Előző fejezet Következő fejezet



1. Esztergom - Párkány (Esztergom - Sturovo)

2. Komárom

3/a Törökér

3/b Tiszabercel

4. Mindszent

5. Budapest (Buda)

6. Budapest



senior editor

MMK 8 ÉTÉ vicepresident


technical translator

RÓNAI Katalin

technical translator




On 11 October 2001, after more than 56 years and 6 months, Esztergom on the right banks of the Danube was reconnected to the small town of Párkány (called Sturovo in Slovakia) by a road bridge. It has far greater significance than making just traffic easier: it has become a symbol. People walk across the bridge and cross the borderline running underneath along the stream channel of the Danube to witness the victory of human creativity over vile men's penchant for destruction. People walk across the bridge to visit their relatives living in their sister town, drink a nice keg of beer on the Slovak side, enjoy the thermal bath, check out an exhibition in Hungary's first capital, or simply to experience freedom and feel that they once again live in an age when bridges connect various regions, different political, administrative and economic entities, peoples, countries, and that no wanton political interest bring and end to this tendency.

Before the opening of the bridge, the two banks were joined by a busy ferry service. During the 9 months after its opening, however, the bridge was used by 5 times as many passengers, 12 times as many passenger cars, and 87 times as many buses as the ferry service during an earlier period of similar length. Evidence also showed that while the ferry service was only important for local people, the bridge connecting the two countries became of national and international significance.

Euro, the common currency of Europe is decorated with bridges. Two and a half years before the accession of Hungary and Slovakia a bridge was constructed between Esztergom and Párkány in the spirit of the European Union. Its total costs amounted to 18.7 million Euros, (not including the access roads). Hungary's and Slovakia's contributions were 5.4 and 3.3 million Euros respectively which was coupled by a grant of 5 million Euros each received from the European Union. The bridge was completed below budget (which was 20.7 million Euros) and before the set deadline but there were no complaints about that.

Map of the Danube Send
The bridge in spring 2003

Photo by: Holló Csaba:

From a professional perspective, the bridge is far from being unique. However, it has great significance in the book edited by the Visegrád Four due to its powerful symbolism.

According to historians, the section of the Danube above Esztergom was used for crossing as early as the Roman times. The first bridge between Esztergom and Párkány was built upon the order of Pasha Sinan of Buda in 1585. It was a pontoon that operated for almost a century. In 1663, during the decline of the Ottoman occupation of Hungary, the Turks built a pile bridge joined to the existing pontoon. This establishment was ruined upon the order of the Austrian Emperor in 1664. The Turks rebuilt it in the same year and it was used until 1683, until after the Battle of Párkány when it could no longer outlast the burden of retreating Ottoman forces and the Emperor's cannonade. The easy-to-open bridge, comprising of 54 tube boats, was often mentioned in the records of travellers at the time and portrayed on contemporary paintings. After the Turks had been driven out of the country, the religious centre of Hungarian Christianity was returned to Esztergom after a 200 year exile to Nagyszombat, which resulted in the fast and spectacular development of the town. In 1762, a folding was built between the two ferries operating since 1683. This folding bridge was a freight ferry with a 400 metre rope anchored in the middle of the Danube. It took 6 to 8 minutes to get to the other side, which is impressive even in the time of motor ferries. The Archbishopric of Esztergom opened a 6.2 plus 1.5 metre wide pontoon in 1842 to create a traffic route over the Danube. It was set to fire in 1849 but it was in use again by May 1851. After the opening of the Komárom bridge (both rail and road traffic), Esztergom concentrated its efforts to build a permanent "iron bridge." People hoped this could ensure a link between the religious capital, and economic and cultural centre and the rest of the country in winter as well. In 1893, the Government advertised a tender for the construction of the bridge and, as we would put it today, the preparation of the implementation plans. Out of the four applicants, Szaléz Charty won the tender. (Along with a number of iron bridges, he and his son built the cogwheel train in Buda.) The selected location of the bridge was at 1718.5 river kilometres counted from the mouth of Danube. Soil mechanical tests were carried out between November 1893 and January 1894. The basic idea of a bridge consisting of a line of sickle-shaped two-support beams first occured to János Feketeházy. (He earned his fame by the Francis Joseph bridge, today's Liberty bridge.) The bridge over the Danube at Komárom as well as the one over Tisza at Szolnok was based on the same concept. Due to architectural reasons, the five openings are different in size. Bearing distances: 81.50 + 100.00 + 117.00 + 100.00 + 81.50 metres. The two inside bed piers are 7.40 metres wide, and the two outside ones are also 7.40 metres in width. Therefore, the length of the bridge, that is, the distance between the abutments is 494.00 metres. The roadway is 5.720 metres, the main beams are 0.400 metre wide on both sides. The bridge has a 1.515 metre wide overhanging sidewalk on both sides. The pavement of the road of this riveted bridge is block-wood. The iron structure of the bridge was manufactured in the engine works of the Hungarian Royal Railways. During the assembly of the bridge, 490,000 hand-driven rivets were used.

Drawing of a lamppost, 1894
Drawing of the bridge. Cross-section. 1894
Drawing of the bridge. Cross-section. 1999

The 494.0 metre main bridge has a small extension with a 16.00 metre bearing distance. The distance between the pedestals of the two bridges is 1.60 metres which gives a total length of 513.60 metres. Works on the foundation began in February 1894 using steel cased caissons in around the clock. In the case of some of the pillars, the working chamber was 11.0 metres below the zero water level, and was equipped with electric lights. By the end of 1894, both heads and all piers were ready, and the assembly of the iron structure had begun (using comprehensive cradling). Bed piers were 5.20 x 15.15 metres in size. The navigation clearance was 51,50 metres wide, and 6.90 metres high above flood level in the middle opening (1895). In total, 2,506,818 kilograms of iron was used. The weight of the superstructure of the bridge was 5 tons per linear metre, which was very economic, especially if we consider that it was also calibrated to bear future rail load. (The weight of the Francis Joseph bridge was 20 tons per linear metre.) The piers and heads needed 16,000 m3 of locally retrieved lime, 1,000 m3 of Neuhaus granite, and 700 m3 of Süttő cut lime (marble). The bridge was completed on 28 September 1895, 24 and a half months after the commissioning. The inhabitants of Esztergom had a long argument about the naming and chose "Saint Stephen bridge." However, in his proposal sent to Emperor Francis Joseph, the Prime Minister of Hungary suggested to name the bridge after Princess Maria Valerie as a gesture of cajoling the Emperor.

