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Petržalka hides natural treasures



THE BRATISLAVA Regional Environmental Group (BROZ) introduced a new protected area, Chorvátske rameno, the Croatian Offshoot, on March 2. The natural reservation is located within the 150,000-inhabitant Bratislava district of Petržalka.
"Though it seems to be a paradox, in Petržalka, the third largest town in Slovakia, one can find rare natural values - literally inside the neighbourhood of the architecturally inhuman paneláky [apartment blocks]," said BROZ chairman Tomáš Kušík.


CHORVÁTSKE rameno reservation spreads near the Danube dam.
photo: Courtesy of BROZ

THE BRATISLAVA Regional Environmental Group (BROZ) introduced a new protected area, Chorvátske rameno, the Croatian Offshoot, on March 2. The natural reservation is located within the 150,000-inhabitant Bratislava district of Petržalka.

"Though it seems to be a paradox, in Petržalka, the third largest town in Slovakia, one can find rare natural values - literally inside the neighbourhood of the architecturally inhuman paneláky [apartment blocks]," said BROZ chairman Tomáš Kušík.

The opening of the Chorvátske rameno protected area is another event within the Protection and Management of the Danube Near-Water Forests project, which is supported by a grant from the European Commission's LIFE-Nature programme and by several other Slovak organisations. The project, which focuses on the territory spreading over 12,000 hectares from Bratislava to Komárno, should be concluded in 2007 with the addition of four other reservations. Two years ago BROZ opened the Danube Islands Natural Reservation in Rusovce, and in January 2004 the enlarged Gajc Natural Reservation was founded in Podunajské Biskupice.

The Regional Office in Bratislava had approved the Chorvátske rameno protected area in December 2003, together with the Gajc reservation. Situated on the right bank of the Danube on the brink of Slovakia's largest housing area, Petržalka, the protected area is the most preserved part of the Danube forest-covered offshoot that spreads between Dolnozemská cesta road and the Danube dam.

The area is home to several kinds of endangered plants and animals. There are different species of amphibians - frogs and newts - as well as the heavily endangered white water lilies. The construction of recreation and housing facilities threatened to cut down the woods, but thanks to the area's promotion to a higher protection level, it should be spared.

"Because of its natural value, this locality is part of an area of European significance, the Bratislavské luhy, which includes Starý háj, Soví lužný les, Pečňa, Sihoť, and Slovanský ostrov," said Peter Krempaský, director of the Regional Office of Nature and Land Protection in Bratislava.

There are several other protected areas in Bratislava's forests waiting to be announced - Drienkový les in Rusovce and Starý háj in Petržalka. The first is endangered by the construction of family houses, a golf course, and a recreation spot. The forests of the latter were scheduled to be cut down in January. However, environmentalists managed to postpone that decision.


- Zuzana Habšudová


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