this situation. Or the environmentalists who are unable to help when they see tons of dying fish and shell in the drying river arms. 

So far the lowest value in Budapest ha been observed in 1947, 6th of November.  This was 51 cm. At the Vác gauging station it was -45 cm on the 29th of August. This is not a typo, the water level can go below the lowest point of the gauging station, then they have to extend it downwards. Unfortunately this is not a rare occurrence. 

If you happen to wander the banks of the Danube, do not forget to take pictures of the most interesting sights, and please send them (with the place, time and date) to our email address of facebook site

These are the received pictures so far (from earliest to latest): 

Jendricsné Vörös Dóra: Riverbank at Kisoroszi, 2015.07.17. 18:30 Budapest water level: 160 cm

Kurdi Imre: Felsőgöd beach. 2015.07.19. Budapest water level: 147 cm

Zirig Árpád: Mouth of the Morgó creek, Verőce 2015.07.22. 20:00 Budapest water level: 138 cm

Zirig Árpád: Mouth of the Morgó creek, Verőce 2015.07.22. 20:00 Budapest water level: 138 cm
Horváth Tibor: Alsógöd, volcanic tuff breaking the water. 2015.07.23. 22:30 Budapest water level: 139 cm 

Riverbank beneath the stone wall in Verőce.  2015.07.25. 17:00. Budapest water level: 139 cm 

Riverbank beneath the stone wall in Verőce.  2015.07.25. 17:00 Budapest water level: 139 cm 

Horváth Tibor: Alsógöd, volcanic tuff breaking the water. 2015.07.26. 9:40 PM. Budapest water level: 137 cm

 Szilágyi Csilla: Inn, Duna, Ilz - Passau: 2015.07.26.

Cigány sandbank, Mohács

Kurdi Imre: Sződliget 2015.07.28. Budapest water level: 135 cm

Kurdi Imre: Sződliget, mouth of the Sződi creek. 2015.07.28. Budapest water level: 135 cm

 Alsógöd beach, 2015 08.01. 9:00 Budapest water level: 139 cm

Oligocene clay in Alsógöd

  Dunakeszi ferry 2015.08.01. 9:30 Budapest water level: 139 cm

Mouth of the Csurgó creek in Dunakeszi. 2015.08.01. 9:30 Budapest water level: 139 cm

Gödi Island, dam. 2015.08.01. 15:30 Budapest water level: 147 cm

Gödi Island northern side 2015.08.01. 15:30 Budapest water level: 147 cm

 Kovács Miklós: Kacsa Island, Pócsmegyer 2015.08.05. Budapest water level: 145 cm

Kovács Miklós: Kacsa Island, Pócsmegyer 2015.08.05. Budapest water level: 145 cm

Kovács Miklós: Római-part, Budapest 2015.08.05. Budapest water level: 145 cm

Kovács Miklós: Inlet of the Palotai Island in Budapest 2015.08.05. Budapest water level: 145 cm

Wirker Károly: Süttő, Sandbanks near Madár Island 2015.08.11.

Sziget festival, Óbudai Island northern side 2015.08.13.

Schmidt Ádám József: Mouth of the Ördögárok in Budapest 2015.08.13. 10-11 AM Budapest water level: 107 cm

Vessző Katalin: Római part, Budapest 2015.08.14. morning. Budapest water level: 113 cm
Vessző Katalin: Római part, Budapest 2015.08.14. morning. Budapest water level: 113 cm

Vessző Katalin: Római part, Budapest 2015.08.14. morning. Budapest water level: 113 cm

Vessző Katalin: Gravel bar at Szentendre 2015.08.14. afternoon. Budapest water level: 114 cm

Kürti Gábor Dezső: Helembai gravel bar 2015.08.15. Budapest water level: 109 cm (Szob: w. l. -17 cm)

Tarr Dominik: Kis-Háros Island, Nagytétény 2015.08.16. 2-3 PM Budapest water level: 98 cm

Tarr Dominik: Kis-Háros Island, Nagytétény 2015.08.16. 2-3 PM Budapest water level: 98 cm

Becz Miklós: Dunaszekcső, riverbank full of loess cemented by calcium carbonate

Bucsek Tamás: Vác,  2015.09.20. evening. Budapest water level: 95 cm

 Horváth Tibor: Sand bar below the Megyeri bridge. 2015.09.22. Budapest water level: 76 cm 

Horváth Tibor: Alsógöd, the volcanic tuff outcrops in the Danube. 2015.09.22. Budapest water level: 76 cm 

Sand bar of the Szentendrei Island, 2015.10.04. Budapest water level: 72 cm

The Szobi and Helembai gravel bar, behind them the Helemba Island. 2015.10.05. Budapest water level: 67 cm

05 October 2015

Qualifying round of the "Danubian Island of the year 2015" voting

We have fourteen nominated island this year for the qualifying rounds, four more than last year. So there will be a great variety of Danubian islands to select your favourite from. You might find the second and third island from last year's finalists, and what's more, there is the winner on the below picture altogether with a new nominee. Also, we have an island outside Hungary, the famous Liberland.
Last year we had a sum of 436 votes in the qualifying rounds, this year we hope there will be more. Remember, only the first two island qualifies into the finals. There will be anothre island added by the Donauinslen blog. This voting ends midnight, October 12th 2015. The finals will begin next evening!