Layout and side view. Drawing from 1894. Bridge-head in Párkány
Layout and side view. Drawing from 1894. Bridge-head in Esztergom

From the time of its opening, the bridge conducted a heavy railway traffic. After WWI, the Danube became a borderline and the bridge was closed. On 22 July 1919, the Czechoslovak garrisons at Párkány exploded the opening closest to their side. This was subsequently replaced by a temporary pedestrian bridge. Urged by economic necessity and the Danube Committee, Czechoslovakia embarked upon the reconstruction of the bridge in 1922. Works between 1923 and 1924 were carried out by Ceskomoravska Kolben, then by Skoda Works from 1926. In 1927, Artur Komlós, the Pozsony based company replaced the carriageway by armoured concrete covered with asphalt. Traffic restarted on 1 May 1927. (This was the last frontier station to be opened along the border of Czechoslovakia and Hungary.) Lorries were allowed to use the bridge from 1928. As a result of the 1st Vienna Award on 9 November 1938, the Danube ceased to be a national border. The Hungarian Wagon and Engine Works replaced 38,000 rivets on the bridge in 1939. Surprisingly, the bombings and the gunfire during WWII did not damage the bridge, but it was awaited by the same fate as all the other bridges over the Hungarian section of the Danube. On 26 December 1944, it was exploded by retrieving German forces. Bereft of its three middle openings, the bridge heads became a memento of the true nature of socialist brotherhood f or the entire 45 years of the socialist era. Negotiation aimed at the reconstruction of the bridge did not commence until 1990, although experts and the inhabitants had been arguing in favour of rebuilding since 1960. Several studies and preliminary plans were prepared with regard to technical realization. Planning was carried out by the Civil Engineering Department of the Slovak Technical University headed by Zoltán Agócs, and the Jenő Knébel led UVATERV Hungarian design studio. Slovakia and Hungary had different views about the feasibility of the Nagymaros dam, and, consequently, the expected water level. On the 100th anniversary of the opening of the bridge, the Ministers of Transport of either countries submitted a joint request for

The closed entry slip road at Esztergom. 1995
Drawing of gas lamps, 1894
Mária Valéria bridge, November 3,2001

Photo by: Vladimír Kohút

support from Brussels for the construction of the bridge. A grant of 5 million ECUs was provided, on condition that construction is commenced in mid-1998. The new bridge has completely taken over the form of the old one, with the exception that now higher piers were designed. The authorised construction plans were completed in 1999. (Designers: Dopravo Projekt Ltd, Bratislava, Slovakia, and PONT-TERV Ltd, Hungary.) The navigation clearance in the middle opening was increased to 100.00 x 11.02 metres. The road and the sidewalks were extended to 6 and 2.25 metres respectively. On 16 September 1999, surrounded by a massive crowd, Prime Ministers Mikulás Zurinda and Viktor Orbán signed the intergovernmental treaty with regard to the reconstruction of the bridge of "understanding." One week later preparatory works began. The tender for the implementation was awarded to the GANZ-IS consortium whose members include GANZ Híd-, Daru- és Acélszerkezetgyártó Ltd (manufacturing and assembly of the three new openings), Hungarian based KÖZGÉP Ltd (the two outside openings and the small extension bridge), and Kosice based Inzenierske Stavly (reconstruction of the piers and heads, the reinforced concrete roadway of the extension bridge). The new steel structure was assembled on two barges and then floated in their place, therefore the assembly process did not require scaffolding. The granite heads are exactly the same as they were originally. Lights, too, were reconstructed to match the old ones. The steel structure is a modern welded structure but looks like the original in appearance. Stateof-the-art construction technologies were used to create an authentic look over a century old. Following a 57 year break, and after ten months' actual construction time, traffic finally restarted on the Maria Valerie bridge.

The mains plan of the bridge,1995
Traffic started on the bridge. November 2001
Photo by: Holló Csaba
Mária Valéria bridge, November 3, 2001

Photo by: Vladimír Kohút







Similar to a gate, Komárom was built on the two banks of the Danube during the last two millennia. In Roman times, the Danube (Ister) served as the border (limes) of the empire. The Roman town of Brigetio and a guarding castrum were located on the right banks of the river where today we find Komárom (before 1896 it was a village called Szőny). Emperor Valentinianus I died here. Historians claim there also stood a Roman pontoon bridge opening a traffic route to the north. In the Middle Ages, a castle was erected on top of the ruins of the castrum in the area of today's Fort Csillag. Starting with the Middle Ages, the development of the village was concentrated on the left banks. The centre of the guarding forces was set up on this side, which was followed by the construction of a castle and the Vág-Danube line of defence. One bigger and two smaller fortresses were built on the right banks of the river, serving as bridge heads. The castles on either sides of the river could be used to completely monitor water traffic between Vienna, Pozsony, and Buda. In accordance with the Trianon Treaty concluded after WWI, the part of the town on the left banks was given to Czechoslovakia, while the one on the right banks remained with Hungary. The border between the two countries is marked by the middle of the road and rail bridge.

As they are visible today, the network of fortifications around Komárom was erected at the junction of the Danube and the river Vág, then on both sides of the former between the 15th and the 19th centuries. Full scale construction began upon the order of Emperor Francis I after Napoleon's attack. The plans were prepared in three steps in 1810, 1867, and 1876.

