Csepel Island and the Ráckeve-Danube branch
The “Big Island”, the Magna Insula, is the legendary place of the beginning of our nation’s history. Originally, the Danube formed the land’s actual image. The Prime-Danube’s river drift, with the gravel fields, created the slightly wavering, lowland scenery. The Danube’s flood caused a huge problem for the local people. Numerous towns changed their locations after the flood’s destruction. The Danube’s muddy river drift created meadows at the southern side of the island. The idea of controlling this part of the Danube was first designed by an engineer, namely Jenő Kvassay in 1928, when he built sluices. These sluices solved the area’s flood problem and maintained the water’s depth, transforming the “Small-Danube” into a moderate, lake-like water paradise. Today, the water of the 47 km long and 3 to10 km wide Csepel Island is perfect for swimming, and is rich in numerous fish species.
Some traces of the ancestral inhabitants in the Carpathians can also be found here. There are quarries of archaeology in Szigetszentmiklós, Szigetszentmárton, and Dunaharaszti and in Tököl, where unique historical artifacts have been found. These findings can be seen in the National Museum in Budapest and in the Local History Museums in Szigetszentmiklós and Ráckeve. A lot of historical artifacts were found from the Árpád era from the island and also from the lowland. The most devoted followers of the Árpád-cult are the inhabitants of Ráckeve, where the bridge, a statue, a museum, a square and a closed-down mill bear the name of Árpád. The most precious artifact of the mediaeval-era in Ráckeve is the Serbian Church, which is the only one in Hungary, and the northern-most Serbian Orthodox church in Europe.
Csepel Island and the Ráckeve-Danube branch have a mixed ethnic background. The island’s first Serbian settlers came here in the 12th century, at the time of King Béla II. In 1440, there was an inflow of privileged Serbs, followed later by those Serbs who were running away from the Turks. Now their mostly preserved ethnic region is Lórév. The German ethnic tradition is kept in several towns all over the island, with some of the German descendants living on the lowland-side. Their preserved traditions, the international folk dance festivals and the village days lure tourists to the area.
The most gallant era in the history of Pest county was the war of independence in 1848-1849. The memories of this fight can be found in Ráckeve (Ács Károly), in Szigetújfalu (Görgey), the Petőfi memorials in Dömsöd and the Kossuth-cult in Áporka.