A Cry for Help to Preserve the Ruins in Margaret Island

Text: János Roth

Back in 1997 the management of the municipality of Budapest decided to professionally excavate the ruins of the monastery in Margaret Island which had been deteriorating for decades by then. The plan was to also rate it as a priority of the protection of historic buildings. The site of these ruins is one of the most significant archaeological findings and building complexes of the Middle Ages in Budapest. The prelude to this restoration project was the Ruins Garden realized in 1937/38 after plans by Géza Lux which was completed for the Eucharistic World Congress in 1938. There had been minor excavations after World War II as well, but the ruins and their environs soon started to deteriorate. The architectural solution by Lux need to be reassessed not only because of the destructions of the war, but also because of the more than 150 years passed since then and the more modern solutions applied by the protection of historic buildings. By 2010 the Ruins Garden was restored according to a contemporary concept in a respectful way, but the reconstruction was halted before its completion and the precious findings have been deteriorating ever since whilst their presentation is incomplete. Located in one of the most frequented tourist attractions of the capital city, the medieval ruins of Margaret Island started to decay once again. The study below draws attention to this risk and threat.