Current map
Map of Komárom city, 2002
The network of fortifications around Komárom (1902)

The centres of the network of fortifications are Öregvár (Old Castle) of Medieval origins which was reconstructed between 1546 and 1557, and Újvár (New Castle) built between 1603 and 1673. From the direction of the Csallóköz, the left-bank part of Komárom was protected by the Palatine Line with seven fortresses and four defensive positions which were connected by an enormous rampart and a ditch. In addition, bridge head fortress was built the shape of a quadricuspid star, coupled by five smaller earthworks connected by a rampart. The right banks of the Danube, i.e. in Hungary, there are three fortresses in the region of Komárom: Fort Csillag (Donau-Brückenkopf), Fort Igmánd, and Fort Monostor (Fort Sandberg). Planning and implementation was carried out by the Military Engineering Group of the Komárom Castle Board (K.u.K. Genie-Direction) between 1850 and 1877, accelerated by the fear of a Prussian assault.

The buildings of the network of Komárom fortifications in Slovakia are described in the materials compiled by the Slovak Chamber of Engineering. Buildings in Hungary are presented in the section of the Hungarian Chamber of Engineering.



Location: Komárom

Address: 2900 Komárom, Csillag erőd

Operator: Komárom county branch of ÁFÉSZ



Flowing into the Danube, the mouth of river Vág was always an important strategic position. Celts ruled both banks of the Danube; presumably, they also operated a ferry. Brigetie (Szőny), a significant fortress of the Roman limes secured the bridge leading to Celemantia (Leányvár-lza) on the left banks of the Danube. This crossing was also used during the times of the Great Moravian Empire. Built in 1585 and located at the place of today's Fort Csillag, St Peter's post (Szent Péter palánk) served as the Trans-Danubian bridge head of the Medieval Komárom Castle. The shape of this post was similar to that of the new fort. It was destroyed in the 1594 siege but was later rebuilt. In 1661, the decaying planks were demolished and replaced by a stronger fortress with three ramparted earth bastions on the western side. These were subsequently turned into earth forts. Nevertheless little attention was paid on their maintenance when the wars with the Ottoman Empire were over, the rampart with the three earth forts on the eastern and three on the western side still stood in 1810. After the Napoleonian wars, the construction of a new system of fortresses began but works came to a halt when the War of Independence of 1848 and 1849 broke out. Fort Csillag played a crucial role in the battles around Komárom. Squadrons of militiamen gathered in this fort before the great battles of 26 April, 2 July, 11 July, and 3 August 1849, achieving glorious victories. For this reason, the fortress was turned into ruins by the enemy's gunfire but the eager defenders countered every attack. On 2 October 1849, Fort Csillag was delivered to the Austrians, to be followed by other forts in the Komárom network of fortifications. Between 1850 and 1870, it was rebuilt as a member of an immense new network of fortresses, and was used by the Hungarian Army until WWII. The fort was used as an ammunition depot, a work camp, and finally a detention and internment camp during the war. The fort was not involved in any battle, and later provided temporary shelter for the homeless. In 1963, it was sold to the Komárom Regional Consumer Goods Trading Association which has warehouses on the premises to this date. Fort Csillag was reclassified as a historical monument in 1984.

Entry of the „Csillag fortress". (2001)

Photo by: Holló Csaba

Panorama of the „Csillag fortress" (2001)
Entry building of the „fortress of Monostor" (2001)
Fortress of Monostor. Inner courtyard ot the „Danube gate" (2001)
Fortress of Monostor. Bastion at the „Danube gate" (2001)

Photo by: Holló Csaba



The fort which was blown into pieces during the War of Independence was restored using its original material, hard lime stone. In addition, the building preserved its quadricuspid star shape. Artillery emplacements were established in the casemates inside the bastions, and the entire fort was girdled around by a wide and deep water trench. Buildings were protected from incoming missiles and bullets by a thick layer of earth. On the roofs, battery posts were established protected by wide bonnets and firm traverses. From the outside, the fortress was completely covered by an adversary slope which was highest at the outside end of the trench. Completely new barracks were established inside the fortress. Opened to the north, the building which had the shape of an elongated octagon could be protected from attacks from all directions, and designed to function as a fortress. Its outside walls could be protected by virtue of a set of loopholes and three massive slant trench bastions. Its roof was covered with a thick layer of earth. The 1,500 metres wide and 400 metres deep entrenchments of the bridge head around the fortress had three bastion-like closed works on the western and two on the eastern side, and a battery post opened from the inside. The outside edge of the bridge head and the closed works were protected by water trenches from all sides. Some of the earthworks were destroyed before WWI, some others were demolished upon the construction of the railway lines. A few earthworks and entrenchments survived to this date.


Fort Csillag is the property of the Komárom Regional Consumer Goods Trading Association, but tourist may visit the barracks and the bastioned entrenchments from the outside.



Location: Komárom

Address: 2900 Komárom, Monostori erőd

Operator: Treasury Property Office (Kincstári Vagyonigazgatóság), Monostori Erőd KHT.



The idea of constructing Fort Monostor was conceived as a result of the Napoleonic wars. At the time of the War of Independence, in June 1849, Captain György Klapka ordered that a casemated "fortalice" be erected on the Monostor hills. However deranged by the enemy artillery, the fort sheltering 1,000 soldiers was completed but was demolished later. Works on the robust Fort Monostor lasted from 1850 to 1871. Protecting the right banks of the Danube from the west, the fortress was always used for military purposes-it homed barracks until 1944, a section was turned into a detention camp for prisoners of war and civilians in 1942. The building remained during the war. Between 1945 and 1990 it was used by the Russian Army as an ammunition depot. The fort was then completely searched and secured by the bomb squad by 1993. In 1992, Fort Monostor became a listed historical monument.

