Margaret Island (“Margitsziget” in Hungarian) is to Budapest as Central Park is to New York. It is the place to go to run and play and spend the day, and it on an island right in the middle of the Danube River! Can you guess who the island was named after? Who was Margaret (“Margit”)?
Margaret was the favored daughter of King Béla IV who ruled the Hungarians (“Magyarok”) during the 13th Century. During the Mongol invasion of Hungarian lands, King Béla was defeated and forced to flee with his family. However, he promised that if he survived the Mongol attack, he would give his next child to the church.
By a fortunate turn of events, the Mongols left the Hungarian lands and King Béla returned to rule his beloved kingdom. He kept his promise and sent his young child, Margaret to the care of nuns on the island.
Soon Margaret grew into a beautiful young lady. In fact, she was so beautiful that many kings from other lands sought her hand in marriage. But Margaret refused, dedicating her life to the service of God and the church. Unfortunately, she died at the very young age of 28. All the Hungarians loved her and mourned for her. They were amazed that such a young girl would give up a life of royalty to serve God and others.
Below is a picture of the ruins of the Franciscan Priory, a convent built at the end of the 13th Century:
There are lots of ways to get around Margaret Island – walking, running, biking, skating. But the little go carts with pedals are the best. At least four or five people can fit in one of these and probably at least ten marionettes:) However I did have some trouble reaching the pedals…
Don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers!
There is also a water taxi that docks right on Margaret Island! With only one regular public transport ticket, you can ride it up and down the Danube River!
Your go-cart-riding friend,