24. July 2012
High hopes for FUTURA tourism in Western Hungary
FUTURA, an ancient granary from the days of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy converted into an interactive nature-adventure attraction, is expected to bring a boom in international tourism to the small Hungarian spa resort of Mosonmagyaróvár some 80 kilometres from Vienna.
Wonders and riddles of NatureTry wave surfing just once in your life, cause a tsunami, simulate a massive earthquake, fly a Boeing 737, marvel at the stars in a mobile planetarium, watch tiny ants in their anthill... Or perhaps immerse yourself in what will probably be the biggest hit of all, in Mini Space World, a miniature model of space where you can see spaceships and satellites in a 40 square metre exhibit. All this and more can be found at FUTURA. This new interactive museum is in a granary about 300 years old built at the time of the monarchy. Though outwardly rather plain, the interior of the building has been entirely renovated as part of an EU-funded project to create an interactive attraction of the natural sciences.
Four natural elementsThe building stands beside the main road from Mosonmagyaróvár (referred to locally as Moson) in the direction of Györ. The main theme of this project is a fascinating presentation of the four natural elements – earth, water, air and fire – on four levels of the building. On the one hand, visitors are introduced to the biosphere of the nature conservation area on Small Rye Island (Szigetköz) on the River Danube near Moson. On the other, according to the organizers, the wonders and riddles of Nature are illustrated by about 50 game modules. The purpose is to encourage young and old alike to play, explore and learn. And last, but not least, the initiators of the FUTURA project aim to use this new exciting and outstanding attraction to lure as many tourists as possible to Moson and Western Hungary.
Presentation and openingAlthough a major presentation was given on 19 July 2012, the official opening will take place on the occasion of St. Stephen’s Days (17–20 August) in commemoration of Hungary’s national patron saint Stephen I (969–1038). The FUTURA project itself goes back to a resolution passed by Moson city council in the year 2008 with the aim of creating an interactive centre for the natural sciences so as to attract visitors from Hungary and abroad. The authorities in Budapest approved the project in 2009, and a grant application was made in 2010 and approved by the EU. The project has cost somewhat more than five million euros, with the EU providing funding in the form of grants totalling 4.36 million euros, or 84.07 per cent.
Historical links to ViennaHowever, the FUTURA project town of Moson had already established a reputation for itself as a popular excursion destination with historical links to Vienna. It is a lesser known fact that this was precisely in the field of the natural sciences. Situated on the River Leitha and the Little Danube, this town with 32,000 inhabitants has a picturesque inner city, thermal baths, smart restaurants and virgin Danube water meadows. Although today most tourists know this town barely 80 kilometres from Vienna as a dental Mecca with some 120 dentists, it also has strong agricultural links going back to the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. In fact Vienna’s University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences has its roots in the little town of Moson. These remarkably strong ties with the agricultural university came about as follows: an agricultural college was established in Moson as long ago as 1818. Following the historic Austro-Hungarian settlement of 1867, this ancient agricultural university was only permitted to teach in Hungarian. This caused the German-speaking professors to move to Vienna, were they cofounded the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences in 1872. There are contacts between the two institutes to this day.
Hub of the corn tradeEven the time-honoured FUTURA granary has close historical links with Vienna. It has always been called FUTURA, ever since the first records were drawn up. The building was erected about 300 years ago, probably still in the first half of the 18th century, in the classicist style of the late baroque. The building changed hands many times during its eventful history, and its owners included several imperial and royal magnates like Empress Maria Theresa’s husband Franz Stephan of Lorraine (1708–1765). This was when FUTURA became an important symbol of a flourishing corn trade that had existed between Moson and Vienna for many centuries. Finally, FUTURA served as a regional archaeological museum, before being transformed into an EU-subsidized tourist attraction.
Wieselburg – Hungarian AltenburgThe city with the unpronounceable name of Mosonmagyaróvár itself was established only in 1939 when the towns of Moson (Wieselburg as it was known in medieval times) and Magyaróvár (Hungarian Altenburg) were combined. Prior to this time the town was known as Óvár (Altenburg). In order to avoid confusion with the nearby town of Bad Altenburg in Lower Austria, the one town was called German Altenburg, the other Hungarian Altenburg. The latter has been settled since Roman times and has a Roman fort known as “Ad Flexum” – on a bend of the River Danube. In the Middle Ages Moson became a centre of trade with Vienna, especially the corn trade. In the year 1914, Wieselburger Gasse in Vienna’s 10th district of Favoriten was named after the city’s German name.
Szent István Király út 142
GPS: N 47° 51,184' E 17° 16,835'