Fortress of Monostor. There is a munition transportation track inside the retrenchment
Fortress of Monostor. Indoor detail of the restored entry building
(2001) Photo by: Holló Csaba
Panorama of the fortress of Monostor (2001)
Fortress of Monostor. Ground-plan of the completed buildings at the end of the 19th century



Fort Monostor takes up a huge piece of land of 70 hectares. It has the shape of an irregular hexagon consisting of several main bastions and auxiliary bastions connected by a system of loopholed casemates. In front of the bastions and the casemates there is a wide system of entrenchments whose buttress was equipped with loopholed defence corridors. Where the direction of the entrenchments changes there are works used to put the trenches under slant battery fire. Inside the fortress, officers' quarters, barracks, a hospital for 300 people, appropriate kitchens and bakeries, and stables were established along the inner side of the casemates. The 1.5 to 2 metre thick walls of the buildings were built from bricks manufactured at the Esterházy brick factories. In addition, the outside walls were covered with irregularly shaped pieces of lime stones from the Dunaalmás limestone mine. The roofs were covered with a layer of clay that proved to be of extremely useful and watertight. On top of this lay 6 metres of earth which, along with the earthworks on the slopes of the adversary grade, hid the fortress. Several battery posts were established on the top defended by wide bonnets and a set of traverses.

Fortress of Monostor. Latrine for the soldiers (2001)
Fortress of Monostor. Corridor of the building of the soldiers (2001)
Fortress of Monostor. Interna! spaces under the retrenchment before restoration. Commander's building (2001)
Fortress of Monostor. Stable with marble watering throughs. (2001)
Fortress of Monostor. After the Red Army left. (2001)



Fort Monostor is the property of the Treasury Property Office, and operated by Monostori Erőd   KHT. Open every day.



Location: Komárom

Address: 2900 Komárom, Igmándi erőd

Operator: Local Government ot Komárom, Klapka György Museum


Fortress of Monostor. Map on the entry ticket
Fortress of Monostor. Entry of the fortress
(2001) Photo by: Holló Csaba
Fortress of Monostor. Indoor detail of the restored entry building
Fortress of Monostor. Graffitis of Soviet soldiers. (2001)
Photo by: Holló Csaba
Panorama of the „fortress of Igmánd"



The southern part of Fort Igmánd has a semi-circular, hexagonal shape, while the broken closing line in the north is protected by a system of protruding casemates. The outside walls can be defended from a number of loopholed casemates coupled with a system of trenches at the front. Where the direction of the entrenchments changes there are works used to put the trenches under slant battery fire. The buttress has a number of casemates with loopholes as protection. The outside walls were made of limestone, while the rooms were constructed from bricks. The outside banks of the trench is much higherthan the wall of the fortress, therefore it is invisible because of the adversary grade. The casemates and the buildings are covered with a thick layer of earth, and a number of battery posts were added sheltered by wide bonnets and a set of enormous traverses.


The southern part of Fort Igmánd has a semi-circular, hexagonal shape, while the broken closing line in the north is protected by a system of protruding casemates. The outside walls can be defended from a number of loopholed casemates coupled with a system of trenches at the front. Where the direction of the entrenchments changes there are works used to put the trenches under slant battery fire. The buttress has a number of casemates with loopholes as protection. The outside walls were made of limestone, while the rooms were constructed from bricks. The outside banks of the trench is much higherthan the wall of the fortress, therefore it is invisible because of the adversary grade. The casemates and the buildings are covered with a thick layer of earth, and a number of battery posts were added sheltered by wide bonnets and a set of enormous traverses.


Fort Igmánd is operated by the Local Government of Komárom and Klapka György Múzeum. Open between April and October.


Fortress of Monostor. (2001)
Photo by: Holló Csaba
Fortress of Monostor. Gun-sites of the trench-ram part (2001)
Fortress of Monostor. Retrenchment seen from the inner courtyard (2001)
Photo by: Holló Csaba
Fortress of Monostor. Wall section to be restored (2001)
Photo by. Holló Csaba



In addition to flood control, keeping protected areas free of inland water is also an important task for water management experts. During the regulation of the waterways in Hungary (from 1840 onwards), the construction of inland water drainage canals also began. The most significant monument of this era is the Török brook pumping station. The installation, built at the end of the 19"' century, is one of several such plants in Hungary, all important structures in the history of engineering. These pumping stations are functional even today, although they are not actually used. Here we would like to portray two of the most characteristic pumping stations, located nearthe embankment of the Bodrog and the Tisza rivers in North-Eastern Hungary.

Building of the pump station at Törökér, 1999
Photo by: ÉVIZIG
Engineer during level-check in the middle of the 19lth century
Map of the Bodrog-köz
Building of the pump station at Törökér, 1996
Photo by: Holló Csaba



In the first half of the 1800's, two-thirds of the area between the Tisza and the Bodrog rivers (of which 607 km2 remained within Hungary's borders after 1921) consisted of open and low flood-plains. During the 1860's, embankments were constructed along the right bank of the Tisza and the left bank of the Bodrog. The watershed also extends to some areas of Slovakia. (In Slovakia, the Ondava and Latorca rivers meet to form the Bodrog near the village of Zemplén, not far from the border.) Bearing in mind the conditions at the time, the embankments constructed 140 years ago provided adequate protection from the recurring floods. Therefore, the construction of defences against excessive inland water began. Canals were built to collect the inland water and to carry it to the pumping stations, which would then pump them into the rivers. Between 1896 and 1900, construction of the steam-powered pumping stations near Tiszakarád, the Török brook, Ricse and Felsőberecki was completed, financed by the "Inter-Tisza-Bodrog Region Regulatory Company". In 1942, following the great flood of 1940, a diesel-powered pumping station was built along the Török brook in orderto increase pumping capacity. During the second half of the 1900's, with the construction of the dam at Tiaszalök, the pumping of more and more water became necessary. Due to the meliorative regional development projects, this trend continued right up to the end of the 1980's. In order to further increase pumping capacity, an electric pumping station was added in 1974. After the social and political changes in 1990, agricultural collectives disappeared. Unfortunately, this also meant less attention being focused on the canals and structures of the inland water drainage system. The meliorative development projects that were still under way were halted. Following the significant damage caused by flooding and internal water in the years 1999 and 2000, the re-evaluation of inland water drainage systems and pumping stations began. All this time, the steam-powered pumping station near the Török brook, built in 1896, had remained in working order. The modernization of the facility was finally completed in 1998. New canals and a covered mouth reach was built. In addition, a state-of-the-art ABS diving pump was installed to make up for the capacity of the steam and diesel-powered pumping stations. Right next to the ultramodern electric

