architecture : urban : visual culture

THE DANUBE EMBANKMENT OF BUDAPEST – A SWEEP ROUND

Until the nineteenth century the transport routes followed the rivers and upstream the boats had to be towed from the riverside. The passing through had to be allowed all along the river. The emergence of roads along the banks goes back to those times.

Until the nineteenth century the transport routes followed the rivers and upstream the boats had to be towed from the riverside. The passing through had to be allowed all along the river. The emergence of roads along the banks goes back to those times. Towed cargo-boats have lost importance after steamboats appeared and – espe- cially in the inhabited territories – the cross-connection between the bank and the wa- ter has gained ascendancy. New activities have appeared besides the fishing, as wa- ter-demanding activities (e.g. leather tanning), energy-demanding ones (e.g. mill- trade) or transport-demanding ones. Busy river-quays have developed in this way.

THE RIVER, AS A RECEIVER OF THE SEWAGE
The settlements with growing number of inhabitants meant also a bigger source of pollution. In some places the contradiction has taken shape quite soon: it was not possible any more to turn towards the water and to use the river as a sewer at the same time. The ratio between the volume of inhabitants and the trade, versus the quantity of the water flowing through the settlement determined the time by that the river got absolutely dirty. The Themes in London seemed to be in critical condition already 150 years ago with its bad smell and disappeared transparency.

The load-bearing capacity of the Danube was not yet in danger in that time. Still Pest’s big flood in 1838 drew the attention to another problem, namely that the dirt coming from the latrines of the flooded territories can cause epidemics. The problem made urgent the canalization, that is instead of keeping the sewage in the site, directing it into the Danube. This lead to the covering of the open running streams of the Buda side, transforming them to sewers in this way.

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