Introduction to the project
The Pomáz site and its surroundings
The site of our Cooperative Heritage Lab belongs to the modern settlement of Pomáz but it is located on its periphery, in a Biosphere Reserve in the Pilis Mountains. Pomáz calls itself the “Gate of the Pilis Mountains” due to its geographical position: it lies close to the River Danube, where the valley of the Danube meets the mountains. Most visitors of this popular recreation area, one of the largest boreal forests in Europe pass through the area of the town. The Nagykovácsi-puszta heritage site is located along the main road leading to the most popular peak of the Pilis mountains.
Pomáz is a part of the agglomeration continuum, connected to Budapest by the neighboring settlement. It was elevated into the rank of towns in 2000, but it still preserved the characteristics of a village concerning its structure and architecture, with detached houses for single families along the streets. The population numbering 17,400 traditionally displays a complex ethnic composition. Besides the Hungarian population, Serbs and Germans also have their own minority self-governments. Slovaks and Roma constitute further minority groups.
Most of the inhabitants work in Budapest, and an important segment of the population is constituted by families, mostly professionals, who are not local in terms of their origins, but moved out from the capital city to this green area. Most of the commuters use their cars, or the public suburban railway line called HÉV, the local station of which is connected by buses to various parts of the town as well as the sparse settlement network in the Pilis Mountains, including the Ngykovácsi-puszta site.
Recent and present developments in Pomáz have largely been determined by the endeavors to accept new waves of urban immigrants into new residential parks on the edges of the town and to provide the continuously growing population with the necessary infrastructure (educational and healthcare institutions, etc.). The “old town” in the center of Pomáz has, however, preserved the eighteenth-century street and plot system with a few contemporary houses. The listed built heritage of Pomáz is represented by three Baroque and Neo-Classicist churches as well as a nineteenth-century noble residence under national protection, and a few dozens of traditional dwelling houses protected locally.
The Nagykovácsi-puszta heritage site
The fences of the Fülöp Kecskefarm (Fülöp’s Goat Farm – named after the owner) hide a large and complex heritage site. It is composed of the ruins of a medieval church and manorial buildings, the remains of a medieval water management system, and traces of historical land-use. The rest of the buildings were constructed in various parts of the twentieth century: storage buildings, barns, and a house recently renovated as the dwelling of the present owner who purchased the territory in 2007.
Though the site is situated in the strictly protected Duna-Ipoly National Park, traces of its inadequate use in the Socialist period pepper the modern landscape. After the Second World War, it was incorporated into the local agricultural cooperative, and later it was transformed into the depot site of the largest state-owned pharmatrade company. Workshops and depot buildings were erected in the area, the former meadow and ploughland areas started to be overgrown by low-quality woodland vegetation. After the political changes in 1989 the manor was sold, but it remained without a proper function. Illegal waste deposits appeared in the sub-urban areas and close to the villages.
Traditional land-use and bio-farming
The concept of the farm is bio-production based on a complex interaction of woodland and agricultural zones with a number of traditional land-use forms in the area (woodland grazing, extensive type of animal husbandry, bee-keeping, traditional water-systems, etc.). Animal husbandry was introduced with goats, horses, pigs, and chicken. The traditional land-use forms promote the bio-diversity of the area and contribute to the protection of the archaeological heritage elements.
After the removal of waste from the fields surrounding the farm, the clearing of the woodland-area of the manor was started. Some of the old buildings were equipped with new functions connected to local food-production. A shop building was constructed at the entrance to sell local products. The farm is gradually transformed into an environmentally-friendly and sustainable production site by re-organizing the traditional manorial functions: family household, working place for people from nearby areas, provider of regional products and local markets. The main products are goat milk, goat cheese, plum-jam and plum-spirit, walnut, traditional meat products (sausages, smoked pork products). Special attention was given to forage production for the animals on the rented lands, the surplus is also sold for local horse stables and other producers. Investment for machines was made with a low-cost concept; mainly used machines were bought and their service is made in the farm workshop.