devices, the steam-powered pump, dating from 1896-97 and the diesel-powered pumping unit from 1942 were preserved as monuments, with their mechanisms in full working order. The watershed of the Török brook pumping station is a 101.8 km2 lowland area of the Inter-Tisza-Bodrog Region. The facility had been built on the embankment on the left bank of the Bodrog, near the mouth of the Török brook canal. The area it protects consists mostly of arable land (78%) and grazing lands (17%). The pump installed in 1896-97 was a centrifugal pump manufactured by Schlick-Nicolson in Budapest. The propulsion mechanism was a Schlick-Nicolson compaud steam engine with a flame tube boiler. In 1915, a second such engine was installed. The centrifugal pump fitted in 1943 was manufactured by MÁVAG, the diesel-powered propulsion mechanism by LÁNG, the electric pump by GANZ (all made in Hungary).

The Török brook pumping station is accessible via the town of Sárospatak and the village of Kenézlő.

Prior registration is required before visiting.

Administrative unit:

ÉVIZIG. Miskolc. Vörösmarty u. 77.

Operator:ÉVIZIG Sárospataki Szakaszmérnökség.

Flood caused by excess surface waters
Diggers building a river bed in the middle of the 19th century
Building of the pump station at Törökér, 1996
Photo by: Holló Csaba
Flooded and water-covered territories of historical Hungary before the flood control and drainage activities
Dam keep house of the Bodrogköz Tisza-river control society in 1890
(Vízügyi Múzeum, Budapest)
Lónyay Menyhért (1822-1884)
Törökér. Internal detail of the power room
Photo by: ÉVIZIG



Tiszabercel is a small village located on the left bank of the river Tisza, near the Inter-Tisza-Bodrog Region, where the Tisza meandered through a vast marshland area prior to regulation. A flood of medium intensity was enough to overrun the low-lying marshes. In addition, the ditchesformed between the sand dunes located to the South of the marshland also collected and carried inland water to the area. Construction of a flood prevention dyke on the left bank of the Tisza began in 1843 and was completed in 1859. In the ensuing period, whenever flooding occurred, the dyke was raised in the following year, as in 1860,1867,1869, 1880, 1881 and 1888. The water level measured during the flood of 1888 was only exceeded by the flooding of the Tisza in 1999 and 2001. In 1860, the construction of canals and structures began in order to drain inland water from the area beyond the dyke and to dry up the marshland. By 1870, a 53 km long collection canal and 22 branch canals had been built. The main canal enters the Tisza near Tiszabercel. In case of a high water level in the reception basin, the water is pumped into the river. In case of a low water level, the water to regulate the flow. The first sluice was built of stone in 1858. In 1870, a sturdier sluice was constructed of dressed stone with thick concrete piles, a gate-raising mechanism manufactured in the Ganz smelting works, and an iron gate made by Schlick. In 1908, an inner sluice was built with a 47 m long counter-pressure basin. The system remained operational until the construction of the dam at Tiszalök in 1954. The pumping station was built in 1884 using steam engines supplied by Robey and Partner from England. The facility has a watershed of 603 km2. As early as 1892, the decision was made to replace the pumping station with a new one of larger capacity. An international tender was published, and the task was awarded to the joint bid submitted by the Schlick and Láng factories. The new building and its the installations were completed in 1896. The characteristic building measures 11.2 by 33.1 m and has a brick facade, with a brickset chimney, 42 m tall, standing next to it. According to the report prepared at the opening ceremony, "the architect and the engineers can be proud of both of them." The boiler had been manufactured by Nicholson. The carefully preserved mechanical installations look beautiful and are functional even today. They represented the latest technology of their day and were seen as the symbols of progress. In 1967, a new, electric pumping station was constructed next to the old facility, which has nevertheless been preserved, and has been protected monument since 1983.

Tiszabercel. Building of the pump station
Diggers at the end of the 19th century

Prior registration is required before visiting.

Operator: Upper-Tisza Region Water Management Directorate, Nyíregyháza



Excess surface waters
(Vízügyi Múzeum, Budapest)
Current map
Tiszabercel. Pull-up device of the lock
Tiszabecel. Indoor detail of the power room



Location: Mindszent,

Tisza embankments 52 -835 t km

Operator: Lower Tisza Regional Water Management Directorate, Szeged



After the great flood of 1879 that destroyed the city of Szeged, a company named Körös Tisza Maros Region Flood and Inland Control Company was founded in 1883 to regulate the lower section of Tisza between the mouths of river Körös and Maros and prevent frequent floods. The company was engaged in grandiose hydrological works for decades, regulating the section of the Tisza between the town of Csongrád and the city of Szeged, implementing embankments, and draining inland waters from the area bordered by the Körös, Tisza, and Maros rivers. Along with these works, the brick based Kurcatorok Flood Gate, crossing the flood banks on the left side of the Tisza, was implemented in 1885. Before the regulation of the Tisza, river Körös forked before reaching Tisza. One branch flowed westward past Csongrád, the other ran south past Szentes, then parallel to the Tisza for about 40 kilometres before joining it above the village of Mindszent. The latter branch of the Körös became the Kurca channel which used to be a fast-flowing river with a sizeable watershed at that time. When the regulation of the Tisza and the construction of flood banks began, both ends of the Kurca channel were filled. In order to drain inland water, the flood banks of the Tisza were cut through at the lower mouth occasionally, and then restored for the spring floods. This was a rather dangerous and expensive procedure. Therefore, experts decided that a flood gate is needed at the Kurca mouth in the early 1880's. Completed by 1885, the flood gate had two functions:

Floodgate at the river mouth of Kurca (drawing from the 19lh century)
Current map
Picture from the beginning of the 20th century

The structure was designed by royal engineer Miklós Fromm. Technical supervision was exercised by the Hungarian Royal River Improvement Office in Szeged.

