A scientific research station designed to withstand the flood of the century?
Updated: Apr 4
A film set for some Day of the Triffids on Water movie? GuesterTester96 asks what and where is this cumbersome contraption? Really, just what is it all about? UPDATED
Photo: Well, it doesn't look like your average kind of Weekend House with small garden plot for the toddlers to run around in, does it?
Apologies for lack of communications of late, a combination of workload and suffering from the flu which seems to be doing the rounds in Hungary right now.
But we are back, up and running with this intriguing GuesterTester posed by regular entrant sleuther Tom Chilton. And I must admit that I must have seen this fabricated monster of a puzzle, but equally must have ignored it (to my shame).
Could it be military?
I think it's tantalisingly difficult to pin down in terms of which "ball park" it might lie in.
And yet, the answer is simple and logical, if you know its purpose and role in history :)
I won't add any more clues for now, just wait and watch how folks get on. Tom expects sleuths will need use google. Me, as a purist, am against that sort of sleuthing, of course (except to check conclusions), but I know I can't stand against the tide of history, should move with the times, etc etc blah blah.
So if you think you know the answer, please cite KT96 and use the site messaging system or send an email (rather than put it in a comment for all to see). I can see I'll probably need to offer another clue at least in a few days time.
Meanwhile, enjoy the Spring weather (assuming you are in the top bit of the globe) and if you are catching a flight this Sunday - beware, it's clock-a-changing summer time coming in and it's the one where you'll miss your plane if you get it wrong!
UPDATE - Entries and the Winner!
Well, GuesterTester96 proved quite difficult. I would have provided more clues, but a) I couldn't see what I could say usfully without giving it away and b) the day I was going to give more clues I received a couple of correct answers. First in for a punt was Albyn Austin: “Culd it be a lookout post on the cold war boundary between the west and the eastern blocks? No idea where though..... regards, Albyn.” Nice try, Albyn, at least I thought someone might think this. The river at this point IS an international border, as it happens – the demarcation line must be 20 or 30 metres further out at mid-stream but a) it was not a "Cold War" border crossing with the west (but to the then Czechoslovakia) and b) this is nothing to do with the function of this building, I'm afraid. Peter Woodger sent in a photo of the ancient nouria (water wheels) of Hama, Syria. No, sorry Peter – it's not as exotic as that!
Mihály Hollósi was next in the queue. “Hello Kester,
I guess this structure is or was used in shipbuilding and stands at or near the shipyards in Óbuda. My note comes with a caveat, though: I am no expert in shipbuilding (or engineering of any sort for that matter). Best, Misi” Correct river, Misi – ie the Danube – and logical, but no, nothing to do with shipbuilding – sorry! Steven Nelson swooped in, I suspect with the suggestion of partner or friend: “Hey Kester, apparently it's a coal storage shed in Esztergom! Also, "Tiriffids?" Really? Yes, sorry about the tiriffic typo there, Steven. Coal storage shed, eh? Hubert ”Poirot” Warsmann then had a crack. “GT Chilton: This is the Szénrakodó torony in Esztergom, built in the 20's (1920's that is) to load coal dust from the Dorog mines onto Danube barges for shipping to a power station down river. The dust was brought from the mine's coal sorting station in skips traveling on a cable. This tower is the terminus of the cable system. The whole thing was decommissioned at the closure of the Dorog mines and the cable system dismantled but the tower remains as a silent witness to a past era and a much photographed landmark in the area.” Zsolt Maroti also swung into action: “Szia Kester It is the abandoned coal loader near Esztergom, is not it? Zs” Yes indeed, it is exactly what Hubert and Zsolt identified, at least according to Tom Chilton, who also noted that (using google translate): “Next to the ferry port connecting Esztergom with Párkány [the Hungarian name for Štúrovo *, the small town in Slovakia on the north bank here] there is a strange building in the bed of the Danube. In 1927, to facilitate the transport of the coal mined in the Dorog basin to the Danube, an almost six-kilometer-long ropeway connecting the coal classifier with the river was built, and a coal loading dock was also built close to the riverbank. The function of the slightly dilapidated but imposing industrial monument was to transport the coal arriving in the scuttles to the barges waiting on the water below. It was the task of the workers working on the loading platform to roll the gills full of coal dust from the cableway and then empty their contents onto the bunker chute, i.e. a chute, on which the coal dust entered the ships' holds. From Esztergom, the coal dust was mainly transported on the Danube to the Csepel power plant and other industrial facilities in Budapest. The workers were able to approach the loading dock by boat, and then climbed an iron ladder to the high part. The coal loader operated until 1963, after which the ropeway was demolished and the building standing in the water was left alone. In 1994, the building became the property of a foundation, and visual artists saw the great opportunity to create a special studio above the water, but the conservation work has not been completed on the building to date. Fortunately, the engineers of the time created a massive construction nearly a hundred years ago, so the coal loader in Esztergom will surely defy time for a while. Tom added: BTW, I wonder why it is so high above the water? To cope with maximum river levels, perhaps? (My guess) The Competition Committee agreed to allow Steven one entry (number 1) as he was sort of vaguely correct with his entry, with Hubert (numbers 2 + 4) and Zsolt (numbers 3 + 5) two chances each for 'nailing' the final answer. And the winner, drawn by one Margitta Eddy (here on a visit), is … Number 2 – Hubert “Poirot” Warsmann! Congratulations to Hubert and all who 'had a go' to make it more fun, and to Mr Chilton for providing this GuesterTester. By the way, if you fly into Budapest from London or Frankfurt, one flight path crosses the Danube over Esztergom, so you may even see this abandoned coal loader from about 7,000 feet in the air if you keep your eyes peeled.
I'd better prepare another post ASAP now. Best regards to all.