Margaret Island, Budapest
Margaret Island is a 2.5 km long and 500 metres wide island in the middle of the River Danube. The island is a popular recreational area. Its medieval ruins are reminders of its importance in the Middle Ages as a religious centre. The island spans the area between the Margaret Bridge (south) and the Árpád Bridge (north). Before the 14th century the island was called Insula leporum (Island of Rabbits).
The island houses various sports establishments, like the Palatinus water park (the largest open-air swimming complex in Budapest), the Alfréd Hajós sports pool (where the European LC Championships 1958, 2006 and 2010 took place), a tennis stadium and an athletics centre. The island has a rubber-coated running track measuring 5.35 kilometers (3.33 miles), and is popular among both locals and tourists because of its superb quality and easy access.
Main sights on the island:
A small Japanese Garden with a fish pond, a tiny zoo, the "Music Well" (Zenélő kút), a fountain where music is played and light shows are performed in summer from 9-10 pm (it is closer to Margaret bridge). There is also an open-air theatre accommodating an audience of 3500, and several clubs and restaurants. For exploration and pastime, four-person cycle cars or small electric cars can be rented for use on the area of the island.
The Music Fountain and the Water Tower are protected UNESCO sites.
The Knights of St. John settled on the island in the 12th century. Among the present historical monuments of the island are the 13th century ruins of a Franciscan church and a Dominican church and convent. The island was dominated by nunneries, churches and cloisters until the 16th century. During the Ottoman wars the monks and nuns fled and the buildings were destroyed. In the 18th century it was chosen to be the resort of palatines. It was declared a public garden in 1908.
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