So here are the nominated islands for 2015, please select your favourite:

The Zebegényi and the Kismarosi Island have been qualified! Congratulations!

The final results as of 2015.10.13. 0:01

10 September 2015

Nominate your favourites for the "Danubian Island of the year" voting!

Since the Danubian Islands have no chance to entry themselves, we would like to ask our readers to do this favour for their favourite islands, until the 5th October 2015!

You might go in for the last year's winners, but they will not participate in the final voting. The reason is simple; let others win, and there are many interesting islands on the Danube worthy for learning about them worldwide.

There might be a change in the voting application this year, but the rules will be the same as last year: in the finals the blog's entry will race with the two with the most votes. Last year the Donauinseln blog's entry matched with the will of the voters, that is why the Veránka Island of Érsekcsanád became the third entry. The got the second place in 2014, this year there is a chance to be the first!

The qualifying round will take place between all entries from 5-12th October. The finals will be held from 13th October till 31th December. The results will be published in the last post of the year.  

Please write your entries here below or on our Facebook page as a comment. When nominating your favourite islands, comments for the reason are highly appreciated!

Until this time there were two winners both form Hungary:

2015. ? :)

13 July 2015

Perspective sight of the St. Margaret Island

This is how the Margaret Island looked like from above, in 1963. 

This image was originally entitled as "Budapest Távlati Térképe" (Perspective sight of Budapest) and published in 1963. A friend of mine asked for this map, when I noticed the Margaret Island. It was hand drawn by István Mácsai and János Kiss. If we look at it closer we may not find the Danubius Health Spa Hotel next to the Grand Hotel in the left tip of the island, it hasn't built yet. Many old buildings and other architecture vanished during the fierce fighting in January, 1945 when the Soviet forces bombed the island. We can see the remaining monuments, like the Musical Well, the Grand Hotel, the famous water tower and open-air theatre, the Rose garden, the Palatinus baths, the Hajós Alfréd swimming pool. It is worth to compare this image with the below one, drawn 24 years after the first one.

The road between the two bridges, across the island marks the old riverbank. In the beginning of the 20th century the Buda side and the southern tip of the island has been enlarged. In 1945 the park island of Budapest has been devastated, many of the buildings has been destroyed and later demolished instead of rebuilding. For example the summer cottage of Palatine Joseph together with the 1838 icy flood mark, the pavilion of the main entrance, the Island Café, the MAC clubhouse, the Saint Margaret Chapel, the Dairy Shop and many more buildings. At least we have the old maps and pictures of the island which has never regained its former beauty.   

Here you can see those buildings disappeared after World War II.

Here you can see how would it looked like nowadays

21 June 2015

Danubian Notgeld

Years after the First World War in Middle Europe were anarchic.  In the defeated Germany and the new countries like Austria and Hungary often the local authorities had to take care of state responsibilities. The weakened central power did not and could not guarantee public safety, organization of transport, and our main topic the currency issues. But what has the currency do with the Danube? Let's have a look at the below picture.

Donauschleife = Schlögener Schlinge

In Austria, the first Notgelds were issued on the summer of 1919. in Innsbruck, Tyrol. The Notgeld had been issued by authorities, which had no right for issuing currency in cases of emergency, like a siege, war, economic crisis and any other event causing disruption of the cash flow. They are mostly banknotes, but we have knowledge of coins and stamps as well. The material is mostly paper and metal, but it can be almost anything like leather and sulphur as well. 

Well the three years in Austria between the summer of 1919 and October of 1921 brought the heavens for the banknote collectors. After Innsbruck came Kitzbühel, then Kufstein, Vorarlberg, Salzburg started to issue their own Notgeld. Then followed by the capital Vienna. But the most Notgeld was issued in Upper-Austria in the year 1920. 425 out of the province's villages had their own money and they were valid until 1921, when the economical and political situation has been settled. 

Colorful Neuhaus

Upper-Austria is situated along the Danube and many of these settlements had their own Notgeld with unified design. All of the settlements put their own most beautiful Danubian view on their banknote series. They all had a Gothic script with the title "Donautal Notgeld" which means Danube valley necessity money. Underneath this there was a Danubian image of a specific landscape and the name of the settlemet also with Gothic letters. On the sides there was a tendril ornament connecting the upper and lower part. 

Notgelds with different syles and integrated color.

On the back side there was a general script with only changing the name of the settlement and its major. It had the following label in German:

Die Gemeinde ... haftet für die Verbindlichkeit der Einlösung. Einlösung nach erfolgter Kundmachung. Der Bürgermeister ... Nachahmung wird gesetzlich bestraft 

I. e.: The community ... is liable for the obligation of cashing. Cashing after promulgation. Major ... Banknote counterfeiting is forbidden.

Community Vichtenstein

Community St. Aegidi

Community Ran(n)ariedl

The Danube valley Notgelds were issued in many denominations and colours, moreover they lived to have many editions, like the one on the first image. There stands 3. Aufgabe - 3rd edition. Maybe only the collectors can tell how many settlements issued this kind of necessity money and how many variations did the Danubian Notgeld had. 

There was a vast amount of these Notgelds circulating in the Upper-Austrian province. These can be bought up to now from collectors, antique shops all over in Middle Europe. Both online and offline.