Historical Archives Senta - Ópusztaszer National Heritage Park

Demonstration of floodplain farming and fishing

Completion date:from March 2022

The floodplain orchards played a significant role in the lives of the people who once lived in this area. Fruit generated a serious income since it could be dried, turned into brandy (pálinka) and was easy to sell. Some was transported on rafts in huge baskets and later exchanged for grains. Growing fruit was also an important segment of floodplain farming. Most of the fruit tree species dating from the 18th and 19th centuries have become completely unknown to us, therefore their presentation is also significant. As part of the project, a floodplain orchard counting 30 fruit trees will be planted in the area surrounding the dam house.

The oxbow river fish management had been one of the most important segments of the local economy near the banks of the Tisza, as it provided a significant income for the locals. Certain researchers believe that organized and extensive fishing in the Carpathian Basin dates to the Árpádian period. Nevertheless, it is certain that oxbow river fish management developed from it. Thanks to the project, the Heritage Park will become richer for a truly interesting exhibition area that would provide insight into the lives of the people that once inhabited the wider Tisza area. Following the planning and the development of exhibitions, the once widely practiced oxbow river fish management shall be presented to the public. Currently there is a fisherman’s house on the grounds of the park next to the Körtvély lake – a small hut with a thatched roof that commemorates the fishermen who once practiced this ancient profession. The hut itself seems rather lonely and neglected with its weathered exterior, therefore the restoration mudworks and the conservation will be followed by the renovation of its surroundings by adding the objects and tools necessary for fishing that would faithfully represent the traditional ways of fishing. As part of the development, a shallow fishing area with a smaller surface will be established on the shore of the lake opposite the fishing hut, where it would be possible to demonstrate simpler fishing methods. The environment itself provides opportunities to present a wide range of fishing gear as well as to hold interactive outdoor activities (demonstration of net knitting, knotting and other fishing practices). One of the special features of the lake shore is the fish barge, the so-called Potyka. The old barge served for storing and transporting fish and is the last remaining memory of these crafty carpenters, master boat builders. It was moored near the fish market and the fish was stored in its crates organized by varieties. The stern housed an inn (a csárda) that provided accommodation and storage. The forepeak was carved and reminiscent of the front of the double bass, thus the nickname bassboat (bőgőshajó). The fish remained fresh for weeks in this boat. The holes on the side allowed water to flow through the compartments. During the project, the fish barge will also be restored.

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