Green island in Budapest: ELTE botanical garden
by Kitti Bába
In the heart of Budapest, in the middle of the concrete jungle lies a calm place full of tropical flowers and plants. This garden – often referred to as a ‘green island’ – is the ELTE botanical garden. Founded in 1771, it is the country’s oldest botanical garden. With an over 3.5-hectare territory, the park and its hothouses host over 8,000 plants. The garden claims to help visitors understand the importance of plants and the meaning of biodiversity. Let’s find out a bit more about this magical jungle.
The ELTE botanical garden (in Hungarian: Füvészkert), is Hungary’s first botanical garden founded by Jakab Winterl, professor of chemistry and botany. The garden was originally in Nagyszombat and was later moved to Buda in 1777 and then to Pest in 1784. The garden’s care was always done by professionals, as Hungary’s most outstanding science personalities took care of the plants and flowers. After Winterl’s death, his colleague Pál Kitaibel, polyhistor, took over the management of the garden. In honour of Kitaibel’s memorable work on the garden, Eötvös Loránd University’s Department of Mineralogy melted a copy of Kitaibel’s bust and exhibited it in the garden. The bust’s speciality is that it was made with a newly developed melting technique by imitating the process of volcanic activity.
Between the two World Wars, the garden’s territory decreased significantly. Due to lack of funding, it was neglected. Later, as it received funding, new hothouses were built which could host ferns and cacti. After its damage from World War II, the recovery was a slow process and the garden was only fully redone by 1950.
Since 2006 the garden has been operating as a special educational unit of Eötvös Loránd University and receives EU funding. One of its most important tasks is to provide as a field for scientific research and to supply knowledge and environmental education to all visitors.
The story behind the name
The original name of the garden was the Latin Hortus Botanicus. The Hungarian name Füvészkert appeared as a synonym for botanical garden. However, the spread of the name was because of Ferenc Molnár’s well-known novel, The Paul Street Boys. Füvészkert’s widespread popularity is really due to the novel, as an important scene of the plot takes place in the botanical garden. The Hungarian name dates back to the age of language renewal and has been used to this day. Not only its name, but the garden’s popularity is also connected to the novel. In one scene the protagonist Ernő Nemecsek and his friends hide in the old orangery in the garden. To commemorate the novel and its iconic hero, a statue of Nemecsek has recently been inaugurated in the pool of Victoria House. The boy is depicted standing in the pool fully dressed as if he had just emerged from the water after his forced bathing.
Monuments and plant collections
The most monumental attraction of the garden is probably its Victoria House with its large pool of water. It is home to some extremely special tropical and Amazonian giant water lilies and the Paraguayan giant water lily. The garden’s treasures also include some fern pines, some of which are more than 150 years old. Visitors also favour its hothouses, palm trees, orchids, and cacti. The garden’s mission is to preserve and protect endangered plants. Many plants are cared for outdoors, but there is a significant number of plants kept in greenhouses. The garden also hosts a great collection of special plants and flowers, which is expanded year by year.
Education and other services
Visitors of the ELTE botanical garden can receive professional guidance around the whole garden and can learn about all the details about endangered and tropical plants. Even without guidance, those arriving at the garden can read a lot about all the pieces as there are hundreds of information boards available by the plants. You can also rent a room in the central building to host events in the garden.
Regular programs also enrich the experience in the garden, such as the Sakura Festival in the spring, which is a traditional Japanese event linked to the cherry tree blossom season. Furthermore, during the autumn, Ginkgo Days bring the Chinese culture into the lives of visitors. The garden is open until November, welcoming anyone open to learn more about plants and botany.
sources (pictures): Gergő Vollai
A cikk elolvasása után döntsétek el, hogy a következő mondatok igazak (T), hamisak (F), vagy nem volt róluk szó (NM) a cikkben.
- Hungary’s first botanical garden was founded by Pál Kitaibel.
- Kitaibel’s bust is special because it was made with a newly developed melting technique by imitating the process of volcanic activity.
- The popularity of Ferenc Molnár’s well-known novel, The Paul Street Boys, is due to Füvészkert because an important scene of the plot takes place in the botanical garden.
- To commemorate the novel and its iconic hero, a statue of Nemecsek surrounded by some of his friends has recently been inaugurated in the pool of Victoria House.
- Those arriving at the garden can read a lot about all the pieces as there are hundreds of colourful and interactive information boards available by the plants.
keys/megoldások: 1. F, by Jakab Winterl; 2. T; 3. F, Füvészkert’s widespread popularity is really due to the novel, because an important scene of the plot takes place in the botanical garden.; 4. F, the boy is depicted standing in the pool fully dressed as if he had just emerged from the water after his forced bathing.; 5. NM, all we know is that there are hundreds of information boards available by the plants, we don’t know anything more about these boards
|botanical garden||botanikus kert|
|The Paul Street Boys||A Pál utcai fiúk|
|to emerge||előbukkanni, kiemelkedni|