The city of Budapest hides many secrets. Beneath the waves of the Danube lies an island that has passed into legend. It bore the name “Fürdő-sziget” or “Bathing island”. Only a few maps remind us of its existence, but once upon a time, it used to be an important part of the city. Nowadays, one can only see where it once stood in the mighty river.
Most people are familiar with Margaret Island, but few of them know that it had a little brother up to the north. In the newly published book of Szabolcs Kordos titled Egy város titkai, we can read a little bit more about this long-gone island. It once stood between the island of Óbuda and Transaquincum. It was a very peculiar place that had been part of the city since ancient times.
Flóris Rómer archaeologist had done excavations on the island in the 1850s and he uncovered old Roman ruins. Later a geologist named József Szabó also made research on the island. He concluded that in Roman times, it must have been a bath, hence the name of the island. It was not very big, measuring only 540 metres in length and 108 metres in width. Despite its small size, about 50 to 60 thermal springs could be found on it. One of these had reached the temperature of 58.8 degrees Celsius. It was a true natural treasure, but it did not stand the test of time.
Where did it go?
In the 19th century, floodings became more and more frequent and the small island was inundated multiple times. Between 1873-1874, the Danube river had been regulated. To make sailing on the river easier it had been dredged with all of its ruins. Only a single one-metre-tall column remains from the lost ruins. It was an altar stone, raised in honour of the Danube as a deity.
The land of the island has been reused during the land reclamations of the neighbouring Margaret Island. Sadly, it was destroyed though in order to allow transportation on the Danube. In a recent examination, researchers with heat cameras found that the thermal springs were still spewing out hot water on the river bed.
In the future
By now, there are some clear plans for the use of thermal water, writes Dunaszigetek. The examinations are still ongoing, thus it is still uncertain when and if something will happen. Hungary is famous for its thermal water. If the water could be used from this forgotten island, it would be a nice addition to the city’s baths which are already great in number.
Where the island once stood. Source: Wikimedia Commons/ Cnes – Spot Image