The Kurcatorok Flood Gate, similarly to the two other flood gates built in the region (Porgány-ér, Kis-Tisza), was constructed on the basis of the so-called "Totontál Standing Flood Gates" used for the purpose of regulating the rivers Temes and Bega. (The Kis-Tisza Flood Gate was destroyed in an 1886 flood on the Tisza, pulled down subsequently. Later the Porgány-ér Flood Gate was also eliminated because it did not prove resisting enough.) After these two flood gates broke down, the bed plate of the Kurcatorok Flood Gate was reinforced by adding an approximately 45 centimetre layer of concrete to its walls in order to improve its resistance. Out of the three flood gates built in the region at the end of the 19th century, only the Kurcatorok Flood Gate at Mindszent was operable a hundred years later at the end of the 20th century.

The exceptionally high flood of the Tisza in 2000 damaged the 115-year-old flood gate, rendering the closing plate inoperable. Following the technical examination of the Kurcatorok Flood Gate, the Lower Tisza Region Water Management Directorate decided to reconstruct and modernise it. Apart from the technical modernisation, the concept was to preserve the exterior of the monument-like brick construction built in 1885. By autumn 2001, under the auspices of post flood reconstruction, the modernisation of the Kurcatorok Flood Gate was completed, resulting in a historical monument identical to the original.

Water catchment areas of the Tisza river and its influent rivers (Florian Pasetti, 1862) 
Photos about the reconstruction in 2001


The Kurcatorok Flood Gate was constructed in 1885. Crossing the flood banks, the 2.20 metre thick bed plate of the gate culvert was made of concrete with small pieces of brick surrounded by a wood sheet-pile. The top of the bed plate was the base flow level of the entire structure. The brick walled upper structure of the facility was built on top of the bed plate, including a brick vaulted discharge chest 4 metres wide and 4.5 metres high, a pit on the Tisza side, and two brick curved wings at either end of the structure. The single opening structure could be closed by a sizeable riveted plate made of steel. It was closed by a manual mechanical moving gear equipped with a double toothed rack. Above the closing area on the pit cover there was a wooden engine room.

The structure underwent modernisation in 1964. A new engine room made of armoured concrete was placed above the moving gear. The manual rear was turned into a mechanism driven by an electric motor.ln 1976, further modernisation took place, and the closing plate was equipped with rubber plate sealing.

Installation of the pipe liners, 2001
Photos about the reconstruction in 2001


As the flood gate became inoperable during the flood of 2000, reconstruction began in autumn 2000. During the reconstruction, while preserving the exterior of the brick flood gate and monument, the following works were carried out to ensure compliance with modern flood control requirements:


Alsó-Tisza vidéki Vízügyi Igazgatóság, Szeged


SZEVIÉP Szerkezet és Vízépítő Rt, Szeged


KONSTRUKTŐR Mérnökiroda Kft.

1033 Budapest, Kaszásdülő u. 2.


The completed lock. Autumn 2001



The Kurcatorok Flood Gate is a water management structure that has been in the main line of defence from flooding for more than 100 years. Its exterior has preserved the look of the brick building constructed in 1885 even after its reconstruction and modernisation, which makes it a unique monument.



Accessible by road (Rd. 47 or Rd. 45) via Mindszent. Leave the village, then turn to the north at the ferry and drive on the flood banks to the north.



Name: Foundry Museum of the National Museum of Engineering

Address: 1027 Budapest. Bem József u. 26.

Open all year daily except Mondays.


Budapest boast the first foundry museum in Europe located in an authentic industrial building which was home to iron casting from 1858 to 1964. Not only is the structure of the building genuine, but several technical instruments still stand in their original place. Small as it may seem today, this building was the birth place of Ganz Works, the most influential concern in 20th century Hungary.

GANZ Ábrahám (1814-1867)
The statute of the „Hungarian Founder" in front of the museum
Current map
„Smefther pantheon" in the park in front of the museum. Cast gas lamp-posts
Photo By: Holló Csaba

Born in Switzerland, Abraham Ganz moved in Hungary in 1841. He purchased this lot and the building with the money he had earned as foundryman and opened his own foundry. He earned one professional award after the other with his excellent commercial cast iron, and he received international recognition for his chilled-iron wheels for use in railway carriages. In 1853, he commenced mass producing railway wheels based on his own patent to fulfill orders from the Austrian Railways. Apart from Hungary, his products became widespread in Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, and Russia. Built between 1858 and 1862, the industrial shed was supported by wooden beams, had a wooden roof frame and a Shéd roof. In 1867, 100,000 railway wheels were cast in this hall. Used today as a foundry museum, the building became the first division, the main plant of Ganz industries. Of course, the factory that reached its maximum size in 1928 consisted of several buildings even then.

Abraham Ganz set up his factory after carefully choosing skillful 7 foundrymen. When he died in 1969, the main plant already employed 700 people. In 1969, the company became a company limited by shares which was developed into a global corporation by András Mechwart mechanical engineer, Ábrahám Ganz's former colleague. They made further developments on the chill casting of mill wheels. In 1874, an electrical factor was opened on a nearby lot. (Millenáris Park was established on this lot using some of the buildings.) In 1880, Ganz purchased First Hungarian Royal Wagon Works in Pest, and in 1897, András Mechwart introduced the production of Griffin's wheels. (This technology along with the related equipment was used until 1964 practically without any modifications.) In 1911, GANZ RT merged with Danubius Boat and Engine Works. By 1910, the company had more than 15,000 employees.

