Initially, Kopaszi Levee was aimed to play a role in river management, but it has become more than it was planned for. A riverside park revitalized in the 2000s with various facilities for dining and sports in a natural environment.
Lágymányos Bay separated from the Danube by Kopaszi Levee is in the heart of Nádorkert area, District 11. The levee lies just next to the Connecting Railway Bridge and 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.
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.
A 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 riverbed the Lágymányos Lake was formed. 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 Budapest 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. By 1937, three
bridges connecting southern districts of Budapest had also been completed. Afterwards boathouses, holiday houses, diners were built on the manmade Kopaszi Levee.
After WW2, in the 1960s, life by the waterside livened up, however, industrial investments in the neighbourhood 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 remodelling 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) in 2003 to coordinate the project,
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, bistros and restaurants await visitors too. As the river is nearby, the view greatly contributes to your experience.
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 colour 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 also started from the park with various programmes for visitors too.
Despite property development the bay is rich in diverse natural values. Fish favour 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 songbird 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. Supposedly, a whole family have set up home there.
According to the most recent plans for development, a new residential area will be constructed here called BudaPart with buildings offering various services.
Construction works have started and a new town is being born.