There are places, where you can’t lift a stone without fairy-tale spiders and lizards flurrying from beneath them. There are places, where flowers of some peculiar beauty bloom. One of the most amazing of such places in the Carpathian Basin was taken over by urbanization and gave rise to the concrete jungle of Budapest. The scarcely scattered green islands among the buildings became sanctuaries for naturalist, who make their pilgrimage to observe plant and animal species that have never been seen before. In 1942, Antal Pénzes wrote a book on the wildlife of the surroundings of Budapest, in which he listed all the places worth protecting. His list started with the Sas-hill.
’This barren bulk of dolomite stands out as the last guardian of ancient ecosystems on the Eastern border of the Transdanubium. The capital should give high priority to its conservation and sustenance, even in its present state, surrounded by field lots.’
60 years have passed since, and even though the area was pronounced legally protected, instead of field lots it is now surrounded by buildings.
Our exhibition gives an insight into the different kinds of creatures finding shelter within these 30 hectares.
It is a shelter and living museum for the ancient flora and fauna of Budapest. And, naturally, for stones and bizarrely shaped cliffs, too, as they have also disappeared from the built-in areas.
It is a shelter for relict species from long-passed geological ages and endemisms of the Buda-Hills or Pannonic regions, that could weather out adverse climate upon its dolomite hillsides.
It is a shelter for animals adapted to urban life, which find hiding and resting places as well as nesting sites here.
It is a shleter for certain birds on migration, which need tranquil stopovers to gather strength to resume their journey.
And finally, shelter for us, city-dwellers: an opportunity to escape the ’maddening crowd’, marvel the blue colour of the pasque flowers and, of course, the scenic view from the hilltop.