Foundry exhibition. Hearth plate from the old Buda castle (18th century).
Foundry exhibition. Cast iron stoves from the 19th century
Pelton water turbine blades at the open-air exhibition (2002)
Internal detail of the museum. Pre-collecting kettle.
Internal detail of the museum, Moulding circle
Photo By: Holló Csaba

In spite of market decline after WWI and the later Great Depression, GANZ survived. Its electrical engines, Jendrassik's diesel motor wagons, cranes, sea boats, and steel structures became famous worldwide. In 1946, the concern was nationalized and cut in to several pieces although their names were preserved. In 1956, Ganz Wagon and Engine Works was merged with MÁVAG. The former main plant became the hot works unit of Ganz-MÁVAG.

In the meantime, the building of the main plant was closely surrounded by a number of multi-storey residential block. The outdated technology involving dust, smoke and noise disturbed the inhabitants of this elegant residential area. In 1957, the Ministry of Metallurgy and Engineering Industry decided to eliminate the Ganz main plant. In accordance with the city plan approved in 1961, the out-ofdate buildings should have been demolished as they could not be fitted into the cityscape. In 1963, plans were made for the construction of a multi-storey block of flats and a nursery school replacing the main plant.

Production stopped on 15 August 1964. An excellent documentary was shot on location as the last portions were poured in the cupola and the last few casts were completed.

Open-air exhibition
Foundry museum
Internal detail of the museum. Moulding circle
Foundry building of the Ganz Body Factory. Drawing from 1867
Workers of the Ganz foundry, about 1870

Forrás: Pannon Enciklopédia

Magyar ipar-és technika történet

(KERTEK 2000)

Budapest, 1999

Photo By: Holló Csaba

The Metallurgical History Board (civil organisation enjoying governmental support) entered into a fight for saving the buildings of the Ganz main plant. Lenin Metallurgical Works in Diósgyőr wanted to purchase the buildings for use by the congested Foundry Museum in Diósgyőr (which was later moved to Lillafüred), a part of the Central Museum of Metallurgy, and the Budapest commercial branch of the company. Luckily, this battle turned out to be useful. Led by Gyula Kiszely foundry metallurgical engineer and using the experience of the Metallurgical Museum in Diósgyőr, constructions directed at turning the 1858 Shéd roofed foundry hall into a Foundry Museum began in 1964. The museum opened on 14 September 1969. In 1988, Ganz-MÁVAG started to dissolve into several companies mainly owned by foreigners. At the same time, metallurgical activities at Diósgyőr also became very difficult. Lenin Metallurgical Works (the operator of the museum) was dissolved and the factory was divided in to several smaller units as a result of a series of liquidation proceedings.

The Foundry Museum became a part of the National Museum of Technology.

The museum presents foundry practice and the history of the factory in the following units:

  1. The operable contemporary equipment of Ganz's chill casting works below two sets of cranes (arranged in two casting circles). Original products of Ganz Foundry at display.
  2. Two cupolas and batch shelves with authentic equipment.
  3. Exhibition on the developments during the 1100 years of metallurgy in Hungary, presenting the history of 500-year-old iron casting, 150-yearold steel casting with artifacts, artistic casts, and excellent products of plate and furnace casting.
  4. Exhibition on the history of technology.

The former officers of the Ganz Foundry and the most famous creative engineers of Ganz Works so widely recognised by society that streets were named after them. The street of Ganz's main plant is called Ganz Ábrahám street today, and a nearby square was named after András Mechwart. Outside the museum, surrounded by gas street lamps with cast iron poles, there are a number of bronze statues of the greatest figures of metallurgy in Hungary. This is the Pantheon of Metallurgy. In front of the entrance stands the statue of a Hungarian foundryman. On display is the last wheel-set used in horse-driven trains in Budapest, along with other products of the Ganz Foundry at the open air exhibition.


Street front of the building of the foundry. Drawing from 1862
Furnace and bogie truck
The remaining original building of the foundry, today museum. (2002)
Photo By: Holló Csaba





As early as in Roman times, there was a bridge (a pontoon bridge) linking the mountainous terrain on the right bank of the river Danube with the flatlands on the left bank within the present-day area of Hungary's capital city. Indeed, this location had been used as a crossing point since the earliest times. Pictures of the city of Buda dating from the early 16th century to the mid-19th century always show one pontoon bridge overthe Danube, linking the cities of Buda and Pest. The pontoon bridge was finally dismantled in 1850. In 1945, however, there was once again just a pontoon bridge (the Kossuth Bridge) standing between the two banks of the Danube, since the retreating German forces blew up all the bridges across the river in January of that year. Today, there are seven vehicular bridges over the Danube within the area of Budapest. (Of the seven, the Lágymányosi Bridge serves as a road and railway bridge as well.) The four bridges in the inner city were built in the 19th century, with three more added in the 20th. In the present day, the seven vehicular bridges are insufficient to ensure congestion-free travel over the Danube for the capital city's two million inhabitants.

The most famous of the Budapest bridges is the Chain Bridge, which is often featured as a symbol of the city. The bridge that is perhaps best liked by the people of Budapest is the Elizabeth Bridge, which was rebuilt in a brand new form after nearly twenty years of lying in ruins. The longest and busiest bridge is the Árpád Bridge. But in our view, the most beautiful one is undoubtedly the Liberty Bridge. This is the only bridge over the Danube in Budapest which stands in its original form, with its original dimensions and decorations even today.

Panorama of the bridge from the Gellért hill
Bridges of Budapest                     Current map

The Liberty Bridge is a Gerber support with three openings. The openings linked to the riverbanks have their cantilevers running inwards. There is a suspended structure in the middle with two columns. The bridge has a grid iron structure. It was built in the 19th century to link the Gellért Mountain with the customs houses and warehouses lining the left bank of the Danube. It is the shortest of the Budapest bridges. The openings at either end are 78.10 m long, the middle opening is 175.00 m. The cantilevers reaching out from the outside openings are 64.05 m long, with suspended supports spanning 48.80 m at the end of the cantilevers. The height of the main supports is 4.71 m at the abutments, 22.00 m above the river piers and 3.02 m at the middle of the suspended support. The iron structure of the bridge weighs 6102 tons. The size of the base of the river piers on the ground-plan is 28.0 by 7.50 m, with ice-breaking caps. The stonework above the base at the river piers and all the f ront and side revetments at the abutments above a height of 5.30 m are of dressed granite.

