The area thus increased in a southerly direction on the side towards Királydomb (King Hill), while the park’s promenade was moved further in by two rows of trees. An arbour was constructed on one of the promenades of the renewed garden, to which a stepping stone walkway is added as an extra feature to allow people to traverse this part of the park. Another addition is the KNEIPP path consisting of surfaces with various textures, which, when used barefoot, improves the sense of balance and has a beneficial effect on posture. The interconnected streams fed by a spring meander along their original course, creating a pleasant atmosphere, while the pools featuring open waters as well as the flora and fauna of wetlands have also been rebuilt. Over 35,000 new plants consisting of some 335 various species have been planted in the renewed Mihály Mőcsényi Botanical Garden. The dilapidated old rain shelter has been replaced by a modern building assigned hospitality, service and educational functions.
The renewed botanical garden, a new adventure park for dogs and the two-kilometre long, illuminated City Park Circular Running Track have been completed within the framework of the Liget Budapest Project, announced Benedek Gyorgyevics, the CEO of Városliget Zrt. responsible for the implementation of the Liget Budapest Project. The Mőcsényi Mihály Botanical Garden awaits visitors as a colourful, atmospheric communal space and knowledge centre on nature, while sports enthusiasts can utilise the completed two-kilometre circular tartan track within a few days. As a result of these developments, over 150,000 m² of green area was revamped during the implementation of the Liget Budapest Project along with the planting of almost 500 new, healthy trees. The CEO also announced that the next development phase of the park is soon to begin, which will continue with a complete landscaping renovation through the development of a new green area of over several thousand square metres.
Thanks to the Liget Budapest Project, one of the educational elements of the City Park, the botanical garden parading some of the most remarkable plants of the park, was restored to its former glory. The reopened botanical garden was named after Mihály Mőcsényi, the founder of landscape architecture education in Hungary.
“With his expansive knowledge Mihály Mőcsényi was an internationally recognised scholar of landscape architecture, and it is a great honour for us that he personally took part in drawing up the landscape architectural competition for the renewal of the City Park and as co-chair of the jury in evaluating the submitted projects. The City Park will forever preserve Mihály Mőcsényi’s spirit and by taking his name the botanical garden pays eternal tribute to the memory of the legendary professor,” stated Benedek Gyorgyevics.
The botanical garden was opened to the public in 1967, on the centenary of Főkert (Metropolitan Gardening Company). The show garden housed curative herbs and plants, kitchen garden plants, grapes, fruit, annual flowers as well as aquatic, wetland and rock-garden plants. A rain cabin served as a central element of the garden but spectacular features also included a gurgling water system fed by a spring and a pergola with two pools. In recent decades, the condition of the garden significantly deteriorated, its vegetation shrank, its infrastructure became outdated and the rain cabin became dilapidated. An opportunity for the long-awaited renovation project was provided within the framework of the Liget Budapest Project. The implementation of the project was carried out in accordance with the original plans, which were based on the landscape gardening designs of 1967 and 1969 to be found in Főkert’s architectural archives, and on the implementation plan of 1980.
“After its renewal the Mihály Mőcsényi Botanical Garden is a colourful and atmospheric communal space again and at the same time functions as a knowledge centre on nature and can serve as the venue for open-air biology and natural science lessons. Therefore, special emphasis was placed on the planting and the development of the information system since one of our important aims is for groups from local schools and kindergartens to visit here and for the children to become familiar with all the more species of plants,” noted Benedek Gyorgyevics.
A new paradise for dogs
As part of the second phase of the City Park’s development a thematic adventure park for dogs welcomes owners and their four-legged friends. Located close to the crossing of Ajtósi Dürer and Stefánia roads, this new paradise for dogs with an area of half a hectare is easily accessible and is surrounded by a security fence equipped with sluice gate entrances.
As a special feature, separate areas are allocated for small and large dogs in order to avoid clashes and conflicts. The play areas in both of these parts were designed to have an uneven terrain fitted with agility elements, tunnels, jumps and slaloms. Benches and combination drinking fountains provide comfort for dogs and their owners alike, while hygiene is facilitated by over a dozen dog waste bins.
It is important to note that – with the exception of some closed-off areas – the City Park continues to be open to dogs. The entire plant stock of the new dog adventure park has been revamped, while six new leafy trees as well as over ten thousand shrubs and perennials have been planted. Thus, joining ranks with its ‘sister’ dog park on Hermina Road, one of Budapest’s most atmospheric dog-friendly sites has come into being.
Running (in)to the Liget
Running is now one of the most popular amateur sports: every day, running shoes in the hundreds of thousands hit the ground throughout the country with tens of thousands in Budapest. The City Park circular running track was built precisely for such people.
“Following the autumn opening of the Városliget Sports Centre, the park became Budapest’s most diverse sports venue with a range of activities that continues to grow. We are proud to be finally able to offer an alternative on the Pest side to the running track on Margaret Island: a tartan track awaiting enthusiasts of running with modern services and security features. The new circular running track will be open for runners within the next few days,” said Benedek Gyorgyevics. During the design process of the City Park Circular Running Track talks were continually conducted with organisations representing Budapest’s runners to make sure that the route of the track and its paving catered to real needs. As a result, the excellent quality, two-kilometre-long, coloured and joint-friendly tartan track is illuminated along its entire length. In order to avoid injuries, warm-up areas can be found at the entrance points of the stunning track winding its way through the trees. Drinking fountains along the course provide a refreshment, while separate changing rooms for men, women and handicapped users ensure the comfort of runners.
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