Lágymányos Bay separated from the Danube by Kopaszi Levee (Kopaszi-gát) is in the heart of Nádorkert area, District 11. The levee lies just next to Rákóczi Bridge stretching up to 900 meters. In the mid-2000s the levee was revitalized, a playground, cafés and bars were built making the previously neglected area popular again. However, there are further plans for the future to continue development.
As opposed to its name, Lágymányos Bay belongs Nádorkert (Palatine’s Garden) bordered by Budafoki Street, Dombóvári Street, Vízpart Street, Hauszmann Alajos Street. The area used to be a well-groomed farmland with farm buildings and a renowned fruit garden. In the early 20th century there were plans to establish the University Botanical Garden of Budapest here and other plans also to build the National Stadium in the area.
Kopaszi Levee played a key role in river management of the capital to avoid floods. Learning the lesson from the icy flood of 1838 when an ice dam formed on the local reefs Lágymányos Bay was built (1870-1876) to prevent ice jams. By filling a part of the river bed the Lágymányos Lake was formed.
Lágymányosi-öböl Lágymányos Bay is the side product of building Kopaszi levee for the purpose of flood prevention and it became a popular recreational area in the 20th century. After post-war years of neglect it was revitalized that made it one of the most frequented public parks of Budapest.
These changes allowed for building a modern winter port with railway access and cargo services. As a rapid development began in the early 20th century and the construction of Technical University buildings started a 7 hectare area got filled up. When filling another part earth was taken from dredging the port. This resulted in additional construction site and a usable port at the same time.
Afterwards boathouses, holiday houses, diners were built on the manmade Kopaszi Levee. After WW2 life by the waterside livened up, however, industrial investments in the neighborhood caused natural environment to decline. From then on new facilities both private and industrial appeared in a spontaneous manner. The bay remained out of scope for long and only the beginning of the new millennium brought changes.
Plans for remodeling the levee started to come true in the 1990s by pulling down certain buildings. The documentary by Gyula Nemes (“Lost world”) following the course of changes received the “Best documentary” award at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in 2008.
In 2003, owners and the local government made a decision on development plans. New Buda founded a company (Bay 11) to coordinate the project in 2003 and by summer of 2007 a revitalized public park was created on the levee and along the coast of the bay. For the time bathing is not allowed but still various recreational facilities make it a popular place. A yacht port, a dragon boat club as well as a kayak and canoe club attract fans of water sports. Restaurants, cafés and diners opened. Kid’s Bay Playroom with a café charms both children and parents. The park is ideal for picnicking, however, Fruska Picnic & Bistro creates a rural ambience for this in a diner’s environment. One of the buildings on the levee functions as an exhibition area.
Security is granted by a surveillance camera system and the river police. The building of the police station at the entrance is a remarkable piece of contemporary architecture designed by László Váncza and Zoltán Szécsi Zoltán. In general, buildings on the levee harmonize in color and style with large glass windows maintaining proximity to nature.
The levee is a venue for several sports events. In 2012, the 3rd Red Bull Flyday was held in the bay with self-made flying objects. Creative ideas included a flying pink shoe, lawnmower and a cap. In 2016, Iron Man competition started from the park and it has become a popular place to watch live broadcast of football matches.
Despite property development the bay is rich in diverse natural values. Fish favor the outer side of the levee where water flow creates an ideal habitat and protected species, such as the common dace, the western tubenose goby and the three-spined stickleback are also present. The area attracts mostly water birds. Little ringed plovers have returned to the levee after years and dunlins, which normally do not nest in Hungary, were observed too. Various gull species are also common in the bay and birdhouses have been placed to increase singing bird population.
The outer side of the levee has a protected status to maintain the rich fauna and flora. The first sighting of the “Beaver of Kopaszi levee” was recorded in 2010. Photos of it by Ádám Horváth earned him the “Photographer of the year” title (“The Earth is in our hands” category) in 2014. Visitors may also observe the beaver at dusk at the southern tip of the levee.
Leveraging unique features of the bay is in the scope of ambitious plans revealed in 2016. The “Budapart” concept is a complex development project with living and office quarters, entertainment, shopping and recreational facilities, a new bridge and a port. Design works were assigned to the Danish architecture firm Adept. Buildings of various heights and designated green areas both aim to keep proximity to nature and scenic view for future residents, workers and visitors of the place.
Both the historic background and future perspectives of Kopaszi levee make it a location of top priority in the district. For sports, a walk, a picnic or a coffee in a natural environment the bay is an excellent choice.
- Every day from 6.00 to 22.00
Universities and parks on the two sides of the Danube The bike trip from the university campus to Kopaszi levee lets you discover the riverbanks crossing the Danube twice. Riding along the river you will a beautiful spa, a university building that dominates the riverside, significant cultural spots and probably the most popular park of the city.
An architecture tour in New Buda This route helps to discover a selection of 20th century architectural attractions of the district, especially those that reopened with a new function after having lost their old one: bus station transformed into a restaurant and café, or a gearbox factory turned into a supermarket.