Originally, the iron structure of the vehicle deck consisted of 51 grated cross-girders with five rows of plate-girders placed in between and an iron cushion on top. On the iron cushion there was a layer of asphaltic concrete, then two rows of pinewood deals, with the block pathway of 13 cm thick impregnated beech above it. During the renovation works, this structure was replaced with a bridge deck of reinforced concrete plates and poured asphalt. The iron structure of the pavements was made of grated cantilever beams. In order to prevent the openings at either end from tilting over, cast iron counter-weights of 609 tons each were placed at both abutments.

Bed pier
Detail of the bridge portalsupport
Panorama of the bridge from the Gellért hill
On the walls of the two building on the Pest side, we can find plaques commemorating the builders and the reconstructors of the bridge.

The two gateways above the river piers, made of "laced" steel, were a rarity at the time of construction among iron bridge piers imitating stone

and wood architecture. The piers of the gateways above the river piers end in grated pyramids at the top, and are linked with a special, decorated crossgirder. On either side of this girder, we can find the coat of arms of Hungary, with the Holy Crown. The pyramids end in spheres. On the spheres, we find depictions of the turul, the famous eagle-like bird, a renowned character of Hungarian mythology, spreading its wings for take-off. The railings on the bridge are also characteristic, with a distinctive, ornamented X-shaped grated iron structure. At either end of the bridge, next to the abutments, two single-storey toll collection buildings were constructed. After the Second World War, the two buildings on the Buda side were not rebuilt. On the walls of the two building on the Pest side, we can find plaques commemorating the builders and the reconstructors of the bridge.

The bridge was built as part of a government-funded project, based on an act passed in 1893. An international tender was published for the construction of the Elizabeth Bridge and the Emperor Francis Joseph Bridge. 74 design bids were submitted for the tender, 21 of them for construction of the bridge near Fővám Square (the Emperor Francis Joseph Bridge). Schikedanz, the famous Austrian architect, was among the bidders. The design bids submitted for the two bridges were evaluated together. This is how it came to be that János Feketeházy, whose design bid had originally been rated second best, was awarded the task of making the working drawings for the Emperor Francis Joseph Bridge. (The detail drawings for the iron structure were made by the engineers István Gállik and Jenő Jurkinyi, whilst Virgil Nagy, a university lecturer, was responsible for drawing up the plans for the decorations of the gateways.) The bridge was built entirely according to the original plans. The substructures were constructed in 1894 (by two engineers, Gertner and Zsigmondy) with the sinking of iron cases and with the use of the

barometric technique. Fitting of the iron structure began in 1895, carried out by the engineering works of the Hungarian State Railways. The work took exactly a year to complete. The bridge was fitted with electric lighting (12 arc lamps and 8 glowlamps) and also with 48 gas lamps. Along with numerous other edifices that feature among the highlights of the Budapest townscape, the bridge was completed in time for the official ceremonies commemorating the thousand-year anniversary of the founding of the Hungarian state. Even Emperor Francis Joseph put in an appearance at the formal opening ceremony, held on 4 October, 1896, to place the commemorative rivet, which can be seen even today.

The exploded portion of the bridge on the Buda-side, February 1945
Rebuilding of the brige, 1946
Detail of the bridge portalsupport
Detail of the steel structure of the bed pier.

On 31 May, 1898, tram traffic commenced on the bridge. At first, the tracks ran along the two edges of the bridge deck. They were only relocated to the longitudinal axis of the bridge in 1938. In order to reduce the weight of the bridge, the wooden block pathway was kept in place until 1980, even though the pavements had been replaced with reinforced concrete plates and a poured asphalt cover in 1923.

On January 16, 1945, the retreating German forces blew up the bridge. On March 15,1945 a pontoon bridge was fitted in place of the collapsed cantilevers and the suspended support, until it was carried away by the drifting ice on 10 January, 1946. The destroyed structural components were re-manufactured according to the original plans. The components were assembled on the riverbank. The 50 ton blocks and the 120 ton suspended support were lifted into place using floating cranes. The bridge was reopened to traffic on August 20, 1946.

The reinforced concrete pathway with a poured asphalt cover was fitted in 1980. At the same time, maintenance works were carried out on the cast iron counter-weights.

Today, the bridge can still be seen in its original form, a tribute to the creative work of engineers.

The construction parameters of the bridges over the Danube in central Budapest

Name up to World War II Chain Bridge Margaret Bridge Emperor Francis Joseph Bridge Elizabeth Bridge Miklós Horthy Bridge Árpád Bridge
Name after World War II     Liberty Bridge - Petőfi Bridge -
Date of construction 1839-1849 1872-1876 1894-1896 1898-1903 1933-1937 1939-1950
Date of renovation 1913-1915 1935-1937 - 1959-1964 1979-1980 1981-1984
Date of reconstruction after World War II. 1948-1949 1946-1948 1945-1946 1959-1964 1951-1952 1948-1950
Length (m) 380 607 331 379 378 772
Original width of bridge deck (m) road (m) pavement 5,40 11,06 10,50 11,00 15,70 11,00
1,80 2,89 2,90 3,50 3,50 1,00
Width of bridge deck after renovation (m) road                                       (m)pavement 6,45 18,00 10,50 11,00 20,40 22,00
2,20 3,50 2,90 3,50 2,60 3,00



• Dr. Gál Imre: The Danube bridges in Budapest. (Budapest 1984)



János Feketeházy

(1842 Vágsellye-1927 Vágsellye) Engineer, bridgeman

Studies: at the Technical University of Vienna and Zürich

Career: Railway Construction Directorate,

Hungarian State Railways

Main projects:

Drawing of the portalsupport of the Ferenc József bridge, 1894
Structural detail of the bridge
Photo by: Hollo Csaba 2002


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